Original German WWI Model 1915 n/A Ball Hand Fragmentation Inert Grenade - Kugelhandgranate
Original Item: Only One Available. The Kugelhandgranate ("ball hand grenade") is the name given to several models of hand thrown fragmentation grenades manufactured in WWI Germany. This example is known as the Model 1915 n/A (neuer Art = newer model). In 1915 this simplified fragmentation pattern of the 1913 Kugel grenade had been adopted, in order to reduce production time. The only difference was the grooved pattern on the top and bottom of the exterior, and they were otherwise identical in specification.
As they were not made in any large quantities, German Ball Grenades are rare in any condition. This example is quite nice, with very little corrosion on the body, and an original deactivated friction-ignited fuze, with the original pull tab. The brass M1913 traction fuze assembly still screws out, with the detonator stalk intact, though it does have corrosion from contact with the removed explosive. Highly desirable, and sure to be the centerpiece of any grenade collection!
Germany entered World War I with this single grenade design: a heavy 750-gram (26 oz) ball-shaped fragmentation grenade for use only by pioneers in attacking fortifications. It was too heavy for regular use on the battlefield by untrained troops and not suitable for mass production. This left Germany without a standard-issue grenade and improvised designs similar to those of the British were used until a proper grenade could be supplied.
The body of the Kugelhandgranate was cast iron 8 mm thick, spherical shaped and externally segmented designed to produce between 70 and 80 fragments. A bronze-like stick (which was the igniter) was introduced to the spherical body. The filling was a mixture of black powder, barium nitrate, and potassium perchlorate, and did not require a detonator. The friction igniter consisted of a bronze body with a central chamber filled with black powder and supplied with a 5 or 7 second delay, the powder train was topped with a priming wire made of brass with a loop at one end and serrated on the other. The serrated portion was coated with a mixture of ground glass, manganese dioxide, and potassium chlorate.
To be used, the friction wire had to be pulled from the igniter, starting the delay train at the last possible moment. To do this, a piece of leather was attached to the igniter with a snap hook; pulling this removed the wire so the grenade could be thrown. A man with average strength could throw this grenade about 15 m, which made it completely ineffective for standard infantry uses, unless they were used on a slope where the grenade could roll. The only way to reach longer (up to 300 m) ranges was the use of mechanical spring based grenade launchers.
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