Original German WWII 1944 dated M43 Inert Stick Grenade - Marked 44 evy
Original Item: Only One Available. This is totally inert ultra rare example of a 1944 dated Model 1943 Stick Grenade Stielhandgranate 43 (German for "stalk hand grenade"). This specimen is in very good condition with original green paint and is maker stamped 44 evy on the shaft. This code stands for maker Witwe Wilhelm von Hagen, located in Iserlohn, Westfalen. This was a metalworking business that made grenades and artillery fuses. The head bears a correct WWII marked Brennzünder für Eihandgranaten 39 fuze, also marked evy / 44.
Condition of the grenade is very good, though there is some corrosion on the explosive head and fuse, typical of an item this age. The wooden handle is in great shape, with no dents, cracks or chips, and has a great dark brown color. The head still unscrews from the shaft, and the fuse also unscrews.
Overall a fantastic extremely hard to find genuine Stielhandgranate 43 offered in great condition!
By 1942 the combined yearly output of all manufacturers of the Stielhandgranate 24 had reached a total of 5,912,000 pieces, but production capacities had reached its limit. Simplifications of the existing design had eased some of the burdens, but they were simply not enough. A whole new design was needed to save both labor hours and raw materials. The simplified model was designated Stielhandgranate 43 and it was announced in the "Heerestechnische Verordnungsblatt" dated 1 May 1944. The production started in 1944 and continued into 1945. The change in production from the Stielhandgranate 24 to the Stielhandgranate 43 must have taken place quite rapidly for all of the manufacturers.
The main modification was the simplified handle. The new handle saved the industry from drilling out 6 million handles yearly and the manufacturing and installation of 6 million safety caps, porcelain balls, strings, rain caps and thread caps each year.
The new handle simply had a metal cap with pressed threads crimped to the end of the handle. Some of these caps can be found painted in Dunkelgelb, but most have a phosphate finish. Most handles, but not all, had a hole drilled through the handle. This detail is not mentioned in the official announcements about the Stielhandgranate 43, so the official purpose is not known, but it would be helpful as an anchorage if the Stielhandgranate 43 was to be used as a booby trap. The lower cover plate of the head was solid with stamped threads set in a well that would accept the handle. The head could be carried and thrown like the Eihandgranate 39 by removing the handle. The detonator channel was no longer attached to a separate lid, but was now spot welded or crimped directly to the top of the head and had internal threads to accept the fuse.
The head was assembled in the same way as the Stielhandgranate 24. The waxed paper bag with the explosives was placed inside the head and the lower cover plate, with the threads for the handle, was crimped in place. Although the constructional drawing shows an additional cover plate in the bottom, inspections of opened surviving examples reveals that this was not installed at the factory.
Apart from the much simplified manufacturing process the new model also had the advantage of much better and easier waterproofing. The head was hermetically sealed and the fuse was screwed into the fuse channel sealing off the access to the Sprengkapseln once installed. The Stielhandgranate 43 was also claimed to be easier to handle, with the fuse in the top of the head.
The Brennzünder 24 was replaced with the Brennzünder für Eihandgranaten 39 with modified wings. The Brennzünder für Eihandgranaten 39 had down folded wings that would follow the contour of the egg, but would not have fitted the head of the new Stielhandgranate 43. The quick-fix was just to turn the wings upside-down. The sole mission of the wings was to assist in the mounting and removing of the fuse.
The Brennzünder für Eihandgranaten 39 worked on the same principle as the Brennzünder 24. Pulling the friction wire through the friction composition contained in the capsule would result in a flame that ignited the delay pellet (black cylinder in the picture above). When the delay pellet burned through, it ignited the detonator.
In December 1944 a new fuse was introduced to replace the Brennzünder für Eihandgranaten 39, the Brennzünder 40. Outwards the fuses looked identical, but the ignition system was completely different. The Brennzünder 40 consisted of a spring loaded striker and a small percussion cap. A strong pull on the rope causes the striker release plate to be drawn from the igniter body, carrying with it the striker and compressing the striker spring. When the release plate is withdrawn fully from the igniter body, it disengages from the striker and the striker is released. The compressed striker spring then forces the striker to impinge upon the percussion cap. The percussion cap will then ignite the delay pellet, burning for 4.5 seconds.
The problem with both the Brennzünder 24, the Brennzünder 39, the Brennzünder 39 (umg.) and the Brennzünder für Eihandgranaten 39 had been the "soft firing", written as the warning "mit weicher Abfeuerung" on the boxes. The soldier igniting the handgrenade would have no warning to tell him if he had in fact succeeded to ignite the delay pellet, leading to fatal accidents. The new Brennzünder 40 would give off a sharp sound when the striker ignited the percussion cap, actually saving lives! Both the Brennzünder für Eihandgranaten 39 and the Brennzünder 40 had a blue head (Blaukopf), denoting a 4,5 second delay. Different versions of the Brennzünder. Red head (Rotkopf) has a 1 second delay, mostly used in boxes of colored smoke and message boxes dropped from aircraft, but also used in booby traps. Gray head (Graukopf) was instant, used for demolition work, booby traps and ignition of black powder fuses. Blue head (Blaukopf) had a 4.5 second delay, used in different types of handgrenades. The Stielhandgranate 43 was mainly delivered in Dunkelgelb (tan) color.
The markings followed the same pattern as the Stielhandgranate 24, with black ink denoting the explosive contents. "Krd Do 7.1944" should translate to "Approved for use in cold weather, filled with Donarit, made in July 1944". The maker code and year of production was metal-stamped both to the top and the bottom of the head, and burnt or pressed into the handle. Registered manufacturers of the Stielhandgranate 43 so far includes aqj, bdp., brb, dbk, dol, evy, eyu, fcc, flf, ftd, gck, wc and prd.
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