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.
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.