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Infantry Hand Grenade [ 1942 ]

The World War 2-era RG-42 hand grenade was manufactured as a simpler, cheaper alternative to the pre-war RGD-33 series.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/29/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The RG-42 infantry hand grenade was a hastily developed anti-infantry weapon brought along by Soviet industry during the thick of the fighting of World War 2 (1939-1945). It was developed specifically to succeed the complex and expensive RGD-33 series detailed elsewhere on this site. The RGD-33, developed in the pre-war years of the 1930s, did not lend itself well to war time production practices and budgets and - with the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June of 1941 taking over swathes of Soviet territory (including directly threatening Soviet industry) - a more economical measure was in order.

Unlike previous "stick" grenade designs of the Soviet Army, the RG-42 was turned to a handier canister form. The firing pin was activated by a simple finger loop which worked the primer, delay charge and detonator. The main charged encapsulated the workings and all this was shrouded over by the fragmentation liner and body of the grenade itself - intended to cause as much harm as possible to recipients of the grenade. The result was a lighter-weight and more compact anti-infantry weapon which went on to see considerable service in the fighting that followed. Like other Soviet-originated hand grenades, the RG-42 had a TNT filling which degraded over considerable periods of time - giving them a limited shelf-life.

Design of the new grenade was attributed to S.G. Korshunov and proved a Godsend to Red Army and allied forces attempting to push the Axis powers back to Berlin.

The RG-42 saw consistent frontline service with Soviet forces until its replacement, the egg-shaped RGD-5, was secured in 1954. Despite this, the sheer number of available RG-42 grenades ensured it would maintain a healthy service life with or without the direct support of the Soviet Army. As such, it was used by the North Korean Army in the Korean War (1950-1953) and was copied outright by Chinese industry as the "Type 42" for local use. Warsaw Pact players Poland and Ukraine both relied on the grenade as well and were, rather amazingly, actively using them into the 2010s.

Production of RG-42 grenades spanned from 1942 until about 1954.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Soviet Union national flag graphic
Soviet Union


Infantry Hand Grenade

State Factories - Soviet Union
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of China National flag of North Korea National flag of Poland National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Ukraine China (Type 42); North Korea; Poland; Soviet Union; Ukraine
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Fire Support
Capable of suppressing enemy elements at range through direct or in-direct fire.

Overall Length
121 mm
4.76 in
Barrel Length
121 mm
4.76 in
Empty Wgt
0.93 lb
0.42 kg

Not Applicable.


Time-Delay Fuze; Safety Pin Actuated.

Fuse Detonation
Design relies on timed / fuse detonation.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


Not Applicable.

Rounds / Feed

Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.

RG-42 - Base Series Designation.
Type 42 - Local Chinese industry copy of the RG-42.

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