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Thread: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

  1. #1
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    Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    We discuss taping hand grenades, fragmentation grenades, in particular. Vietnam and on, the common 1:6 wisdom is that the spoons should be taped down, to preclude accidental detonations.

    Yesterday, while searching some refs online, I ran into a .pdf Explosives Safety Bulletin, dated March 2008. Page 4 was titled Taping grenades.

    http://64.78.11.86/uxofiles/enclosur...Newsletter.pdf

    Here is the page of interest:




    I text with one of our members, who is knowledgeable in such matters, and last night I queried him on his thoughts on the matter. He confirmed what he'd said before, that he is not enamored of hand grenades, and that guys had blown themselves up trying to get the tape off. He and the others had received the warnings, for some time.

    Nevertheless, he had taped his, figuring he would be deliberate in removing the tape. We also discussed that the taping problem might be magnified by the smaller size of grenades like the M67, and flash bangs, compared to the larger grenades like the old "pineapple" Mk II.

    So, there it is, "grist for the mill". Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
    It doesn't solve the issue, but I think it is an interesting conundrum....in any scale.
    You are
    What you do
    When it counts---The Masao
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  2. #2
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    The sticky residue is a very good point why not to do it, or since there seems to actually be time to remove the tape why not just cut it either side of the spoons instead? Strong elastic bands might be more suitable, ones that don't degrade easily.
    pukingdog: What I like about your build threads, is that they start out like chaotic car wreck footage, which morphs into great figures. Your style is fearless.

  3. #3
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    This is the safety clip they mention, near the end. Looks a bit "snaggy".

    You are
    What you do
    When it counts---The Masao
    - Ryan Bonaminio lived his life this way -

  4. #4
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    Interesting, i have noticed tape appearing on grenades in bashes, thinking to myself "would that be safe" what would happen if you needed it a hurry and tape gets stuck all over your hands.

  5. #5
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    I've heard of the practice and I believe that it's long past time to redesign the hand grenade so that they remain relatively safe to carry until needed. I have some experience with the M67 grenade but I never had to carry them on a regular basis. If I did have to carry them regularly, I would either tape them in an intelligent manner or find some other way to ensure that the safety pin and spoon stayed engages until needed. Former US Senator Max Cleland from GA was gravely injured in Vietnam by a grenade that hadn't been taped that fell off of a soldier's web gear.

    "On April 8, with a month left in his tour, Cleland was ordered to set up a radio relay station on a nearby hill. A helicopter flew him and two soldiers to the treeless top of Hill 471, east of Khe Sanh. Cleland knew some of the soldiers camped there from Operation Pegasus. He told the pilot he was going to stay a while with friends.
    When the helicopter landed, Cleland jumped out, followed by the two soldiers. They ducked beneath the rotors and turned to watch the liftoff. Cleland reached down to pick up a grenade that he believed had popped off his flak jacket. It exploded and the blast slammed him backward, shredding both his legs and one arm.

    David Lloyd, a Marine in a nearby mortar bunker, rushed to the scene, took off his web belt and tied it around one of Cleland's legs to control bleeding. When the medics arrived, Lloyd left to help another injured soldier, one of the two who had gotten off the helicopter with Cleland.

    Lloyd says that the unnamed soldier was crying. "It was mine," he said, "it was my grenade." According to Lloyd, the private had failed to take the extra precaution that experienced soldiers did when they grabbed M-26 grenades from the ammo box: bend the pins, or tape them in place, so they couldn't accidentally dislodge. This soldier had a flak jacket full of grenades with treacherously straight pins, Lloyd says. "He was a walking death trap."."
    Sgt. Markoff: "Keep shooting, you scum! You'll get a chance yet to die with your boots on!"

  6. #6
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    Quote Originally Posted by pukingdog View Post
    This is the safety clip they mention, near the end. Looks a bit "snaggy".

    These "safety clips" were on various grenades way back when I was in, 25 years ago. Would have thought they were common service wide.

    As for tape, I find it hard to believe that "significant numbers" of grenades are too hazardous to use because of the amount of tape on them. Are people wrapping these things top to bottom? This might be more a leadership issue.

    A good replacement for the tape, instead of rubber bands or such, might be a heat-shrink plastic collar like on bottles of dressing, steak sauce, etc. The heat required to shrink it in place is negligible, it won't leave residue, easily replaced at company level, and adjustable. A 3" or 4" strip with perforations (just like steak sauce) could cover the whole spoon, ring on the pin, and provide a nice smooth snag free jacket for grenade.

