1914: early grenades
During the first world war, all armies relied heavily on the use of grenades in order to both fight and attack enemy trenches and also to defend themselves against attacks. Grenades has been a weapon invented hundreds of years before, however they were not often used previous to the napoleonic war until ww1. The first grenades that were used in 1914 were hand made by the soldiers and were extremely unreliable. The first made grenades were typically cans that were filled with nails, metal and gunpowder. Their biggest flaw was the fact that they were almost an dangerous to the officers who made them as they were to the enemy, this was because they often exploded before they were intended to be.
1915: dozens of types
By the end of the year 1915 during the war, grenades were becoming essential and all armies were being supplied with them. There were many different types of grenades that were used by different sides during the war. Some riflemen in the trenches were specialised in this field, they attacked the enemy using specialised grades that were fired from their rifles. Regular infantry men on both sides of the war carried a variety of different types of grenades. On the German side of the trenches, their preference was with the “stick grenade”. This grenade could be thrown at further distances though the price they paid was a smaller explosive charge within. On the British and Canadian side of trench warfare, they used a more egg shaped grenade that could be thrown roughly around 30 meters and carried a larger payload than the stick grenades, though the downside to these was the fast that their range was around 10 meters less than the germans.
1917: Importance
By 1917 during the war, grenades became such a necessity in the battlefield that all infantry officers were issued with grenades. The reason why they were becoming so important was because the majority of trench assaults needed  these extra grenades to be able to complete the objectives of overthrowing enemy trenches, they were also needed in order to protect against enemy attacks.
Above is the No. 5 MK. I Hand Grenade, it was one of the most affective infantry weapon that was used throughout the first world war. This type of grenade was first issues in the spring of 1915 to troops. It worked by removing the safety pins, once done there was a 5 second period before the grenade exploded. This gave the troops enough time to throw the grenade upon the targets before it exploded. The weapon was lethal within a 10 meter radius but it was capable of sending shrapnel up 200 meters from the site of detention, making it extremely effective
In the picture above you can see the German egg grenade, it is a model of the grenade from 1917. The reason why this grenade was so successful and effective was due to the fact that it could be thrown up to distances of 50 to 60 meters, this was difficult to do however and could only be executed by experts. It was called the egg grenade because of its shape and appearance.
This is the commonly used stick grenade, it was one of the first models of the grenade from 1915. This model was very unreliable and was not successful because it could only detonate when stuck against a hard surface. Due to this fact the grenade did not work well in the common wet or muddy conditions within the trenches.
Above is the refined and improved German stick grenade from 1917. This model of the grenade featured a 5.5 second delay that the thrower could activate by pulling the toggle at the bottom of the handle, as you can see above. This was a great improvement from the previous 1915 model of the weapon because it was war more reliable due to the timer fuse as opposed to the grenade needing to impact upon a hard surface. On detonation, metal debris would be fired and propelled from an explosive chamber in the grenade.
The rifle grenade shown above was designed in order for the troops in the trenches to be able to propel grenades further than could be done by hand. At the beginning of the war, grenades were sometimes launched with catapults but that method was not reliable at all. The type of grenade above was called a “J” Pattern grenade, it was first introduced in February 1915 and was the first rifle grenade pioneered by the British army. By the end of 1916, Britain was producing 70,000 of these grenades per week. When added into the rifle barrel this grenade could be fired up to distances of 300 meters

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