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WW1 Grenades both British and Enemy.

Mills and others

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#126 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:33 PM

SW,
In your reply to Michael, you also anwered my earlier question as to what was the firing procedure for the Mills No.23 rodded grenade before the introduction of the grenade cradle device ?
From your explanation, the combination of the grenade's rod inserted down the rifle barrel, and the safety lever being held in place against the spine of the fixed bayonet, all of which allowed the safety pin to be removed prior to the firing of the grenade.
In the attached photo which illustrates this, we can also see that the No.23 base plug design allowed the grenade to seat against the bayonet muzzel ring which would have further secured the grenade in place.
I found a photograph of a Mills No.23 with an inverted rib in the safety lever, and perhaps this is the type of safety lever you describe.
Regards,
LF

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#127 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 04:48 PM

A British and French soldier, arming Mills bombs/grenades taken for their storage/shipping boxes.
Also, by the British soldier's left foot is the Dentonator and Fuse Tin shown in post # 2.
LF

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#128 Sommewalker

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 01:40 PM

Lancashire Fusilier - The complete procedure is as follows: 1. Fix Mills grenade into the barrel so that the safety lever rests on the fixed bayonet. 2. Insert the cartridge into the breech.3. Apply the safety catch. 4. Remove the grenade safety pin. 5. Turn the safety catch to the forward position. 6. If the maximum range of 90 yds is required, hold the rifle at 45 degrees. The rifle should be lowered a few degrees at a time to obtain lower ranges. The rifle should be fired in the 'on guard' position taking care that the butt is clear of the users hip. It may also be fired with the rifle butt resting on the ground. It is interesting that in these instructions promulgated by HQ Reserve Army in August 1916, the rifle is usually held by the firer, whereas later the approved system with the S&B Discharger cup and No.36 Mills is with the rifle's butt on the ground taking the shock, the rifle usually held upside down. Rick Lander's book 'Grenade' is a must for collectors and has much detail on the No.23. Incidentally I note that your post on the SMLE shown with grenade and bayonet, shows the post-war version of the transverse machine screw securing the muzzle cap. The original had a smaller headed screw which was counter-sunk into the cap. These could prove difficult to remove and were changed to a much larger cheese headed screw inn the inter-War period. Just for your info! - SW

#129 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 01:48 PM

The complete procedure is as follows:


SW,
Many thanks for the detailed firing procedure.
Regards,
LF

#130 skipman

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 01:51 PM

http://s749.photobuc...s/1250.mp4.html

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#131 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 02:04 PM

http://s749.photobuc...s/1250.mp4.html

Mike


Mike,
Many thanks for the film post, it is amazing to see the Mills grenade being fired ' in action '.
All the other films are equally interesting, great find.
Regards,
LF

#132 Sommewalker

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 03:12 PM

LF here my SMLE shows the set-up with a grenade cup and the P.1903 bayonet as an alterative. - SW

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#133 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 03:51 PM

LF here my SMLE shows the set-up with a grenade cup and the P.1903 bayonet as an alterative. - SW


SW,
Very nice display, particularly with the P.1903 bayonet.
Regards,
LF

#134 Krithia

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 07:00 PM

An example of an original No5 Mk.1 box. Paper label and the det tin are Jan 1916 dated. The box retains some faint makers marks as well. Also note (apologies for the poor photo) the plug tool held on crudely by two straps of leather, nailed to the underside of the lid. A rare survivor!

I have been trying to collect a dozen minty No.5s to go in it, however with the prices of them nowadays I may have to go for the resin models instead :-)

This box is the same model as in post #95 that shows the 1st Scots Guards bombing party at Loos in Oct 1915.

regards, Stephen

Attached File  millsbox1.jpg   115.64KB   2 downloadsAttached File  millsbox2.jpg   100.72KB   3 downloads

#135 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 07:10 PM

Stephen,
Great example of an original Mills bomb/grenade storage/shipping box, which looks to be in excellent original condition, including the base plug tool still attached to the lid interior.
These original WW1 Mills boxes must be rare, as long before they were ever a collector's item, our fathers and grandfathers used them for firewood or as a tool box kept in the garden shed.
With nice examples of the WW1 Mills Bomb now fetching 200+ pounds each, a box of 12 is not cheap.
Many thanks for posting.
Regards,
LF

#136 bigjohn

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:36 AM

I have been following this thread, and in the loft I have a Mills 36 box dated about 1943 [i think], with subsequent inspection marks on it. I know that it is complete as I was there when we threw the grenades in about 1975/1976 [72 grenades and not a single blind] What I was going to add and I have not seen it in any photos is that there is additional packing in the form of wooden triangular blocks to go in the corners to hold the grenades and stop them rattling about. The ones I have look contempory with the box. Of course this is WW2 and could be a later refinment to the packing. Any comments?
regards
John

#137 Krithia

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 09:59 AM

Hi LF,

Just checked the prices of the resin models, and at £27 each, thats over £300 to fil lthe box, so thats plan B shelved.
£200 for a Mills. Gor Blimey, thats plan A shelved as well!
Mind boggles the value of a box then.

