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Explosives!

Now of course when I say explosives (which I find hard to type without the exclamation mark), I do mean explosives that are either inert, dummy, props, training and all other manner of things that do not explode. So don't get too excited! This section almost didn't exist and there might be a little cross over with items from other pages too, but such is this disorganised and awfully written website (apologies again! How on earth did I ever become and author I hear you all thinking) 

and in no particular order.....

Firstly the smoke grenades that I found it so hard to find. However, now I have two solid metal examples, I now find other far cheaper versions. Not as good, but more than half as cheap!

M16 Smoke

Now, as I said above, I really struggle to find any of these for sale. You can get the 3d printable files on thingyverse website, then you can print your own. Or, now as I just found, you can buy cheap prop M16 US Smokes for £21 at www.relics.org.uk/us-wwii-smoke-grenade 

When you start looking about you'll come across lots of companies that once made them, then sold out and never made more.  The correct colour is that really light grey, so Relics got that spot on for the M16.

Almost all US Grenades during WW2 where shipped around in these small cardboard tubes, conveniently for us. These resemble those crisp snack food 'tubes'. If you can be bothered to paint them and print some labels, you'll have a load of these made quite easily. The photo doesn't show it, but the inside is another card piece that the two ends slide over.

M18 Smoke

Sadly it would seem that very few if any sell the M18 in the ww2 colours. The ones in the photos are fantastic, made by a company called Service of Supply. They no longer seem to sell any. Such a shame, i would have taken one of each! 

I found the company which supplied the parts for these and asked if they could sell me the parts unpainted. Oddly, they said no, they would only sell them to me paint! WTF? Some companies really don't understand how to make money.

How, if you really want some of these M18, you can pick up prop versions, just like the M15 from Relic. You'll have to get your paint set out and paint them grey and make some quick stencils. Incidentally, when I tracked my two solid metal ones down, they were the correct colour, but didn't have any markings at all. So Coraldraw came to play again and within a few mins I had stencils all custom made and printed and cut out.

https://www.relics.org.uk/m18-us-smoke-grenades  £27.42 

Gammon Grenade

The Gammon grenade was a lethal invention, both for the user and the target... possibly more dangerous for the person throwing it! I'm pretty sure from looking at the photo here that it uses the same fuze as the British plastic 69 grenade. However the bag contained the explosive charge. A soft flexible none protective cloth bag with an explosive charge inside.... anyone else see any potential dangers with that!

From what I remember reading about these, they were very unpopular. I'm not sure I have read much about if they were actually a good grenade or not. Only that they were universally disliked and dangerous to use.

From as you can see on the photo, WPG make fair reproductions of these. There website does state that they are out of stock at the moment, priced at £28

Now since writing this on the Airborne kit page, I discovered the Relics also do a copy of the Gammon. In fact, I ordered one right away (along with a German Schu-mine). The neck on the Relics one looks a lot more 'yellow', I have no idea which is more correct or if they came in a variety of shades from yellow to beige! What I did know is that ordering from Relics would be a lot quicker and no issues with shipping, customs and import tax! Relics s the tiniest but cheaper at £25 https://www.relics.org.uk/gammon-grenade-no-82

Hawkins Mine No.75 'Grenade'

You'll see a lot of troopers in the Normandy invasion with these strapped to boots. Although if someone had handed me what looks like a can of paint thinners and told me it was a mine to blow a tank track off... I sure as hell, wouldn't then strap it to my boot! Considering you'll be falling from the sky and the first thing to bang into the earth is..... YES! Your feet! 

However, despite the insanity involved in these, they are easy to get hold of and also fairly easy to make really cheap looking versions your self. Although at close inspection, don't expect them to hold much muster. The easiest of course is soldier of fortune. Who are like Argos for those new to the reenacting world. Its a one stop shop of an overall OK..ish quality. However, they're Hawkins mine is fairly decent and at around £38, its not an impulse buy. However, you know that its always there if you need to fall back on it.

