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Grenade History
By Mary Bellis

A grenade is small explosive, chemical, or gas bomb. It is used at short range, thrown by hand or launched with a grenade launcher. The word grenade comes from the French word for pomegranate, early grenades looked like pomegranates.

Grenades first came into use around the 15th century and the first inventor cannot be named. The first grenades were hollow iron balls filled with gunpowder and ignited by a slow burning wick.

By the 19th century, grenades were no longer used. They were first used extensively again during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). The hand grenades of World War One can be described as empty cans filled with gunpowder and stones, with a primitive fuse. The Australians used the tin cans from jam and their early grenades were nicknamed "Jam Bombs." The first safe (for the person throwing it) grenade was the Mills bomb, invented by Englishmen, William Mills in 1915. Two other important grenade designs that emerged from the first war are the French pineapple grenade and the German stick grenade.

The definition of a grenade with historical background information.

The history of the grenade.

Mills Bomb
The first safe grenade was the Mills Bomb, invented by Englishmen, William Mills in 1915.

The Mills Bomb
The Mills bomb was an infantry issue hand grenade developed by William Mills of Birmingham in 1915.

Grenade Launchers
Extending the range of grenades requires that they be launched by some sort of infantry weapon, the grenade launcher.

A grenadier is a soldier selected and trained to hurl grenades. The earliest grenadiers can be traced to the late 16th century.

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