John, yes that would make sense. In the No.5 box there are no 'corners' but with the separating wooden pillars they make the Mills fit tight enough for transport. I whave seen photos of packing material around the Det tin, does anyone know what material this was?

I use to have a No.36 WWII box, but folishly sold it on. I am sure another will turn up one day!

thanks, SC

#138 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 11:38 AM

Stephen,
In post #102, we can see the interior of 2 open shipping boxes, in the the box on the right, they appear to have used straw as packing at the end of the box.
In the box on the left, there appears to be straw or crinkled up paper around the detenator/fuse tin as packing.
Regards,
LF

#139 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 11:49 AM

WW1 humerous Christmas post card.
LF

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#140 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 11:58 AM

there is additional packing in the form of wooden triangular blocks to go in the corners to hold the grenades and stop them rattling about. The ones I have look contempory with the box. Of course this is WW2 and could be a later refinment to the packing. Any comments?
regards
John


John,
As you say, the WW2 Mills box design was probably an improved version of the WW1 box, and again a rare box not often seen complete, as so many were broken up or burnt as firewood immediately after the war.
Regards,
LF

#141 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 01:20 PM

The range of rifle fired grenades depended on the angle of fire, and to improve the accuracy of the lobbing, a ' Grenade Pendulum Sight ' or Clinometer was introduced in 1915.
The first of these was announced in the List of Changes on 24th July, 1915, as follows :-
Para 17416 - Sights, pendulum, rifle grenade; No.1 Mk.I - No.1 Mk.II for all rifles, short, M.L.E.

These Grenade Pendulum Sights were fitted over the rifle's backsight with the pendulum sight's quadrant to the left side of the rifle.
The Mk.I sight was sprung on the backsight leaf of the rifle, and retained by clips pressed out of the metal. The graduations are marked on an enamelled plate.
The Mk.II sight differs from the Mk.I in having a hinged clip which is pressed against the backsight leaf by a spiral spring, the clip having a knob for disengaging it. The graduations are marked on the metal.
Both sights have 2 graduations marked on the quadrant; the lower set for elevation under, and the upper set for elevations over, 45 degrees. A pendulum with a pointer is fitted to each sight.

These WW1 Rifle Grenade Pendulum sights are rare, and the only photographs I could find of them were these retained in the MOD Pattern Room.
Perhaps a member has such a sight, or a photograph of one in use ?

LF

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#142 Sommewalker

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:19 PM

LF. Back in 1989 whilst holidaying on the Somme I was introduced to two brothers, both collectors. They showed me their garden shed which was packed to the eaves with shell cases for the 4.5 How. There were 600 or so which they had found in a filled in hole in Aveluy wood. They were in good condition and many still bore traces of the red markings on the base. All dated in early 1916. I still have one on a shelf. But, said he, what was this? Producing an object which he had found in one of the cases. Yep! You guessed it. A grenade clinometer sight for the No.3 grenade as in your post. The nickel plating on the brass sight was about 85% and only the steel spring on the sight clip had rusted. Dismantling my Bic pen soon produced a perfect replacement. He was willing to swap for a near perfect P.1888 bayonet which I had. Unfortunately when I sold this collection in 1998 the sight went with it. but there you are! At least it shows that they were in use at the Front. Incidentally the one in the post incorrectly shows it with the No.23 but the range markings instantly reveal that it was intended for the No.3 series. The ranges are far too high for the rodded Mills. - SW

#143 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 02:32 PM

At least it shows that they were in use at the Front. Incidentally the one in the post incorrectly shows it with the No.23 but the range markings instantly reveal that it was intended for the No.3 series. The ranges are far too high for the rodded Mills. - SW


SW,
Great report, and as you say, confirms their use on the Somme.
Regards,
LF

#144 wulfrik-the-wanderer

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 05:35 PM

Hi LF,

Just checked the prices of the resin models, and at £27 each, thats over £300 to fil lthe box, so thats plan B shelved.
£200 for a Mills. Gor Blimey, thats plan A shelved as well!
Mind boggles the value of a box then.
John, yes that would make sense. In the No.5 box there are no 'corners' but with the separating wooden pillars they make the Mills fit tight enough for transport. I whave seen photos of packing material around the Det tin, does anyone know what material this was?

I use to have a No.36 WWII box, but folishly sold it on. I am sure another will turn up one day!

thanks, SC

not sure if mentioning other forums is okay on here?
but there's a chap with the username "KarlUK" on the ww2reenacting forum who makes resin replicas at reasonable prices that are very good!

#145 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:02 PM

I have a Mills 36 box dated about 1943 [i think], with subsequent inspection marks on it.
regards
John


John,
Mills Bomb/Grenade design, manufacturing, assembly and storage/shipping methods changed little between WW1 and WW2.
Here is a photograph of WW2 No.36 Mills Grenades being assembled for packing, and you will note in the background are plies of the wooden storage/shipping boxes like your's.
This photo, is remarkably similar in its content to the WW1 Mills Grenade packing photograph shown in post # 42.
Also remarkably, two of the workers shown are brothers, and both are blind.
Regards,
LF

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#146 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:38 PM

Indian troops launching Mills No.23 rodded grenades.
LF

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#147 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:48 AM

Although the rodded rifle fired Mills No.23 Grenade was successful, it was not perfect, and often resulted in damage to the rifle's barrel.

