Grenades in the 16th century

May 2019
53
Earth
#1
I have seen a few references to grenades in 16th century warfare. For example, page 68 of the book 'Malta 1565: Last Battle of the Crusades' by Tim Pickles mentions that Grand Master La Valette of the Order of Malta was wounded in the leg by a grenade during this campaign. Page 33 of the book 'Dutch Armies of the 80 Years War (2)' by Bouko de Groot says that grenades were used at the siege of Steenwijk in 1592.

I'd like to learn a bit about the designs and variations of grenades during the 16th century. Bouko de Groot's book mentions 5lb brass spheres filled with gunpowder and fitted with fuses. What about other types of grenades, or indeed other hand-thrown explosives during this period (e.g. incendiary bombs, stink-pots, smoke bombs, etc.)?
 
Jan 2017
4,323
Sydney
#3
grenades were used , there even was special troops called grenadiers
the flaming grenade was and is a common patch on military symbols

flaming grenade symbol - Google Search

it fell into disuse since it was as dangerous to the user as the recipient and of uncertain effect

grenades were re-invented during the Russo /Japanese war of 1905 since there was some amount of trench warfare
explosive would be thrown at the enemy , the handles were quite long in the first models

WW1 and more trench warfare , the new ( old ) device catched on , one could throw a bunch while keeping low
it became a major way of keeping the other side at bay or clearing a set of trench , underground shelters , machine gun nest
they also were used for night time raid on forward position
the German stormtroopers would leave their rifle behind but carry a pistol and a couple of haversack full of them

modern tactics use them at the assault distance , either to attack or to defend
 
Mar 2014
6,557
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
#4
What about other types of grenades, or indeed other hand-thrown explosives during this period (e.g. incendiary bombs, stink-pots, smoke bombs, etc.)?
At Malta in 1565 flaming hoops were used in abundance. These were lightweight hoops as tall as a man, covered with combustibles. They could be thrown or rolled down onto attackers. When used against troops who had light, flowing garments, they were devastating.
 
May 2019
53
Earth
#5
Difficult subject. I researched it some time ago and I didn't find anything more than passing references. I would like to know if someone has some references.
Likewise. It's been much easier for me to find sources on grenades in the 18th and 19th centuries than in the 16th. I'd like to find some details on these passing references to hand grenades in the 1500s that I've come across...

grenades were used , there even was special troops called grenadiers
the flaming grenade was and is a common patch on military symbols

flaming grenade symbol - Google Search
I'm aware of grenadiers (as units of big lads who threw hand grenades) in the 17th and 18th centuries. But I wasn't aware they already existed as specialist troops in the 16th century. What sources/historical campaigns in the 1500s have you come across that included grenadier units?

At Malta in 1565 flaming hoops were used in abundance. These were lightweight hoops as tall as a man, covered with combustibles. They could be thrown or rolled down onto attackers. When used against troops who had light, flowing garments, they were devastating.
Ah, I remember coming across those in a book about the siege of Malta (think it was Crowley's 'Empires of the Sea'). Thanks for reminding me.
 
Jan 2017
4,323
Sydney
#6
grenades should strictly be understood to be explosive packaged in a fragmenting vessel manufactured for this purpose

it is very probable that some type of home made throwing bombs were made and used from the earliest days of gunpowder
to have a large batch of them prepared and allocated to be used by some personnel also seems likely
gunpowder was quite pricey and of limited quantity , one wouldn't really want to waste the stuff
that's possibly also one of the reason their use was abandoned , Louis XIV was the first to create Grenadiers units
Louis XIV armies - Google Search:

there must have been quite a lot of misfire , a bit of water would have extinguished the wick
sticking it in the wet mud or any other wetness
the best counter at a grenade being thrown was the old solution of throwing it back
with the result of a grenadier exploding with all his stock in your ranks
since the timing of the fuse was very approximate ,a short fuse had to be avoided , this made a return throw a clear possibility
 
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