Original Japanese WWII Inert Type 97 Hand Grenade Converted to Desk Lighter with USGI Bring Back Paper

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an very nice inert Japanese Type 97 Hand Grenade, which was deactivated overseas. It and then brought back by Pfc. Raymond E. Roderick ASN 20900322, per the included "Bring Back" document. Roderick had enlisted March 3, 1941, in Ogden, Utah, before the U.S. entered into WWII. The document is signed by an ammunition officer and also notes that the grenade has been rendered free of all explosives and completely safe.

After Roderick got back home, it was then converted into a very nice desk lighter, which is covered by the original fuze cover, which has also had a proper lighter cap installed on the inside.  There is a wick surrounding the flint mechanism, which is marked on the bottom. To see this the top of the grenade must be removed, and it looks like the entire top plate may have been replaced, or was at least machined down to properly fit the lighter portion. There are also the remains of a paper label on the bottom.

The Type 97 Hand Grenade was the standard fragmentation hand grenade of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy SNLF during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. It could also be used as a booby trap, and for this reason it was included in the U.S. Mine training set.

A very nice example converted into a lighter, complete with a bring back document and ready to display!

History and development
The Type 97 was developed from the earlier Type 91 Grenade which could also be used as a fragmentation hand grenade, but was predominately used as munitions for the Type 10, and Type 89 grenade launchers. For this reason, it had less explosive power and a relatively longer delay time than a dedicated manual hand grenade. To address these issues, the Army Technical Bureau developed a new design in 1937.

The Type 97 had the same principles as most of fragmentation grenades of the period: a grooved 'pineapple-shaped' segmented body which dispersed sharp pieces of shrapnel when it exploded. Operation was accomplished by first screwing down the firing pin, so that it protruded from the base of the striker. Then the safety pin was removed by pulling the cord to which it was attached; the protective cap which covered the striker was removed. A sharp blow against a hard surface, such as a rock or combat helmet would overcome a creep spring and crush a thin brass cap, allowing the pin to hit the primer and initiate the delay sequence before throwing at the target. However, in comparison with Allied hand grenades of the period, the explosive force of the Type 97 was weaker and, due to lack of an automatic ignition mechanism, the grenade in practice was found to be unreliable and even dangerous to use because of its inaccurate fuse.

Physically, the Type 97 was almost indistinguishable from the Type 91, except that it had no attachment on the base for a propellant canister. Paper labels with ink-stamped fill dates warned of the shorter 4-5 second delay.

Combat record
The Type 97 hand grenade was issued as standard equipment to Japanese infantrymen in the Second Sino-Japanese War and throughout the various campaigns of World War II.
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