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Mills Bomb - No.36?

Article about: Hi Guys, I have recently obtained this Mills Bomb - but know very little about them. I have viewed a couple of websites that were recommended here on the forum, but still have some questions

  1. #1

    Default Mills Bomb - No.36?

    Hi Guys,

    I have recently obtained this Mills Bomb - but know very little about them. I have viewed a couple of websites that were recommended here on the forum, but still have some questions.

    1) Is this a WW1 or WW2 version?
    2) What is the significance of the Red horizontal band and the Green and Red 'X' crosses.
    3) It is supposed to be inert - but how can one tell?

    Any information would be very much appreciated.

    Here the photo's

    Thanks Neil

    Mills Bomb - No.36? Mills Bomb - No.36?

    Mills Bomb - No.36? Mills Bomb - No.36?

    Mills Bomb - No.36? Mills Bomb - No.36?

    Mills Bomb - No.36? Mills Bomb - No.36?

    Mills Bomb - No.36? Mills Bomb - No.36?

  2. #2

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    It's a WWII No.36M, as indicated by the remains of waterproofing shellac coating the outside. This was to circumvent problems with water ingress that earlier models of grenade suffered from.

    The detonator is the piece that fills the two holes in the base, under the base plug. The larger hole houses the striker, and the smaller one the fuse. I've never seen an inert Mills bomb with its fuse in place, so I'm not sure what to look for. If you can remove the detonator to examine it, it can be considered safe if the fuse tube is hollow. You could also unscrew the filler plug (the large screw on the outside, marked with the broad arrow) to make sure the grenade is empty.

    Here's one of mine. Repainted, but of the same model. Like mine, yours has an incorrect replacement pin. The rings on original pins were a solid piece of metal, not the keyring type as seen on both yours and mine. A large cache of these appear to have recently surfaced from somewhere, as they have suddenly cropped up in the inventories of many militaria dealers.

    Mills Bomb - No.36?Mills Bomb - No.36?Mills Bomb - No.36?

    Regards, B.B.
    ''Everyday you think of living. We are born to die, but I appreciate life. We live day by day, and I always say: yesterday is history, today's reality, and tomorrow's a dream.' -- Henry Flescher, Holocaust Survivor -- March 14, 1924 - August 29, 2018

  3. #3
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    No.36 Here is a good link

    As according to the link
    “Red crosses on the body indicate that it has a filling suitable for tropical use (humidity) and the coloured band over the middle tells what filling was used.”

  4. #4

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    The green band indicated a filling of Amatol in WWI grenades, and a filling of either Baratol or Trotyl in the grenades used up until the 1970's.

    B.B.
    ''Everyday you think of living. We are born to die, but I appreciate life. We live day by day, and I always say: yesterday is history, today's reality, and tomorrow's a dream.' -- Henry Flescher, Holocaust Survivor -- March 14, 1924 - August 29, 2018

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the replies. On my one however, there are two green crosses and one red, This is what I can not find on the link.
    Any ideas?

    @BB - After removing the filler plug, if not empty what would be on the inside? May be obvious, but I really do not know. I'm getting a little nervous.

    Neil

  6. #6

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    I'm not sure about the green crosses. It's possible the markings on yours are newly painted, as they are with mine. On all of the examples I've seen, online and in person, the crosses have all been red. Perhaps the individual who repainted them substituted the red paint for green, or perhaps the green crosses denote something else. I'm not certain.

    The detonator would contain a primer, similar to the ones used in small arms ammunition. This ignites the contents of the tube, which contains a slow burning material. The slow speed at which the material burns is what produces the delayed effect of the grenade's fuse. When it burns through to the end, it ignites the main charge inside the body of the grenade. Typically, the fuse for a Mills grenade was about four seconds.

    A detonator wouldn't be all that dangerous on its own, providing the main body of the grenade is empty, but it's still an explosive, and should be treated carefully if still live. If you're able to remove it, it would help to post photographs of it here. There are other members here who have used Mills grenades during their military service, who would be more familiar with the appearance of a live detonator. I stress that you should be very cautious in doing so. While it isn't likely to blow up in your hand, it isn't something that should be played around with too much.

    Regards, B.B.
    ''Everyday you think of living. We are born to die, but I appreciate life. We live day by day, and I always say: yesterday is history, today's reality, and tomorrow's a dream.' -- Henry Flescher, Holocaust Survivor -- March 14, 1924 - August 29, 2018

  7. #7

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    With regards to the type of rings used on the Mills bombs, I can absolutely assure you Brodie, that the rings on the Mills 36 grenades we used on the ranges in France in 1969 and 1970 were of the keyring type. I kept several of the rings, and used one of them as a keyring for many years until it finally gave up the ghost.

    Cheers,
    Steve
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.... 'A Salford Pal: Pte Thomas Jay.'

  8. #8

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    Quote by HARRY THE MOLE View Post
    With regards to the type of rings used on the Mills bombs, I can absolutely assure you Brodie, that the rings on the Mills 36 grenades we used on the ranges in France in 1969 and 1970 were of the keyring type. I kept several of the rings, and used one of them as a keyring for many years until it finally gave up the ghost.

    Cheers,
    Steve
    I was told in my own Mills bomb thread that they were postwar replacements. It's nice to hear that they are in fact the correct type! Perhaps the solid rings were more common on First World War grenades?

    Regards, B.B.
    ''Everyday you think of living. We are born to die, but I appreciate life. We live day by day, and I always say: yesterday is history, today's reality, and tomorrow's a dream.' -- Henry Flescher, Holocaust Survivor -- March 14, 1924 - August 29, 2018

  9. #9

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    There is no way i am playing with this thing - It came from an auction House and was sold as 'Inert'. Where can one get these things checked out?

  10. #10

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    I've seen relic WW1 grenades with the split rings... and these were fresh out of the ground. As for the Mills 36... the ones we used were 1939 stock, they had a coating of hard wax besides the shellac. Each person was responsible for preparing his own bomb at the range, the plunger had to be removed and the housing checked for any deposits which may have resulted in the plunger sticking when the pin was pulled. Once everything was checked for free movement the fuse was inserted. Its worth bearing in mind though, that the grenades we used were already 30 years old. As an aside, the Stokes mortar round (of WW1) worked exactly on the same principle as the Mills bombs. The round was inserted in the tube, and once the safety lever was held in place by the mortar tube, the pin was pulled and the round released to fall to the bottom of the tube. It primed when it left the barrel and the lever flew off.

    Cheers,
    Steve
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.... 'A Salford Pal: Pte Thomas Jay.'

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