IMAGE COLLECTIONS 12
Gavin K. Watt
The No.36 design first saw service in 1918. In the Second War, it was the most commonly carried grenade in the Canadian service and was considered one of the most effective weapons in the infantrymen’s arsenal. No.36 Grenades used in training had an eight second fuse and in combat, a four second. The Grenade was readied by pulling out the cotter pin and was armed by releasing the striker lever. The Grenade could be made-safe by replacing the cotter pin, as long as the lever had not been released.
Grenades were normally carried in a Ptn 37 web Basic Pouch. Which Pouch was chosen for carrying Grenades was a matter of individual choice, but for a right-handed shooter, it made more sense to use the right hand pouch for rifle ammunition and the left for the spare Bren magazine and/or mortar bombs and grenades.
The No.36 Grenade had an effective range of up to 100 yards, and the thrower risked serious wounding if he failed to take full cover after throwing. This was a problem during open-country offensive operations, but usually not so in the defence.
As U.S. web equipment did not include a large pouch in which to carry hand grenades, American troops often thrust the striker lever of their ‘pineapple’ grenades under their web belt, which could lead to accidents when taking cover or during crawling if the cotter pin had been opened for ease of extraction.
The No.69 Concussion Grenade was manufactured from a phenolic moulding resin called Bakelite. The purpose of the No.69 Grenade was to stun, not kill or seriously wound. It was effective for offensive operations, as the soldier did not have to take full cover after throwing. The No.69 was particularly effective against troops in closed areas such as bunkers and buildings.
To ready the No.69 grenade, the screw top was removed revealing a length of tape. This tape was held in the off hand and, when the Grenade was thrown, the tape pulled out the safety bolt and armed the bomb. Presumably, if a decision was made not to throw before extracting the safety bolt, the tape could, with care, be rewound and the plastic screw top remounted.
The No.75 Hawkins Grenade/Mine was an anti-tank weapon with an external pressure plate to fire the device. The No.75 grenade had to be placed under the track or wheel of the target to activate it and was more like a mine than a hand grenade.
Note: A No.75 Hawkins was jettisoned by Stan Scislowski, 18Pl, D. Company, Perths (who was also lugging a PIAT at the time) during a night patrol near the Bonifica Canal in Italy. (“Not All of Us Were Brave”, 355)
The No.77 Smoke Grenade had a Bakelite screw top and the same tape-style fuse as the No.69 Grenade. The body was made of tinplate. The chemicals used to generate smoke were white phosphorus and titanium tetrachloride, depending on the Mark of the grenade. Both compounds are now considered carcinogens.
Source: Ian D. Skennerton, An Introduction to British Grenades (Queensland, Australia: author, 1988)
The No.36M (Mills Bomb) Fragmentation Grenade (1lb, 9oz/ 3/4Kg).
No.75 Hawkins Grenade/Mine.
Four No.77 Smoke Grenades can be seen in this photo of a 3CID soldier in a slit trench in Normandy. He also has a single No.36, laid on the rim.
A Company Sergeant-Major [CSM] of a Scottish 3CID regiment primes No.36 Grenades, Amblie, France, 07Aug44. Grenades arrived at the regiment packed in small wooden crates as seen in this photo. Before fusing, the critical working parts of each grenade had to be meticulously cleaned of rust-proofing beeswax and then tested for smooth function. Then, the grenade’s base plate was unscrewed using a special wrench and a fuse placed inside, which is the procedure illustrated in this image. Fuses came in a specially-designed tin can stored inside the wooden crate.
A soldier of Le Régiment de la Chaudière screws in the base plate of a No.36 Grenade in preparation for D-Day. The wooden crate full of grenades can be seen in the foreground. Southampton, England, 04Jun44.
The U.S. MkIIA1 “Pineapple” grenade, the American equivalent of the British No.36 grenade.