Photo courtesyDepartment of Defense
The proper way to throw ahand grenade: Depress thestriker lever, pull the pin, hurlthe grenade.
The outer shell of the grenade, made of
serrated cast iron
, holds a
chemical fuze mechanism
, whichis surrounded by a
reservoir of explosive material
. The grenade has a
for pouring in theexplosive material.The firing mechanism is triggered by a spring-loaded
inside thegrenade. Normally, the striker is held in place by the
ontop of the grenade, which is held in place by the
. Thesoldier grips the grenade so the striker lever is pushed up against thebody, pulls out the pin and then tosses the grenade. Here's whathappens inside once the grenade is released:With the pin removed, there is nothing holding the lever inposition, which means there is nothing holding the spring-loaded striker up. The spring throws the striker down againstthe
. The impact ignites the cap, creating asmall spark.The spark ignites a slow-burning material in the fuze. In aboutfour seconds, the delay material burns all the way through.The end of the delay element is connected to the
,a capsule filled with more combustible material. The burningmaterial at the end of the delay ignites the material in thedetonator, setting off an explosion inside the grenade.The explosion ignites the explosive material around the sidesof the grenade, creating a much larger explosion that blowsthe grenade apart.Pieces of metal from the outer casing fly outward at greatspeed, imbedding in anybody and anything within range. Thissort of grenade may contain additional serrated wire or metalpellets for increased fragmentation damage.Time-delay grenades are very effective, but they do have some significant disadvantages. One problem istheir
: In some chemical fuzes, the delay time may vary from two to six seconds. But thebiggest problem with time-delay grenades is that they give the enemy an opportunity to
. If a soldier doesn't time a grenade toss just right, the enemy may pick it up and throw it back before itexplodes.For this reason, soldiers must use
grenades in certain situations. An impact grenade explodeswherever it lands, so there is no chance for the enemy to throw it back. In the next section, we'll see howthis sort of grenade works.
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