Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Originally patented by golf club designer William Mills in 1915, the Mills bomb was a defensive grenade adopted by the British Army as the standard hand grenade in 1915 as the No. 5.
The Mills bomb underwent numerous modifications. The No. 23 was a variant of the No. 5 with a rodded base plug which allowed it to be fired from a rifle. This concept for further evolved with the No. 36, a variant with a detachable base plate to allow for use with a rifle dicharger cup. The final variation of the Mills bomb was the No. 36M, which was specially designed and waterproofed with shellac for use in the hot climate of Mesopotamia in 1917. By 1918 the No. 5 and No. 23 were declared obsolete and the No. 36 followed in 1932.
The Mills is a classic design. A grooved cast iron 'pineapple' with a central striker held by a close hand lever and secured with a pin. The Mills is a defensive grenade, a competent thrower could manage 30 m with reasonable accuracy but the grenade can throw lethal fragments further than this so after throwing the user had to take cover immediately. It can be fitted with a flat base and fired with a blank cartridge from a rifle with a 'cup' attachment up to around 150 m.
At first the grenade was fitted with a seven second fuse to cater for both hand and rifle launch, but during combat in the Battle of France in 1940, this delay proved too long and was therefore reduced to four seconds.
The No. 36M remained the standard grenade of the British Armed Forces until the introduction of the L2 series in the 1970s.
According to Mills' notes, the casing was grooved to make it easier to grip and not as an aid to fragmentation.
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