First World War - War in the Air

Grenade, West Spring Gun, No 21 R Type

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Catalogue number
  • MUN 1497
Materials
  • metal
Alternative Names
  • FULL NAME: Grenade, West Spring Gun, No 21 R Type
  • SIMPLE NAME: grenade, British
Object Type
grenade
Category
weapons and ammunition

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Label

British grenade for the West Spring Gun, early First World War period. In the absence of adequate supplies of rifle grenades or light trench mortars during the early part of the war on the Western Front the British Army sought to make up deficiencies by the employment of the West Spring Gun, a multi-springed (24) bomb-thrower of erratic tendencies which first saw service in 1915. The weapon, which was based on a Roman stone-throwing engine, was silent and relatively accurate up to a range of about 240 yards. It was much mistrusted by its operators as it was not unknown for mis-directed bombs to rebound from the thrower's own trench parapet. The IWM holds an original example, see ORD 49 and also IWM photograph reference Q 67038.

History note

British grenade for the West Spring Gun, early First World War period, H 4.5in x 4in diameter. In the absence of adequate supplies of rifle grenades or light trench mortars during the early part of the war some units of the British Army sought to make up deficiencies by the employment of the West Spring Gun, a multi-springed bomb-thrower of erratic tendencies. The weapon's most positive characteristics were its relative silence and absence of any identifying discharge of smoke; accuracy and range depended on the user's experience, and it was not unknown for mis-aimed bombs to rebound from the thrower's own trench parapet. The WSG was used both on the Western Front and in Gallipoli. The IWM holds an original example, see ORD 49 and also IWM photograph reference Q 67038.

Physical description

grenade sheet steel ball grenade in two halves; threaded extension on top with hole into which is inserted tin detonator housing tube (striker/fuse/detonator assembly and cap missing); painted black with red/pink stripe painted around middle. H 4.5in x 4in diameter.

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