    I'd happily stick with my assigned weapon, a '203, versus lobbed grenades. Hand thrown stuff just seems so 19th century to me!
    .
    "Women uh... women sense my power and they seek the life essence." General Jack D. Ripper

  7. #7
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    Although I have no military experience my thoughts as a product designer and mechanic (i.e. general problem solving and fixing things) makes me agree with all the comments above, I'm guessing we haven't seen any improvements to the design (that so called safety clasp looks terrible!! I don't mean in a cosmetic way but in a functional one) due to contracts, politics and money, hand thrown grenades are archaic to say the least, the tittle of Grenadier goes back hundreds of years. But they must still be around for a reason although I'm not sure how the weight ratio of a launcher and shells versus the same number hand thrown grenades works out (I do have a replica launcher on my AK74 and it's not light by any means!) the smoke and flash bangs seem the most logical to keep as needed for close quarters and a pull/push twist top activation system seems the most logical and safety conscious solution I'd have thought.
    pukingdog: What I like about your build threads, is that they start out like chaotic car wreck footage, which morphs into great figures. Your style is fearless.

  8. #8
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    I can't speak to the way the grenades were in Nam, but there is no reason to tape a modern grenade spoon. Modern grenades have the safety clip as shown in the illustrations and the pins are bent 90 deg along the side of the fuse you need a pretty firm pull to get the pin out.

  9. #9
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    I think there will always be a need for hand grenades because sometimes the engagement range is just too short for launched grenades. Also, they are very necessary for clearing bunkers, spider holes and rooms in buildings. As for taping them or not, I think the issue comes over time with multiple handlers turning them in after a mission and then them subsequently being reissued to someone else for later missions. Something not mentioned is that in some situations, soldiers will actually straighten the pins on grenades to make it quicker and easier to arm them. If the guy that had the grenade before you did that and then bent the pin back into position before turning it in, it could weaken the pin (over time if done more than once) and leave you carrying something that could potentially kill you if the pin snagged on something. Rather than tape grenades, I wonder if a strap with Velcro on the ends could be used? I'm talking about something similar to what is sometimes seen attached to some computer cables or electrical cords to allow excess length to be coiled up and held securely. The strap could be 8-10" long with a sewn piece (like a belt loop) that slips over the bottom of the spoon and then would be slid up to the middle of the grenade and the strap would be wrapped around the body of the grenade and affixed in place with Velcro closures. Of course for stealth missions, you would want to remove the safety strap. Also, the military obviously believes that grenades pose some danger of accidentally being armed during transit or storage (even when brand new) because they are shipped and stored (or were in the 80s) in individual heavy duty cardboard cannisters (that prevent the spoon from being released) inside a grenade ammo crate. Also, lets not forget (and we used to joke about this in the army) that these things (and other weapons) are often manufactured and assembled by the lowest bidder. Who knows when a worker might have a bad day and mess something up that could get the end user killed or injured? Below are images of the canisters and crate used to store the grenades.

    Sgt. Markoff: "Keep shooting, you scum! You'll get a chance yet to die with your boots on!"

  10. #10
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    Why not just make a recessed tab that lies flat on the top of the grenade like a soda can?
    "Impossible is just a stage." Chris Hadfield

  11. #11
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    Hand grenades are still quite useful. Launched grenades such as the 40mm used by the U.S., have to travel a certain distance before they can detonate. This is fine in some scenarios but when your clearing rooms it's not an option. In the 10yrs I've been in the Army I have seen very few flashbangs. In Iraq only the squadleaders has them and they only had 2. As to the taping issue I never carried grenades since I'm a medic but none of my guys taped theirs. They just put them in grenade pouches.

  12. #12
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    Re: Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....

    In my service in "early" VN, (65-66) we had no safety clips. Personally, I used electrical tape around the spoon. I was not concerned about being able to throw the grenade quickly, I was more concerned about the spoon coming off with me not knowing. Pocket knives were plentiful my the local markets to cut any tape. My personal guns were my first defense. In my service after basic, Advanced Infantry, I saw the end result of a training incident at Ft. Dix where a trainee, in getting ready to throw, on a grenade range, the recruit let up on the spoon just enough to start the fuse. He killed himself and an instructor. You remember stuff like that...... tape for me, every time..
    "I just ride 'em, I don't know what makes 'em work" - Oddball to Big Joe

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Taping hand grenades - maybe yes, maybe no....
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