is a small explosive weapon
typically thrown by hand. Generally, a grenade consists of an explosive charge, a detonating mechanism, and firing pin to trigger the detonating mechanism. Once the soldier throws the grenade, the safety lever releases, the striker throws the safety lever away from the grenade body as it rotates to detonate the primer. The primer explodes and ignites the fuse (sometimes called the delay element). The fuse burns down to the detonator, which explodes the main charge.There are several types of grenades such as fragmentation grenades
and stick grenades
. Fragmentation grenades are probably the most common in armies. They are weapons that are designed to disperse lethal fragments
on detonation. The body is generally made of a hard synthetic material or steel, which will provide some fragmentation as shards and splinters, though in modern grenades a pre-formed fragmentation matrix is often used. The pre-formed fragmentation may be spherical, cuboid, wire or notched wire. Most anti-personal (AP) grenades are designed to detonate either after a time delay or on impact.
When the word grenade
is used without specification, and context does not suggest otherwise, it is generally assumed to refer to a fragmentation grenade. Stick grenades have a long handle attached to the grenade proper, providing leverage
for longer throwing distance, at the cost of additional weight. The term "stick grenade" commonly refers to the German Stielhandgranate stick grenade
introduced in 1915 and developed throughout World War I. A friction igniter was used; this method was uncommon in other countries but widely used for German grenades.Grenades also come in several shapes: the most used ones are the "baseball" and the "pineapple". The "baseball" grenade consists of a round metallic ball with ignition parts on top whereas the "pineapple" grenade has a more cylindrical shape and small squares on the side, sometimes used for gripping and greater accuracy.Grenades saw extensive use during World War I
and later in World War II
. The WWI and WWII era "stick grenade" was often used in trench warfare because the handle allowed it to be thrown farther, about 40 meters, though its explosive charge was generally smaller. The Allies rather tended to use baseball grenades as they had a greater explosive force but were harder to throw (30 meters).