Original Japanese WWII Type 97 Inert Fragmentation Hand Grenade with Fuse dated 1941

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an very nice inert demilitarized genuine Japanese Type 97 Hand Grenade. This example is offered in very good condition, still has a mostly complete fuse, with the cap and the internal plunger still present. This is still attached to the screw off top, which can be removed to inspect the interior. The internal spring, clip, and pull string are missing, however this example still has the copper detonator tube over the fuse body, which we rarely see!

The grenade body still retains most of the original black paint, and the top screws off easily to inspect the interior. The fuse on this example is actually marked with a Japanese date: 5 六 十 昭. This marking is written right to left, and would be read: SHOWA (current reigning emperor) Juu-Roku Nen (16th year of reign - 1941) 5th month (July).

There are also markings on the fuse detonator tube in Japanese, which indicate the delay length: [四] - 五 秒, which is read "Yon - Go Byou", or 4-5 Seconds. The first character is mostly covered by the top cover.

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 great example of a sought after WWII Japanese grenade! 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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