Is there a reason German grenades were primarily stick shaped, while the grenades of most other countries seemed to be somewhat ball or oval shaped?

I’m fairly sure the American grenade was designed to be somewhat like a baseball so any American would know how to throw it, but I was wondering if there was any particular reason the German’s opted for the ‘potato masher’ design.


You could throw a stick grenade a lot further (often said ‘up to 50% further’) and with less effort (usually meaning more accurately) than what a typical egg-shaped model could be thrown. They are also much less likely to bounce off and roll away. Several explosive end parts could also be tied together to a stick grenade to form a sort of improvised satchel charge (Geballte Ladung). So there were positives to them too. On the other hand they had their issues. Stick grenades are much heavier and bulkier items and a soldier could carry less stick grenades than egg-shaped grenades.

That being said it should be realized that different grenades were used for different purposes. Germans for example did have egg-shaped grenades in use as well.


Also Soviets had stick grenades in their arsenal: anti-personnel RGD-33, anti-tank RPG-40 and RPG-43.

One key difference that is rarely discussed between stick- and egg-shaped grenades is their safety pin. In an egg-shaped it is, as many have seen in movies and such, on the top of the grenade and in the open. This is a security risk, as there is a possibility that a tree branch or such can pull the pin. In the stick-shaped grenades the safety pin is inside the bottom and there is a security lid that needs to be unscrewed first. This makes them more safe from accidental detonations but also more time-consuming to deploy.

How stick grenade work


Non-Americans seem to not be able to appreciate that Americans are used to throwing small balls and so egg shaped grenades are relatively easy to adapt to. Grenades are heavy for their size and practice is needed to be good at throwing them . …and as you say, stick grenades are heavier. The bounce is often needed to prevent someone from throwing it back. so until I see some convincing data … I would contend that each nation uses the type best suited to their populations throwing experience. .

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In Finland we also play our variation of baseball and throwing small balls are familiar to us too. So as a non-american I also can see the point of egg-shaped grenades.

Stick grenades are thought to be obsolete after WW2 and I don’t think there are any army today that uses other than egg-shaped or similar grenades.

About throwing back a live grenade. I would think it to be somewhat rare occurrence since most grenades have 4-5 second delay and almost half of that time is already gone when grenade hits its target. That’s why “cooking” a grenade is highly discouraged. It would take a tremendous brass balls to pick up a live grenade with only few seconds time left and throw it away. I don’t deny the possibility of such actions but I find it highly unlikely and rare.

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Ball and ovals are actually the anomaly, most countries use stick grenades and as a reenactor I can comfortably say stick grenades are easier to throw and get a far better distance than ball grenades. The US adopted the MKII hand grenade under the theory that every american has thrown a baseball and therefore would be more comfortable with that pattern. Britain and France also had Egg grenade shapes for their grenades. that said Germany actually did have 2 grenade patterns, the M24 Stielhandgrenate and the M39 egg grenade, while the M24 is the most commonly depicted in media the Germans did in fact also have an Egg grenade pattern, the Soviets did the same thing with having 2 grenade patterns, one being a stick and the other being an egg