No 77 grenade
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The No. 77 Grenade was a British white phosphorus grenade introduced in September 1943 and used during the Second World War. The No. 77 consisted of 8 ounces of white phosphorus, an impact fuse and a tin casing. It was intended for laying down smoke screens and as a signalling device. The grenade was also very effective as an anti-personnel and incendiary weapon. As well as being issued to the Home Guard, the Nº 77 smoke grenade was issued to the British army. This grenade was fitted with an 'all-ways' percussion fuse designed to set the grenade off when it hit the ground - the fuse was called 'all-ways' as it was designed to work no matter what way up the grenade was when it hit the ground.
Once the grenade exploded, the contents (i.e. the white phosphorus) would scatter and ignite as soon as they touched the air. This made the grenade extremely dangerous — hence its usefulness in combat.
When the war had ended, many of the grenades had become dangerous, due to corroding of the inferior tin plate steel used in the manufacture of the grenade bodies. In 1948 the grenade was determined to be obsolete and all were destroyed to minimize the danger they could have caused.
However, these were produced and used in Canada until the 1950s, for the quality and manufacturing of them was better than found in Britain.. References to the No. 77 smoke grenade could also still be found in Dutch army manuals up to the fifties, coded as 'C-hgr Nr 77', (Chemische handgranaat nummer 77) indicating its use up to that decade on the European Continent.
Notes and references
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