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Context is everything.

Which is why CAPT H won't play the Whatzis game... Interesting suggestions. Salad shooter. Jacuzzi. Nose trimmer. Bloodspite was closest overall (at the time of this entry, anyway). And Devin was the most interesting of the plausibles...

It's all a matter of scale.

That's the nose of the WWI Austrian Universal Grenade, an attempt to make a grenade All Things For All Purposes. A Swiss Army Knife of a grenade. A one-size-fits-all solution. Y'know - like the F4 Phantom, or F111. Except those turned out to be useful, in the end. The Universal? Well, how many of you have heard of one?

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Hosting provided by FotoTime

The thing is about the thickness of a hot dog. (I can hear the Ya-Ya's twittering behind their fans already.) It gets the name Universal from its ability to be either a hand-thrown grenade or a rod-grenade fired from a rifle. An impact fuze or a time fuze. The one in the Castle Armory is the rod version, as you can see from the left hand photograph. This one is also configured for a friction time fuze (that thing dangling off the side), with the percussion fuze as a back-up. The item in the lower photo standing up on end is the cover for the nose, needed so that the propeller-safety of the percussion fuze won't inadvertently arm. We hateses it when that happens!

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The rest of this will be in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

In the hand-thrown configuration, this grenade came with a drogue attached to the end (attached via a loop screwed in where the rod goes on this grenade) that provided drag to keep the grenade oriented nose-first. This is necessary because you have to generate enough wind-passage through the holes in the nose for the propeller to spin to arm the striker pin... to me, a completely un-needed feature - but this is not the only grenade that does something similar. The Brits had at least two, one of which *also* resides in the Castle Armories... gee, we might see *that* later, ya think? After you've done that, it still needs to be nose-first, because function relies on the square impact on the nose to explode the grenade. Another consequence of the drogue? You lose range, due to the drag. And training to account for that probably took a while, and you had to have a different set of muscle memory for tossing a standard grenade.

You can see the guts in this diagram from an Italian manual on the subject.Hosting provided by FotoTime This drawing represents a slightly different nose profile for the grenade, I haven't been able to find out if it pre- or post-dates the more rounded contour of the Castle's example. You can see the drogue and it's attachment to the loop on the bottom. The cord wrapped around the body until used. The friction (delay) fuze extending from the side is removable before use, if you intend to use the percussion contact fuze.

On the right side of the diagram you can see a cutaway of the internals, shown in this photo, below. On the left is the rod, which fit in the barrel of the rifle. In the center is the friction fuze (what's left after being made safe), removed. On the right, top to bottom: Nose (the brass part - anybody know why it's made of brass and not steel?) with the lower hole being where the fuze went in. On my grenade that part is *not yet* removable, but we'll get there with patience. Next is the explosive container, followed by the fragmentation sleeve, followed by the grenade body. Keeping in mind that this grenade is about as big as a hot dog (that rod fits into a 7.9mm rifle bore) all those layers reduce the internal volume considerably. Here's another shot showing all the bits partially nested.

Hosting provided by FotoTimeIn all probability, this was *not* a very powerful or impressive grenade in use. And given all the engineering that had to go into it - hardly worth the effort or expense, either, I would guess. Which might explain why it both didn't have a long service life... and when recovered from the high alpine battlefields of the Italian/Austro-Hungarian battlefields, they are many times found in groups, as several had to be thrown to get one to work properly. At least those were battlefields with some decent rock in them... vice the mudbaths of the Western Front. Well, except for when it was snowy...

Oh, yeah - the brass part. Brass is *much* easier to work than steel, and - since the percussion fuze relies on compressing the cap - it's also much softer. At least that's my take on it. Not a whole lot out there in English, and not a whole lot more in Italian or German, either.

Lastly - you can go visit Inert-Ord.net and see a nicely preserved model (which shows the propeller disassembled, too, which I can't yet do). He and I have the same references, too, I see.

8 Comments

But, but, but, when do you finish the evolution of firearms series?(wipes nose on sleeve like 5 year old)
 
Great! I check out for a couple of days, and I miss a great Name That Fiddy Bit Round of Game. Carica di Scopplo!!! Looove the Italian Stripped Schematics.
 
Yay me! I was right for a change heh!
 
Teach ya to play hooky, Boq. Say... howzabout a translation? Then can *add* to internet knowledge (at least for English-speakers). Neffi - where's my bayonets? Snerk!
 
John, I've been caught up in the grenade series- but I'll have a bayo story to you this weekend. If there's any interest there will be more...
 
John, sweetheart.... Don't you know by now the Ya-Ya's aren't interested in mere hot dogs? It takes at least a Big Red Smokie to get *our* attention.....
 
I know I've probably missed a great deal of this as it's difficult to keep up with you guys.. but where's the stuff I might see in the Stan? Time is getting short! I can't freakin wait! Oh and another question.. anyone.. ANYONE know of anything cool that chicks can do? Since we can't go to sniper school, or do high speed, low drag, kick in door stuff? I need a new goal.. and although I appreciate 'The Company' I doubt they'd take me. Email any advice please! ;)
 
See my email, Ms. Girl!