Looking for sources on hand grenades

sawpatin

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I'd really like to find some detailed info on grenades and other hand-thrown explosives used during the ACW, it's sort of a gap in my knowledge between the Napoleonic Wars and WW1. Something the likes of an academic journal article or period manual that really gets down to the nitty gritty on construction, design, and function. Could anyone recommend reliable sources on this topic?
 

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FedericoFCavada

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sawpatin

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Thomas S. Dickey and Peter C. George, Field Artillery Projectiles of the Civil War--1993 ed.


Adams, Vicksburg, Selma

Raines

W. W. Hanes "Excelsior" 1862


Ketchum

archive.org may well have a scanned copy of Civil War-era information on siege works, engineering, and the role of hand grenades during the period?
That book is proving a bit hard to find for an affordable price (I'm guessing maybe out of print, or not sold in my region), but I'll keep looking. Thanks for the suggestions.
 

ucvrelics

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I'd really like to find some detailed info on grenades and other hand-thrown explosives used during the ACW, it's sort of a gap in my knowledge between the Napoleonic Wars and WW1. Something the likes of an academic journal article or period manual that really gets down to the nitty gritty on construction, design, and function. Could anyone recommend reliable sources on this topic?
Must be getting old as I completely forgot that if you are looking for drawings and tech info the US Patent office would have a great deal of info along those lines.
 

FedericoFCavada

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The French had pretty much the same cast-iron sphere filled with 110 grams of black powder from 1847 until the outbreak of WWI... Probably close to the naval grenades thrown aboard enemy vessels or at hostile boarding parties...

The grenade was standardized in France by Gribeauval in 1777 under the shape of a 9.5 cm diameter pig iron hollow sphere drilled with a smooth hole for the insertion of a wood plug with a wick inside ('fuze').

U.S. Navy grenades seem rather similar... I used to have an image of the copy of the Ketchum type grenade with the paper streamer tail instead of the wood dart-like projection with the tail fins... Also, descriptions of sieges indicate a lot of "spherical case shot" was repurposed as huge hand grenades.

According to Phil Collins, The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector's Journey (Buffalo Gap, TX: State House Press, 2012), pp. 268-9:
"By the Mexican War, however, hand grenades appear in great abundance in Mexican army stores. For instance, among the relics from the [May] 1846 Palo Alto battlefield was 'a small shell, or hand grenade of brass, and hollow of course' ... At the capture of the castle of Perote, Mexico, the U.S. army found "fourteen thousand three hundred bombs and hand grenades; ... "

Assertions and claims are made that these could be variously thrown by hand after ignition of the fuse, rolling them down "an embankment upon assaulters,' or lobbing them singly or in groups from small mortars or howitzers. Also, a rock sling, or a staff sling could be used to aid in lobbing the things. Apparently a French officer, the Marquis Joseph de Valliere attached a three-foot cord to French grenades to assist in longer--and perhaps more accurate?--throws.

Many U.S. Civil War officers were veterans of the Mexican War, so perhaps some of their experiences with such "infernal machines" made its way into Civil War trenches, rifle pits and redans/ redoubts / field fortifications / sieges?
 

sawpatin

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Great stuff guys, thanks for all the contributions.

I remember coming across one book which mentioned that, at Vicksburg, Confederate troops improvised grenades out of glass bottles filled with shot and powder, with fuzes stuck in the openings. The same book also mentioned the grenades made from six pounder shells that @drezac brought up.

Are there any production stats available for the various govt. issue models? I'd be curious to get some idea of how many of any one type was manufactured through the war.
 


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