In this instalment of our 12 part series on Military blueprints, we look at the German M24 Stick Grenade.
The iconic stick grenade first appeared during the First World War, introduced by the German Empire in 1915. The M15 Stielhandgranate differed greatly from it’s contemporaries. It mounted a charge head within a sheet-steel cylinder atop a long hollow-wooden handle. This allowed the grenade to be thrown some 30-40 metres, about 10 metres further than a British Mills Bomb. It also had a more predictable roll/bounce after landing, instead of rolling down a hill it would roll side to side due to the handle and charge head.
After WW1 the new German state, the Weimar Republic, began a slow rebuilding of the armed forces. The Weimar Republic revived the stick grenade as the “Model 1924 Stielhandgranate”. The main distinction between the M24 and the original M15 is a slightly shorter charge head and the removal of a belt carry clip. The wooden handle was also lengthened. These design alterations were done for the sake of mobility, soldiers would often tuck grenades behind their uniform belt and these changes facilitated this use.
The M24 was used widely during the Second World War. German troops often carrying many directly on their front. This practise was discouraged as heat or explosions would often set off the fuses. As a safety precaution, units of the Wehrmacht were advised to only insert the actual fuse assemblies when about to go into combat. A reminder was printed on the grenades at the factory that states: Vor Gebrauch Sprengkapsel einsetzen (“Before use insert detonator”).
To counter the lack of effectiveness against hard targets such as tanks and buildings, a common solution was created in the form of an improvised “bundle charge”. 4 to 6 charges were secured around a complete M24 grenade with rope or wire. Although cost effective and reliable, the extra weight and size meant that only a few could be carried and throwing range was reduced.
The M24 had a rather limited shrapnel effect when compared to other grenades. In order to overcome this the Splitterring was developed. This fragmentation sleeve clips over the head of the grenade and greatly increases it’s lethality.