On the face of it grenades are very easy to use- you pull the pin out and throw them at the enemy. However it was discovered in the First World War that there was rather more to the matter than this and men needed to practice with dummy grenades of the same shape and weight as a real grenade to enable them to judge the distance and force needed to throw these bombs accurately. The throwing of dummy grenades is also essential in helping new recruits overcome an obvious fear of the weapon and build up their confidence before they try something with real explosives inside.
Up until the cold war soldiers tended to be issued white painted Mills bombs that had been rejected for manufacturing faults on the production line for practicing with. As the outer shell of a Mills bomb was made of cast iron these rejects had a realistic weight and were a cheap solution to the problem. When the British Army replaced the Mills bomb they turned to a US grenade the M26 which was adopted as the L2 grenade. This grenade didn’t have the cast body of the Mills bomb so a weighted drill version was needed and this was made from a solid piece of aluminium, painted blue:All drill ordnance in the British Army is painted blue to make it easily identifiable. This drill grenade is designated an L28A1 and this is stencilled on the grenade body:The grenade is designed to be as realistic as possible and has a striker mechanism and ring to remove the pin:The fuse assembly has the designation L30A2. The top of the striker is also clearly marked as being for drill purposes only, and there is a date of 1977:Unscrewing the striker reveals there is no internal mechanism:The British Army’s website has a blog from a soldier under training who explains about grenade training:
Another good lesson this week was grenade throwing. After learning about them and how to look after, handle and throw we completed our grenade weapon handling test. The best bit was once you were competent and has passed the test we got to throw a grenade with a fuze. Our other study this week was mainly C-IED revision for the test; fingers crossed we all passed ok.
The L2 grenade has now been superseded as has this drill grenade, but examples come up for sale on the collector’s market fairly regularly and make a nice addition to a Cold War collection.