Original Japanese WWII Type 97 Inert Fragmentation Hand Grenade with Fuse dated 1938 and Detonator
Original Item: Only One Available. This is an very nice inert demilitarized genuine Japanese Type 97 Hand Grenade. This example is offered in excellent condition, complete with the fuse still attached to the screw off top, which can be removed to inspect the interior. The fuze cap is still present, complete with the pin and pull string. The brass detonator tube is also included, something we rarely see.
The grenade body still retains most of the original black paint, with a good amount of the red paint on the top, which screws off easily. The fuse on this example is actually marked with a Japanese date: 10. 三 十 昭. This marking is written right to left, and would be read: SHOWA (current reigning emperor) Juu-San Nen (13th year of reign - 1938) 10th month (October).
There are also markings on the detonator tube in Japanese, which may indicate the lot number, or the delay length. There is an isolated 七 (Seven), which is probably the delay length, and there is also 四 一 五 (4 1 5) for the lot number.
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.
A truly excellent example of a sought after WWII Japanese grenade!
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.
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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