MANUFACTURER(S): OTO - Italy
OPERATORS: Kingdom of Italy
ACTION: Hand Thrown; Fragmentation Action
CALIBER(S)*: Not Applicable.
Detailing the development and operational history of the OTO Hand Grenade Model 1935 Infantry Fragmentation Hand Grenade.
Entry last updated on 12/12/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Italian Army infantry elements of World War 2 relied on three hand grenades of varying effectiveness and designed along the same lines while being produced by three different manufactures: Breda, SRCM and OTO. All utilized a basic TNT filling with cylindrical body and offered via a color-coded format to indicate their usage: Red for live combat grenades, White (with small red band) for practice and Black (or unfinished) for inert instruction. All three were debuted in 1935 under the unassuming "Model 1935" designation and, in practice, none stood out more than the other. Italian Army soldiers were not entirely content with the limited fragmentation effect offered by these grenades and Allied soldiers coming across the type would agree. While most fragmentation grenades then in use packed enough of a punch when clearing out enemy positions and such, Italian hand grenades were limited in their reach that a soldier could throw his Model 1935 at the enemy emplacement and follow after it soon after without much concern of approaching the resulting blast - such was its limited effect. It proved more handy as an offensive assault grenade for shock value than an infantry-clearing device.
The OTO design was known formally as "Bomba a Mano, OTO Modello 1935" signifying its intended role ("Hand Bomb"), manufacturer ("OTO") and year of issuance ("1935") to the Italian Army. Its shape was consistent with the others featuring a cylindrical body containing the TNT filling, fragmentation pellets and detonator. The body sported a flat base for seating and a rounded cap on top housing lead balls to be used for the requisite fragmentation effect. By and large, the OTO Model 1935 was highly similar to the Breda in both form and function save for its pointed black cap (as opposed to the Breda's flat, unfinished cap).
Of all the Italian hand grenades featured in World War 2, the Breda Model 1935 outlasted the rest, seeing service into the 1960s. By that time, a more conventional fragmentation shape was adopted.