Improvements to the rifle fired grenade were required, this resulted in the invention of the Rifle Grenade Discharger Cup, which eliminated the need for a rod to be attached to the base of the Mills Grenade and inserted into the rifle barrel.

The first of the Discharger Cups for the SMLE rifle was introduced in the List of Changes in August 1917 :-
Para 19457 - Discharger, Grenade, Rifle : No.1 Mk.I - Consisting of barrel with base and adjusting screw; for attaching to Rifles, Short, M.L.E. for firing grenades with base gas checks.

No.2 Mk.I - Consisting of barrel with base, for attaching to Rifles, Magazine, .303-in. Pattern 1914, for firing grenades with base gas checks.
The No.2 discharger cup was mainly used for training and was different to the No.1 in that it had no adjustable gas vent, and was designed for use with the Pattern 1914 rifle, which was not usually issued to front line troops.

This No.1 Discharger Cup has 2 claws which fitted into the lightening slots of the SMLE nosecap and they are tightened up and held in place by screwing the cup in the clockwise direction. The outer body of the discharge cup, has knurling on the surface to provide extra grip in muddy or wet conditions.
An elongated Gas Vent slide at the base of the discharge cup, can be opened or closed to vary the range of projection of the grenade. On the early models of the discharger cup, the gas vent slide was adjusted and held in place by a wing nut, on later models the wing nut was replaced by a finger screw bolt.
First deliveries of the rifle grenade discharger cup were made at the end of September 1917, and by November 1917 full production was underway by the National Projectile Factory and eight other contractors.

The discharger cup provided much better accuracy in lobbing due to the ability to control the gas loss via the gas vent aperture, and the rifle Pendulum Sight ( Clinometer ) was therefore considered redundant and was soon dispensed with.
There are no calibrated markings on the gas vent aperture, so the grenade's range was controlled by adjusting the gas vent aperture, 200 yards range when fully closed, and 80 yards range when fully open, with estimated ranges for anything in between fully open and fully closed.

The new Rifle Grenade Discharger Cup required some modifications to the Mills Bomb/Grenade and as a result the Mills No.36 Grenade was developed.
It was a little more bulbous than the No.23, and had a modified base plug to which a Base Gas Check Plate could be screwed. The Base Gas Check Plate fitted snuggly inside the Discharger Cup and prevented the loss of gases on discharge, thereby enhancing the grenade's projection.
The safety pin ' Ears ' on the No.36 Grenade were also noticably enlarged, and strengthened.
The design of the Striker was also modified, with more of the Striker protruding through the top of the grenade and the top of the Striker being rounded.
With the Base Gas Check Plate attached, the No.36 Grenade was inserted into the Discharge Cup base first, once secure inside the Discharge Cup, the grenade's safety pin could be safely removed and the grenade fired using a modified blank .303 cartridge.

Previously, with the No.23 rodded rifle grenade, the firer usually held the rifle to their side or shoulder and fired the grenade, whereas with the No.36 rifle grenade used with the Discharger Cup, it was either fired with the firer seated backwards or kneeling, with the butt of the rifle firmly planted on the ground ( see attached firing diagrams and training photo ).

By 1918, both the Mills No.5 and the No.23 had been declared obsolete, with the Mills No.36 being declared obsolete in 1932.

A variation of the Mills No.36, known as the Mills No.36M, was developed for use in Mesopotamia where the climate resulted in much damper and more humid conditions not suitable for the Mills No.36 grenade. To combat these adverse climatic conditions, the Mills No.36M Grenade was dipped in ' Shellac ' ( a purified resin ) to seal the grenade's surface and assist with combating the adverse climate in Mesopotamia, and I understand that the explosive was also changed for the same reason, from a mixture of Trotyl and Amatol to Baratol.
The use of the Shellac coating, is also claimed to have given rise to the exp<b></b>ression of giving someone a
' Shellacking ' , when they are beaten soundly.

Some SMLE rifles used for grenade launching had wire bound reinforced barrels, and were sometimes known as ' EY ' rifles, after their inventor, Edward Yule.

The modified Mills No.36M Grenade, remained in service with British and Dominion Forces until 1972.

LF

Parts - Ian Skennerton - The Enfield Rifle

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#148 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:51 AM

Grenade Discharger Cup fitted to SMLE Rifle.
LF

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#149 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:56 AM

Early Mills Grenade No.36 dated October 1917 ( 10 17 ) made by J. Legge and Co. Ltd. Stafford Stree. Willenhall.
LF

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#150 Lancashire Fusilier

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:59 AM

Comparisons between the Mills Grenade Nos. 5 - 23 - 36, with the No.36 being on the right.
Note the enlarged and strengthened safety pin ' Ears ', and the different shape to the top of the Striker.
LF

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