The Italian Army of World War 2 utilized three primary hand grenade series all under the designation of "Model 1935" - the types produced by SRCM, OTO and Breda. Each was further developed into three distinct forms covering live-action High-Explosive (HE), live-action small charge and an inert variant used for training. HE marks had their bodies coated in an all-red finish while small charge versions were given a red band to signify their difference. Training grenades were finished in all-black. Smoke versions of all three grenade types existed as well. The red-coated HE grenades were known to British forces as "Red Devils".
In 1935, the Italian Army adopted the Societa Romana Construczioni Meccaniche (SRCM) Bomba a Mano ("Hand Bomb") fragmentation hand grenade Model of 1935 for standard issue to infantry. The type weighed 200 grams with a 40 gram internal filling and an overall length of 79mm. Diameter of each grenade was 63.5mm. The Model 1935 was designed around a sheet metal casing shrouding an internal aluminum cylinder, the outer casing fabricated as two halves and then joined together at a seam via screws. Internally, the Model 1935 sported a typical TNT filling. A safety cap was set atop the grenade and covered a portion of the side as well. In action, the infantryman pulled a rubber tab and threw the grenade against the desired target area. During flight, a safety catch fell away from the grenade body and removed a safety bar which freed an internal shutter designed to recognize a "throw" impact from an accidental drop. At impact, the striker fired upon the detonator which led to the required explosion, metal shreds being sent about a blast radius of approximately 12 meters.
Such grenades proved useful in engaging embedded enemy infantry, particularly those holed up in fortifications such as pillboxes or homes/buildings or those elements taking cover in foxholes or at machine gun nests. The SRCM became the more reliable of the three Italian hand grenades featured in the war despite their being more complicated to use and produce and their inherently smaller blast radii. It proved serviceable enough to be used by the German Army under the designation of "Handgranate 328(i)" ("i" signifying their Italian origin). An improved form of the Italian Model 35 was realized in 1938 as the "Model 1938".
The SRCM Model 1935 was used throughout the North Africa campaign with Italian forces, primarily against British and Commonwealth elements. Production of type ranged through to the Italian surrender of September 1943 and the end of the war in May of 1945. It continued production in the post-war years for the Italian service thereafter.
Manufacturing Societa Romana Construczioni Meccaniche (SRCM) - Italy
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