No 1 Grenade
|No 1 Grenade|
Hand Grenade No I Mark I
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Used by||United Kingdom|
|Wars||World War I|
|Variants||No. 3 (shorter handle), No 18 (different detonator)|
|Filling||Lyddite[full citation needed]|
|Percussion fuse (ie. impact detonated)|
The Grenade, Hand No 1 was the first British hand grenade used in World War I. It was designed in the Royal Laboratory, based on reports and samples of Japanese hand grenades during the Russo-Japanese War provided by General Sir Aylmer Haldane, who was a British observer of that war.
The grenade proper is a container of explosive material with an iron fragmentation band. The fuse was of the impact sort, detonating when the top of the grenade hit the ground. A long cane handle (approximately 16 inches) allowed the user to throw the grenade further than the blast of the explosion.
To ensure that the grenade hit the ground nose first, a cloth streamer was attached to the end of the handle. When thrown this unfurled and acted as a tail to stabilize flight. The grenade came with a metal loop so it could hang from the belt.
In the trenches
When the battlefield became confined to the trenches, the long handle became a liability - several accidents occurred when reaching back for the throw, the fuse struck the trench side. The no. 3, a variant of the No 1 with a shorter handle, was made to make it easier to throw in a trench.
Even with these adjustments, the No 1 and its variants did poorly in battle. According to German prisoners captured at Ypres in January 1916, the No 1 could be deflected by wooden boards. In some cases, the deflected grenade could be thrown back.
Manufacturing the No 1 was difficult as well, as it required a special detonator that could only be produced by the Ordnance Factories. Because of this, there were far fewer No 1s sent to the BEF than were ordered. A version that used a more common detonator, the No 18, was designed, but by then battlefield experience had shown that the No 1 design was ineffective.
- Ainsile, "Hand Grenades" p.2.
- Anthony Saunders (1999) Weapons of the Trench War, Sutton Publishing, ISBN 0-7509-1818-7, p.2.
- Saunders, Weapons of the Trench War, p.3.
- Saunders, Weapons of the Trench War, p.6.
- Saunders, Weapons of the Trench War, p.5.
- Saunders, Weapons of the Trench War, p.7.