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A History Of ‘Bloop’ From Rifle Grenades, To ‘Thumpers,’ And Underslung Launchers

Infantry platoons bristle with direct-fire weapons, but everyone loves a grenade. Grenades give ground troops the ability to send a big boom of fire and shrapnel over a wall or hedgerow, inside a window, or wherever else you can wing one. The catch, of course, is that a hand grenade’s range tops out at roughly 40 meters, depending on whether the grenade-hurler tried out for the minors before joining the military.

Enter the ubiquitous grenade launcher. Today, that simplest of standoff weapons is often mounted in the turrets of armored vehicles; lugged along by a dog-tired grunt in the form of a man-portable 15-plus pound system; or most of the time, just affixed to the underbarrel of an infantryman’s rifle.

But who cooked up the idea of a gun that burps explosive grenades — and how’d they end up on so many M4s and M16s in the first place?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing like says industrial meets medieval like a ‘nadeapult.

Glad you asked. Turns out grenade launchers have a rich century’s worth of weird history, from the earliest steampunk-looking trench-warfare crossbows and bomb-apults of World War I.

“A New Type of Explosive Grenade That is Fired From a Rifle”

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Just remember to use a bullet-less round, aka a blank, or a grenade with a bullet-trap….otherwise the “boom” be a lot closer than you intended.

The earliest serious incarnations were rifle grenades, which were exactly what they sounded like: special charges meant to be mounted on the business end of your rifle barrel and shot off, at five times the range of their handheld counterparts. A rifle grenade could be fired in a plunging arc overhead, and unlike other indirect fire weapons like mortars or artillery, they could go wherever a rifleman went — anywhere — as this 1914 …read more

Read more here:: Task & Purpose

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