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Evolution... some more Infantry zen

Earlier this week I did a post onthe XM-25, the newest grenade launcher in the inventory (though still not formally adopted).  That post kind of got me thinking.

How'd we get here?  And just how fast has the evolution been?

In the late 1600s into the 1700s and beyond, we had these things: Hand Mortars.



This is a reproduction of a hand mortar of the style that would have equipped British Grenadiers.  This particular one is a reproduction, available from the fine folks at The Rifle Shoppe, and one of their kits is on the acquisition list.

Not much changes for 200 years.  Here's a sample of WWI kit from the Arsenal: British "Pippin" rod grenade, which used a rod stuck down the barrel and was propelled by a blank round.



Or this bit - No.23 Mills bomb, which used a short rod and a cradle (less stress on the rifle).



Which in turn was replaced by the grenade discharger cup - seen here with a WWII No.68 AT grenade - where we return almost back to the hand mortar.  The discharger cup seen here soldiered on through WWII.



The French and Germans had them too, and the US used the French version.  In WWII, the Germans used this form of a discharger cup seen below - gotta love the Germans, if it can be over-engineered, they're your guys!  The Russians and Japanese also had equivalents. 



During WWII, the US went with spigot grenades, and after the war, just about everybody went that route...such as these French examples from the 50's through the 80's on the MAS 49 and 49/56.



Here is an example of a 1969-dated spigot adaptor in US usage.



 
And there's this Yugo SKS-mounted version, used as late as the Balkan Wars of the 90's.



And now, 15 years or so later, we're here...  change is accelerating.



17 Comments

Hand mortar........... and I thought Beau's derringer was a hammerbite!!
 
I don't think an M-79 grenadier would have any problem with that hand mortar!
 
Where's my M79 grenade launcher and the M203 attachment for the M16? They are in the direct line.

And that doesn't include the the German granatenwerfer or the various hand-held mortars.

That said, you have an enviable collection.
 
AR - I've got some of that other stuff (I would cheerfully sell your firstborn for a granatenwerfer) but a post has to have *some* focus...  and this one was punishing enough for people with small intertubular access...
 
Very nice! The bayonetted Mauser in the WWII German discharger cup pic... did it see Israeli service?
 

Neffi - good eyes.  I do think that's my Israeli-marked bayonet, and I have an Israeli-marked FN Mauser...

 
Great pix... I won't a viagra for weeks.
 
 A flint lock Blooper tube. Neat and Kewl!
 
The bayonet should have Israeli markings in addition to the original German stamps. For some reason the Israelis went to the time and trouble- when they had little of the first and much of the latter- to remove the original crossguards on their ex-Nazi bayonets and replace them with crossguards incorporating a muzzle-ring.
Why they did this is quite the puzzle, as Mauser bayonets dating back to the M1884/98 and Sg98 through the M1898/05 and all the ersatz types were made sans muzzle-rings; the long bar attachment being deemed (and proven in battle) to be quite sufficient support for the bayonet.
But they did- oy...
 
Do you have any Vivien-Besierre cup dischargers? You know, the one with which you use an ordinary rifle cartridge, and it touches off the fuze in its way up through the hole in the middle of the grenade? That always looked like the most elegant solution to me, not having to fumble around for a special grenade-launching cartridge which might not be immediately handy. Yah, I know you can't use the sights with one of those on the muzzle.

P.s. I am sure you'll be happy to know that you have been added to Quartermaster's list of Racists! over at Lex's blog. I was on the original list. [Jtg blows on fingernails, buffs them on his vest]
 
 I'm a racist?  And QM named me such?  And didn't have the decency to tell me?  
 
 I did not name you a racist. I named you a Raaaaacist. JTG is spelling challenged. As I pointed out over at Lex's place there are some irregulars over there, but JTG is more irregular than others.
 
Irregularity can be treated with prunes, so I'm told.
 
 Not his version Major. He's far beyond those.
 
What is that hammer & sickle thingamabob?
 
 Flagpole finial from the Balkan Wars.  Got the flag, too.  Just couldn't manage the pole.
 
Qm, Ex-Lax might have worked, but the Mommies made them leave the phenolpthaleiin out of the formula a few years back. Causes cancer in California, or something.