The No. 16 Oval Grenade was a follow-up to the No. 15 Ball Grenade of 1915. The No. 15 series was developed for service in the Middle East Campaign and intended to shore up the shortcomings of the earlier No. 1 stick grenade line in service with the British Army when it entered the war. However, the No. 15 featured a temperamental fuse, large size, and limited fragmentation. The No. 16 adopted an oval shape which was handier to carry and limited the filling size making it fragment better. However, since it still relied on the same fuse system that the No. 15 series relied upon, the new grenade featured a carry-over shortcoming which led to its disuse along with the No. 15 before war's end in 1918.
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