I haven’t done a long post in a while. Today I’ll be talking about one of Germany’s most recognizable weapons, the Model 24 Stielhandgranate or “Potato Masher” as the Allies affectionately called it. For simplicity’s sake I’m going to call it the “stick grenade” from here on out.
Originally introduced to the German Army in 1915, the Model 24 was the standard issue high explosive weapon given to the Landser through out the remainder of the war, and continued to be used throughout WWII as well.
Detonated by a friction igniter, the user would take a cap off the bottom, pull on a cord that had a porcelain ball at the end. When the cord was pulled, it would drag a small steel rod through the igniter which through friction and heat, set off the explosive charge that had a 5 second timer.
Originally starting out as more of a concussive weapon, a serrated fragmentaion sleeve was added to later iterations to make it more effective against enemy infantry.
Compared to the traditional Allied grenade, such as the British No. 36 Mk. 1 “Mills Bomb” or the American Mk. 2 “Pineapple” Grenade, the German stick grenade provided a point of leverage to allow the user to throw it significantly farther. (And speaking from personal experience as someone who is terrible at throwing grenades, a stick is much easier to throw than a ball)
It was also common for German soldiers to increase the power of the Model 24 by removing the explosive charges from several other grenades and attaching them to one, in a bundle. This was known as
Geballte Ladung, or bundle charge.
Variants included smoke charges, and incendiary charges.