No. 82 Grenade (Gammon Bomb)
The No. 82 Gammon Bomb hand grenade was used by the forces of the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States during World War 2.
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The hand grenade was used throughout World War 1 (1914-1918) in various forms and some models managed an extended service life in World War 2 (1939-1945) decades later. Beside the World War 1-era models that remained in circulation into the 1930s came about several all-new designs - some with more specialized battlefield roles as was the case with the British "Gammon Bomb". The weapon was formally designated as the "No.82 Grenade" and the main model in use was the "No.82 Mk I". It saw service in the thousands from its introduction in May of 1943 through to the end of the war in 1945 under the banners of Britain, Canada, and the United States where the weapon was typically issued to special forces infantry.
Design of the Gammon Bomb came from Captain R.S. Gammon who served with the British Army 1st Parachute Regiment, an Army component established in 1941 for the purposes of airborne infantry para-dropping from transport aircraft, often times behind enemy-held lines. To this point, the service was issued the "Grenade, Hand, Anti-Tank No.74" grenade (nicknamed the "Sticky Bomb") but these weapons could prove themselves quite lethal to operators and were more unstable than the average hand grenade. Gammon therefore pursued a new design which ultimately interested the British Army and this new grenade therefore came to bear his name.
The Gammon Bomb was a rather simplistic and adaptable hand grenade for a variety of battlefield uses. The grenade incorporated a hard, twisting cap at its top with a flexible "bag" as its main body component. The bag could be filled with explosive content and fragments to suit the battlefield role - anti-infantry, anti-tank, etc... Typical filling was Composition C though its amount was quite variable depending on the requirement. Once readied, the grenade could be thrown towards a target area in the usual way.
Like some other hand grenades of the war, the Gammon Bomb was impact detonated and not based on a time-delayed fuze action. As such, the operator needed to take some care in its operation lest he fall to the ensuing blast from improper handling. The cap seated at the head of the grenade was unscrewed and removed which exposed a section of tape (weighed at one end by a lead ball) wrapped around the fuze. The operator had to ensure that this length of tape did not unwind itself until the grenade was thrown freely away from the user. In flight, the tape came undone from its mounting and this removed a retaining pin in the process. The action produced an arming process involving a striker and percussion cap allowing the grenade to be detonated upon impact - sending its explosive forces and contents about a wide radius.
Gammon Bombs proved quite effective in the field of battle and were used wherever their explosive power would be needed. Operators certainly appreciated the customizability in the explosive nature of the weapon and could "build a bomb" to suit a particular mission target. Despite its viability in the field, the weapon remained a crude development at its core that only saw widespread use during the Second World War. It was retired soon after the conflict from the inventories of the listed participants by the 1950s.