“Mills Bomb” Hand Grenade No. 5 Mk I, Used By C.E.F., Etc., During The First World War .

William Mills, a hand grenade designer from Sunderland, patented, developed and manufactured the “Mills bomb” at the Mills. Munition Factory in Birmingham, England, in 1915. The Mills bomb was adopted by the British Army as its standard hand grenade in 1915, and designated as the No. 5. The term “Mills Bomb” was first coined early in FWW, as grenadiers were referred to as “bombers”. The term was confusing and soon “grenade” was officially applied. During FWW Britain was producing up to half a million hand grenades each week (with an average of 250,000). Over 75 million Mills grenades manufactured between April 1915 and late 1918.

Grenade Section 8th Infantry Battalion. May, 1916.

Grenade Section 8th Infantry Battalion. May, 1916.

The Mills was a classic design; a grooved cast iron “pineapple” with a central striker held by a close hand lever and secured with a pin. Although the segmented body helps to create fragments when the grenade explodes, according to Mills’ notes the casing was grooved to make it easier to grip and not as an aid to fragmentation. The Mills was a defensive grenade: after throwing the user had to take cover immediately. A competent thrower could manage 15 meters (49 feet) with reasonable accuracy, but the grenade could throw lethal fragments farther than this. It could be fitted with a flat base and fired with a blank cartridge from a rifle with a “cup” attachment, giving it a range of around 150 m.

"Mills Bomb" Hand Grenade No. 5 Mk I, Front View.

“Mills Bomb” Hand Grenade No. 5 Mk I, Front View.

"Mills Bomb" Hand Grenade No. 5 Mk I, Bottom View.

“Mills Bomb” Hand Grenade No. 5 Mk I, Bottom View.

"Mills Bomb" Hand Grenade No. 5 Mk I, Internal component View.

“Mills Bomb” Hand Grenade No. 5 Mk I, Internal component View.

The Mills was a classic design; a grooved cast iron “pineapple” with a central striker held by a close hand lever and secured with a pin. Although the segmented body helps to create fragments when the grenade explodes, according to Mills’ notes the casing was grooved to make it easier to grip and not as an aid to fragmentation. The Mills was a defensive grenade: after throwing the user had to take cover immediately. A competent thrower could manage 15 meters (49 feet) with reasonable accuracy, but the grenade could throw lethal fragments farther than this. It could be fitted with a flat base and fired with a blank cartridge from a rifle with a “cup” attachment, giving it a range of around 150 m. At first the grenade was fitted with a seven-second fuse to accommodate both hand and rifle launch, but during combat in the Battle of France in 1940 this delay proved too long—giving defenders time to escape the explosion, or even to throw the grenade back—and was reduced to four seconds.

How a Bomer Flings a Mills Grenade.

How a Bomer Flings a Mills Grenade.

The Mills bomb underwent numerous modifications. The No. 23 was a variant of the No. 5 with a rodded base plug which allowed it to be fired from a rifle. This concept evolved further with the No. 36, a variant with a detachable base plate to allow use with a rifle discharged cup. The final variation of the Mills bomb, the No. 36M, was specially designed and waterproofed with shellac for use initially in the hot climate of Mesopotamia in 1917, but remained in production for many years. By 1918 the No. 5 and No. 23 were declared obsolete and the No. 36 (but not the 36M). source: 1- U.S. Patent 1,178,092 U.S. copy of the 1915/1916 Mills grenade patent 2- “www.firstworldwar.com – Who’s Who – Sir William Mills

Spañard

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