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WW1 VIVIEN BRESSIERE FRENCH RIFLE GRENADE, 1915
The "Vivien Bressiere" rifle grenade. Placed in a cup-holder attached to the end of the rifle and fired using a ball charge to propel the grenade and initiate the timed fuse, this clever design was imitated by the German rifle grenade of 1917. This particular example is in very good condition and complete with the top lead plug, bottom brass plug and detonator holder.
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- There is no such thing as a "Ball charge".
"Ball" is the term for a standard bullet, which is not tracer, incendiary or armour piercing and "ball" is the ammunition variety universally made available to the infantry.
The elegance of the design of the VB grenade is that any round of live ammunition would fire it. This is as distinct from other rifle-discharged grenade types which required a special form of blank, which would not shoot a bullet into the base of the grenade.
In the case of the VB, the bullet travels right through a brass or bronze bush in the middle of the grenade. With the assistance of a discharger cup, the kinetic energy of the bullet and the residual gases from the fired cartridge propel the grenade from the discharger. At the same time the bullet operates a striker in the brass pillar and initiates a fuse and detonator.
Taken up by the Americans in late WW1 and used by the French into WW2, this was quite a successful grenade. Contriving a discharger which would fit the american rifles proved problematic and there were a number of accidents in american hands.
.......... concordia.victrix, Epsom, Surrey, 14th of November 2017