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A grenade is a hand-held bomb, made to be thrown by a soldier. The word "grenade" has a Spanish origin in the word granado (which simply means "pomegranate"), in reference to the general size of early grenades. Grenadiers were originally a class of soldier specialized in throwing grenades.

Using grenades

In a classic grenade, once the handle is released, the grenade will detonate in four seconds.

The pin prevents the handle from coming off.

When using a grenade, the objective is to have the grenade land with too little time for the enemy to throw it back.

One grasps the grenade in the strong hand. The grasp should include the handle. Then one pulls the pin out of the grenade. Then one estimates the time of flight to the enemy, and subtracts it from four. Then one releases the handle, counts the time not needed for flight, and throws the grenade at the intended target.

One of the classic mistakes is to grasp the grenade in the weak hand, pull the pin, and then throw the pin.

Another classic mistake is to fail to grasp the handle, and then pull the pin. In this case, the grenade might explode while one is calculating times.

A basic safety precaution is to always throw a grenade from cover. Therefore, if anything goes wrong, it can be thrown quickly out of the cover.

When a grenade is out of control, yell "grenade."

Dirty tricks

Well-prepared soldiers carry a roll of duct tape to repair equipment. With practice with dummy grenades, it's fairly easy to learn to construct simple booby traps from duct tape and a grenade.

One of the best booby traps is on a door frame. Place the grenade about half an arm-length above one's head. (Most people do not look up; they watch their feet or their hands.) When the door is opened, the booby trap should release the grenade's handle. The grenade should stay in place up high, so that it cannot be kicked away.

Another good place is on a vehicle gas tank, triggered when the vehicle drives away.

Design and operation

The fragmentation grenade is an antipersonnel device that is designed to spew shrapnel in all directions. When the handle comes off, a spring-powered striker hits a percussion cap. The cap ignites a four-second fuse. The fuse ignites a detonator, which ignites the explosive of the grenade.

To make them easy to throw, modern grenades are usually shaped and weigh the same as a baseball. They use a compound of RDX as their explosive. The shell is made of plastic, and flechettes or nicked wire provide the antipersonnel shrapnel fragments.

Classical "pineapple" grenades used smokeless powder and cast-iron shells, which would fragment along deliberately cast weak points in the shell.

Grenades have also been made to release smoke, tear gas ("CN"), and illumination. Special forces use "flash-bang" grenades to disorient people during an entry into a room, without the intent of causing lasting injury.

Some grenade designs were made to be thrown longer distances. The German "potato-masher" grenade had a long wooden handle that extended range by fifty percent. It was designed to explode upon impact rather than after a set time. Some Israeli units have experimented successfully with using slings to throw grenades.

See also: Rocket propelled grenade

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