Monday, March 5, 2012

When a "grenade" is not a grenade but just as deadly.

What the guy found.
Lonoke man finds grenade in car.
The Lonoke County Sheriff's Office says a man called them saying he just recently bought a car from a local scrap yard. While cleaning out the car he found an item in the wheel well in the trunk inside a plastic cup.
The man says he took the item and placed it under a trash can in his yard. When the Sheriff's Office inspected the item, they say it looks like some type of a grenade with an extremely rusted pin which was still intact.
The Sheriff's Office called the Arkansas State Police bomb squad who took the grenade. The bomb squad says it doesn't appear to be a live grenade. The grenade was turned over to the ATF.
Well, based on my limited experience this looks like a M49A1 Trip Flare, without the mounting bracket:
The M49A1 Trip Flare is an early warning signaling device used to warn of infiltrating troops by illuminating the area surrounding the trip flare.
The M49A1 Trip Flare consists of an illuminant assembly, cover loading assembly and a mounting bracket assembly. The illuminant assembly is an aluminum case containing an ignition increment and three illuminant increments. The waterproof cover loading assembly contains a percussion primer, intermediate charge and a spring-loaded striker.
The Flare is armed by attaching a Trip-Wire to either the trigger or pull-pin. Once the Trip-Wire has been breached, either the trigger tongue or pull pin will release the lever, which in turn permits the firing pin to strike the primer. The primer sets off the intermediate charge, and the intermediate charge ignites the First-Fire composition on the ignition increment of the Flare. The M49A1 Trip Flare will provide a light intensity exceeding 35,000 candle power for approximately one minute.
Unlike hand grenades, the ignition is instantaneous without a delay and they burn hot as hell. I mention them in the Absolved chapter Black and Tans and also discuss them in the praxis post on military pyrotechnics. In order to use them to break contact at night, you have to carry them without the bracket and pull the pin and throw them behind you in one fluid motion while running away -- unless you want your hand burned off. Personally, I would be made more nervous by finding a rusty one of these than I would a live frag.


Anonymous said...

Yep, definitely nervous-making. Was on a training area in about ’89, and we had been told repeatedly not to mess with anything we found, as the area had been used alternately as a training and impact area since ’42. There’s always one in every crowd, and some moke picked one of these up off the ground, pin out with the trip mechanism rusted up, and put it in a thigh pocket. He finally mentions picking it up within earshot of the Smaj, who demanded to see it. The thing went off just as the idiot cleared his pocket with it and the thing let off a hella scary metallic burn right between the moke and the Smaj. Pucker! No one was hurt, we never figured out how.

bondmen said...


It just occurred to me after reading your analysis of this found object that you'd be an excellent asset to the BATFE as an experienced, hands on field agent; offices are so boring and only deadly bad ideas seem to come from meetings there. DOJ could silence you with a high paying job, real responsibility and authority! Maybe Eric Holder and crew haven't yet thought of this. It figures!

We all wish you well on Wednesday with a quick and full recovery. I'll be praying for you, your doctors and your wife.

CowboyDan said...

I am real leery of those, also.

They light fast, burn hard and hot, and I don't think you can put them out. The minute or so that you say they burn for is a LONG minute.