“I fear I may have a particularly sick sense of humor when it comes to enemy respawn points in Fallout.
Even if I don’t have a high skill in explosives I like to buy as many mines of any sort I can. Then when I clear out an area that’s notorious for respawning enemies like the Springfield School or the Wheaton Armory I just LITTER the place with clusters of mines before leaving.
Then days later when I’m in the region I hear ‘Booms’ off in the distance and I hear the ‘boop’ of the “Raider is now crippled” message or the 'Ding’ and message of experience for Raider deaths just… occurring.
So to start, this is an M26A1 grenade (edit: or possibly a later variant within the M26 family). The hollow area was filled with just under 6oz of Composition B, (one of the most common explosive fillers for decades) a mix of TNT and RDX. It was developed as a replacement for the TNT-filled mkII “pineapple” grenade based on studies done on fragmentation characteristics and design considerations to improve them. Also for comparison, check out this cutaway of the much more crudely built mk II.
Either one of these fillers (TNT and Comp B) has high enough brisance to easily shatter the simple, brittle, cast-iron shell of the mkII into small slivers and chunks, which are then propelled outwards as deadly fragmentation. The groves in the mkII shell were intended to improve the grip of the thrower, but later study revealed the fragmentation characteristics of this design were less than ideal. Some parts of the grenade would separate in large iron chunks, which would greatly damage anything they hit but lower the probability of hitting anything as the distance from the blast increased. Other portions of the shell would shatter into small shards traveling at extremely high velocities - these had a high likelihood of hitting nearby objects, but suffered from inadequate penetration and slowed quickly with distance. The result was that the product was less consistent than desired; an ideal grenade would reliably incapacitate any enemy within a certain radius by casting an even spread of similarly sized fragments with velocity and mass high enough to meet the wounding requirements. Fragments larger than this threshold may be more deadly, but reduce the total number of fragments available from a given mass of fragment material, potentially lowering overall grenade efficiency since any projectile exceeding the size/velocity needed to meet the wounding requirement is a waste of material. Fragment shape is also a big issue for aerodynamics and penetration, since shattering produces chunks of all different shapes, often jagged shards and splinters that don’t perform as well as more consolidated chunks like cubes or spheres.
One of two grenade designs to be mass produced during the American Civil War, the Hanes Excelsior hand grenade was the invention of W.W. Hanes in early 1862. The Hanes grenade was a simple weapon, merely a cast iron ball with a hollow center which was filled with gunpowder. Grenades had been used for centuries, however they never became very common until the 20th century due to unreliable detonation mechanisms, such as fuses. In the 18th century specialized soldiers called “grenadiers” experimented with the use of grenades in warfare, by they were discontinued after when it was found that the grenades were just as dangerous to the user as to the enemy. The Hanes grenade suffered from the same problem of having an unreliable detonation system. Spaced evenly among the grenade were ten protruding nipples upon which percussion caps were placed. When thrown, the force of the cap striking the ground struck a spark which detonated the grenade. The percussion caps used were not the same type of caps used to fire percussion muskets and revolvers, rather they were special grenade caps produced by DuPont which used a very refined form of mercury fulminate, causing the caps to be highly sensitive to percussion. While this ensured that the grenade would detonate reliably (which it didn’t), it also made the grenade very dangerous to carry unless its percussion caps were not in place. Any bump or jostle of the grenade could cause an accidental explosion. Then of course a soldier would have to cap the grenade whilst in combat. To solve the problem, the grenades were stored in special rubber cases, but accidents were still common. As a result no sane soldier would want to carry one. Thus they were rarely used when issued.
Two rather similar anti-personnel mines, the BLU-43 Dragontooth is the American model, while the PFM-1 Green Parrot is the Russian version. The explosive charge is rather minimal, designed mostly to maim and wound ground forces or disable soft skinned vehicle tires.
Once the mine is armed any outward pressure will set it off, making it impossible to disarm. The Dragontooth was used covertly in Vietnam for classified operations, however, the Green Parrot was used in Afghanistan by the Soviets. Due to its curious shape, many Afghan children thought they were toys, picking up the mine and playing with them, resulting in lost limbs.