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Advantages of German 'potato mashers'?
youngc
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Western Australia, Australia
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Posted: Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 11:44 PM UTC
What were the advantages of the German Stielhandgranate 24 'stick grenades/potato mashers' over the allied 'pineapple' models etc?

I can imagine they would have been easier to throw, and could've perhaps been thrown further than allied grenades?

I have always wondered why, if one model was better than the other, the allies didn't copy the German design, or vice versa.

Chas
SSGToms
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Connecticut, United States
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Posted: Monday, December 15, 2008 - 01:25 PM UTC
The german grenade can be thrown further - leverage!
The US grenade is a lot more compact, you can clip a lot more on your web gear.
US soldiers had been throwing baseballs since childhood, so were assumed to already be good at hurling US grenades.
So each had it's advantages.
Nobody copied the other side due to national pride and propaganda. (RE: the T-34 and Panther).
treadhead1952
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Nevada, United States
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Posted: Monday, December 15, 2008 - 01:46 PM UTC
Hi Chas,

From what I understand, the German Potato Masher was dependant more on concusive effect than shrapnel as they had a very thin metal skin, not to say that a bunch of razor sharp little shards of sheet metal wouldn't ruin your day. The US Pineapple version was much thicker in cross section and the resulting chunks of steel were propelled a lot further and with much more lethal effect for a greater range. There were a number of timed fuses available for the US version so that one could set them up as booby traps with a 0 to 2 second fuse in place. Having tossed a few of the old pineapples in other days, I can testify as to their effects. Also the need to unscrew the cap on the bottom of the handle then pull the ceramic ring attatched to a cord to set the German version in action was a little more than just yanking the ring out of a pineapple and throwing it. By the way, forget yanking it out with your teeth, a sure way to get a quick trip to the dentists.
AndyD
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New South Wales, Australia
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Posted: Monday, December 15, 2008 - 10:30 PM UTC
Don't forget that the Germans did have a "pineapple" style grenade ; the Eihandgranate 39.
Spiff
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Nevada, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 05:30 AM UTC
The German "potato masher" killed by concussive effect. It was thin skinned and carried a lot more explosive than other grenades, the idea being to kill by literally disrupting the internal organs of those in the lethal blast range. The US pineapple grenade killed/wounded directly by blasting bits of shrapnel which did the damage.
chicane
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Dublin, Ireland
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Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 03:15 PM UTC
hi the germans used a fragmentation sleeve that clipped over the casing of the grenade. there were 2 version one smooth and the other had serrated fragments in tempered steel giving the stielhandgranate 24 and 43 more of a punch.ie fragmentation than concussion also the 43 version had the same detonater as the egggranade 39 ie on the head of the granade instead of through the wooden handle like the 24 version. also 5 or 6 granade heads could be strapped to 1 granade enabling the stielhangranade to be used against tanks etc. i hope that info is of use cheers
Fitz
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Minnesota, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 12:31 PM UTC
The German "Potato Masher" is what is called in modern terminology an "offensive grenade". It can be thrown quite a bit farther than a Mills Bomb or the American "pineaple" type grenades, which are considered defensive grenades. I saw a demonstration of this once on a TV program. The difference in throwing distance was quite remarkable. Because the masher was built for distance it did not come standard with a heavy fragment casing although one could be added.
youngc
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Western Australia, Australia
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Posted: Friday, December 19, 2008 - 01:45 AM UTC
Very interesting.

Thanks to those who took the time to reply, I have learnt a lot!

Chas
mmeier
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
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Posted: Friday, December 19, 2008 - 02:37 AM UTC
OT: Even the current mode german handgrenade (The DM51) still has this "dual use" sleeve making it useful in both modes.

Also the "Stielhandgranate" is a WWI development and some elements in it where designed for the trench environment. I.e the fuse is quite well protected in the early types.

Oh and the "geballte Ladung", that is fixing six (fuseless) grenade heads around a single fused grenade is a field expedient (The Swiss later had a factory build variant)
russamotto
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Utah, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 08:33 AM UTC
The advantage of the German potato masher style grenade was that once thrown, the soldier could then run in, following the grenade. The allied soldier, after throwing his grenade, would dive to take cover, or turn and run the other way to escape the blast and shrapnel, but could rely on the destructive radius of the blast to more effectively clear his target area.

As already mentioned, allied soldiers did not pull the pins with their teeth without risking breaking teeth. They also avoided carrying the grenades with the pull ring buttoned to their shirt unless the spoon was secured carefully and the cotter pin was spread very wide. James Jones, author of "The Thin Red Line", stated that the grenade was the most dangerous and mistrustful of all weapons. The fuse was supposed to be five seconds standard, but a fuse cutter who was sick, tired, distracted, or hung over could wreak havoc with a box of grenades. He talks of fuses going off early and the resulting fear of some soldiers to hold on and count before throwing the grenade.

I had also heard once that the German stick grenade could catch on the thrower's clothing or gear as he extended his arm behind him to throw, but have not read anything to prove this. I did read that they were equally suspicious of their grenades, especially towards the end of the war. Consider that many of their weapons were being manufactured by the unwilling hands of forced labor.

Just for comparison, add the Japanese style grenade. It was armed by impact; rapping it on a hard surface before it was thrown. I have read multiple accounts of the arming device failing and the grenade going off instantly and unexpectedly. It was common practice for Japanese soldiers to tap the grenade on their helmets before throwing to arm them, and many Marine and Army accounts of the soldiers being blown up by their own grenades. I wonder if some of the suicides witnessed in the Pacific fighting were really unintentional detonations by a Japanese soldier trying to throw one last grenade.
Stoottroeper
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Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
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Posted: Tuesday, January 06, 2009 - 08:14 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The German "Potato Masher" is what is called in modern terminology an "offensive grenade". It can be thrown quite a bit farther than a Mills Bomb or the American "pineaple" type grenades, which are considered defensive grenades. I saw a demonstration of this once on a TV program. The difference in throwing distance was quite remarkable. Because the masher was built for distance it did not come standard with a heavy fragment casing although one could be added.



When I was serving in the Royal Netherlands Army, we used both the defensive and offensive type. The difference being, as explained by the Sergeant, was that the defensive was to be thrown from cover to wound or kill an attacking enemy with the shrapnel and the other to be thrown while running at the enemy having the "boom" to force him to keep his head down, while not running into your own shrapnel.
Both were pineapple-type.

Peter
Jmarles
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British Columbia, Canada
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Posted: Thursday, January 08, 2009 - 09:18 AM UTC
Didn't the Allies copy the "Jerry Can" pretty much exactly.:} lol
eerie
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United Kingdom
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Posted: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - 06:10 AM UTC
i agree
pebblemonkey
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England - West Midlands, United Kingdom
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Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2009 - 10:52 AM UTC
Hi All,
The one disadvantage with the Stick grenade over the normal handgrenade-
Once Primed the stick couldn't be made safe , it had to be thrown, unlike the Brit/ Yank grenades the pin could be replaced and used later.

Matt