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Remembered Today:

Grenade-firing wristlet


JMB1943

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I was intrigued to find a reference to this in an operations manual for an infantry division.

As this was translated from the French, perhaps a French Army device.

Does anyone have any information on these devices?

Grenades were also, apparently, differentiated from bombs......

 

Regards,

JMB

 

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JMB,

these publications are certainly fascinating, initially I presumed wristlet to mean some form of timepiece/watch, but it could be as simple as this...would make sense.

https://www.worldwarknits.com/wwi-gloves-and-wristlets.html

 

I particularly like the reference to clasp knives as special arms.

 

great little booklet,

 

Dave.

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Given the date of June 1915, a wristlet is a likely English translation of the bracelet used to pull out the friction igniter of the Mle 1914 bracelet grenade, during the act of throwing it.

 

Try an internet search for French bracelet grenade....

 

 

 

265

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10 minutes ago, 14276265 said:

Given the date of June 1915, a wristlet is a likely English translation of the bracelet used to pull out the friction igniter of the Mle 1914 bracelet grenade, during the act of throwing it.

 

Try an internet search for French bracelet grenade....

 

 

 

265

Every day’s a school day, 

thanks 265,

 

Dave.

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A Brassard is the name. Essentially a wrist band with sand paper on it. Grenades with a match type tip on the fuse were ignited by stroking the fuse on the brassard.

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I was under the impression that the French bracelet and the Brassard were two very different things. I thought the French bracelet was a leather strap worn around the wrist which when the wearer threw, upon release, pulled the friction igniter of the modele 1914 grenade.1600889442903984290238.jpg.226e710efd3811d14c26204ad153b6ee.jpg

 

Image from a French publication Les Grenades de la Grande Guerre.

 

The Brassard I understand was a piece of sand paper on card strapped to the wrist for striking matches on to light the fuze of the No15 'Loos cricket ball' grenade which would then be bowled at the enemy. I have read accounts where if at all wet they failed utterly and enemy trenches were left littered with dud and abandoned grenades. The contrast when the Mills was introduced must have been stark.

Edited by ServiceRumDiluted
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1 hour ago, ServiceRumDiluted said:

I was under the impression that the French bracelet and the Brassard were two very different things. I thought the French bracelet was a leather strap worn around the wrist which when the wearer threw, upon release, pulled the friction igniter of the modele 1914 grenade.

 

 

Exactly so.

 

Patrick Delhomme - author of the above-quoted book Les Grenades Françaises de la Grande Guerre - in an article of the same title in Gazette des Armes, Mai 1977, describes the method of use of the Mles 1882 and 1914 spherical grenades: "ce qui permet l'utilisation d'un cord tire-feu attaché au poignet du grenadier". Or in English, "allowing the use of a lanyard attached to the grenadier's wrist".

 

In contrast the brassard as employed with the British Ball and Oval grenades was described in "The Training and Employment of Grenadiers" of October 1915 as "an armlet covered with match composition".

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If the booklet is in English why would it refer to French grenades? I assume the North Midland Division would not be issued with French Ball Grenades but No 15, No 16 and Battye grenades etc? Hence Brassard and not bracelets?

Edited by Gunner Bailey
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My guess would be that it was translated directly from the French Verbatum without regard to such nuances as type of grenade.

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3 hours ago, Gunner Bailey said:

If the booklet is in English why would it refer to French grenades? 

 

If you read the document cover shown in the opening post you will see that the document is a French combat manual that has been translated into English.  As SRD surmises, it will be pretty much a verbatim translation. Allied and enemy manuals were translated to facilitate understanding of how units in other armies operated.

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I get that point but these French manual were translated to give the army something rather than nothing. Exactly the case with the US in 1917 when they translated French manuals in bulk. The 'Training and Employment of Bombers' was first published in March 1916 and revised in September 1916, but before that there was very little.

 

The point I was trying to make was that although the leaflet may refer to the Bracelet for the M1914 Ball grenade,

a British soldier would see see that as the Brassard which was available to them at the time for the No. 15, No 16 and other Emergency Grenades.

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On 27/09/2020 at 18:12, Gunner Bailey said:

 The 'Training and Employment of Bombers' was first published in March 1916 and revised in September 1916, but before that there was very little.

 

 

As for paucity of British manuals before March 1916, on the contrary much training material was produced by the British Army throughout 1915, addressing all manner of tactics and weapons use. The Central Distribution Section of the Royal Engineers was particularly busy. Amongst the manuals dealing purely with grenades were:

 

CDS74 "The Training and Employment of Grenadiers", October 1915. (Note - Grenadiers, not Bombers.)

CDS66 "Notes on British, French and German Grenades", September 1915.

CDS57A "Description, Ball Grenade, and Instructions for Use", August 1915 - as the the Ball (No.15) was being introduced to the fronts.

CDS15 "The Training and Employment of Grenadiers", April 1915. (Again - Grenadiers, not Bombers.)

 

On 27/09/2020 at 18:12, Gunner Bailey said:

The point I was trying to make was that although the leaflet may refer to the Bracelet for the M1914 Ball grenade,

a British soldier would see see that as the Brassard which was available to them at the time for the No. 15, No 16 and other Emergency Grenades.

 

CDS74 describes the British Ball and Oval grenades and the armlet for lighting them. For what it's worth, as a British training manual, it also clearly describes the French ball grenade and its leather wrist strap, as per attached pages.

 

 

FHW_1.jpg

FHW_2.jpg

Edited by 14276265
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That French Ball looks distinctly pre the M1914.

 

I've never seen any of the earlier leaflets from 1915. Must be rocking horse poo scarce. Maybe I'll have a trip to the RE Museum but the last time I was there the library was closed for a refurb.

 

Is there any evidence that British Regiments were issued with the French Ball Grenade? Or was the leaflet just for awareness?

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The ball shown in the manual is a Mle1882 but was used with the bracelet, the same as the Mle1914.

 

The manual was for instruction in using grenades to be issued, taken over or captured. French grenades, including the ball, featured in the grenade syllabuses of the bombing schools, as the attached snippet of bombing course notes from October 1915 shows. The ball described is the Mle1882, with a wrist strap with hook to pull out the friction igniter. 

 

French P1 pear grenades were most definitely issued to British troops, and there is a pamphlet dealing with just that - CDS68, September 1915. As for French ball grenades, I recollect mention at least once in a unit diary of them being issued to British troops, but that when the British have taken over French trenches, with grenades left for the British to use.

 

 

 

Balls.jpg

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I don't expect the M1882 was used for long with the bracelet as it looks as though the wooden plug would pull out hence the upgrade to the more heavier engineered M1914.

 

Otherwise interesting content Tom.

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