Relics Hawkins mine is very different to the SOF one, from markings to construction. Now, SOF do state "This metal reproduction of the MKII No75 mine is the correct size and design of the original war time ones", however... they have also made bright orange WW2 US webbing and tried to convince me at a show that it was the colour that webbing would have been when first issued... and when I say orange, I do mean orange! So I am instantly more drawn to the Relics one, despite it being even more money at £47. It looks like its not just a can of paint thinners with some other bits added on and some stamping done into the body.

Relics state on their website that "this is our new superior model. The original Relics copies are no longer available". I wonder what the difference was, or if people preferred them over these new superior versions.

https://www.sofmilitary.co.uk/no75-hawkins-mine-anti-tank-grenade-mkii.html
https://www.relics.org.uk/hawkins-mine-no75-british-worldwar2

I thought I would have a quick look and see if I could see where SOF might get theres from  as I know they like to sell WPG stuff from time to time. Like the Brass TL-122A flashlights which are always marked up WPG on the bottom. Indeed on WPG's website, they also list a Hawins, priced at £29.98... of course you'll be paying shipping and possible important tax. Although when I purchased my US Walkie Talkie through them, I paid no import tax at all. So its a gamble! The two Hawkins look identical by the way... except the price tag!

https://onlinemilitaria.net/products/647-US-Hawkins-Mines/

M2A3 American Anti Personnel Mine

I was looking through FM 5-31 that goes into a lot of detail on mines, grenades and explosive traps and in it I saw the M2A3 American Anti Personnel Mine. I thought, that's unusual and that I wanted one to be able to display it at events. Next thing I knew I was looking for all sorts of different munitions that features in that field manual. Its available online by the way. There is a link in the Field Manual section, its worth a look.

I then started trying to find a German wooden Schu-Mine to purchase and as well as stumbling across he M16 Smoke grenade, I came across this M2A3 American Anti Personnel Mine on Relics website. I didn't purchase ones yet, but I'm pretty sure I will, Where they hell else will I find one?

The mine consists of a base which receives on the one hand a cylindrical body containing a 60mm mortar shell (originally an M49A2) and on the other hand a tube serving as a support for the igniter (pressure, traction). When the igniter is pressed, it ignites the charge of propulsion of the shell. The shell is ejected from the mine at a height of approximately 2m, a delay rocket then triggers the explosion of the shell which projects these debris over a radius of ten meters. 

I can't imagine that anyone else makes this in reproduction form, so its all down to Relics again. Although it will set you back £62.40, but where the hell else are you going to get one!

https://www.relics.org.uk/m2-a3-american-mine-worldwar2-ap-replica

For further reading on these, have a look at https://www.ouest-collection.com/content/21-us-ww2-les-mines-anti-personnel-M2

M1 AMERICAN ANTI TANK MINE

The M1 Anti-Tank Mine was used primarily in the early stages of WWII. They are visibly very different to the German Tellermines, with a large pressure spider at the top of the mine as opposed to a large plated disc. When a large amount of downward pressure came onto the spider, it would use a striker to ‘strike’ the detonator centre of the mine which would then set off the explosion. The threshold for the mine was set around 226 kilograms; high enough to let people get away with accidently stepping on it, but low enough to ensure it could be triggered by tanks and armoured vehicles. They would typically have been hidden amongst the dirt or a small layer of foliage to keep them concealed and hidden from enemy tank crews.

Now quite a few companies seem to make these! Including Relic, SOF and Epic Militaria. Well, relics are priced at just short of £100 and to be honest, don't look great from the photo. Even the SOF one (this almost hurts me to say it) looks better. However, I discovered on Epics website, not only this Anti Tank mine but also a coupe of other items that I wanted to buy and the prices!!! WOOOOO whats going on, cheeeeeeeeeeeeeap! 5 button woolen sweater from the late 40s 50s £15! Must remember to add that to the clothing section on here... although if I forget, its here. A German stick grenade, but not just that solid bits of wood I see for sale everywhere, the top unscrew revealing the brass det, the bottom cap unscrews revealing the 'polo', albeit a really ugly one and for £15 too! Bargain!

Relics M1A1 Anti Tank Mine £100
SOF's M1A1 Anti Tank Mine £32
EPICS's M1A1 Anti Tank Mine £32

Now although Epics doesn't have the writing on it, that's no big deal. As well as the other bargains I got in the same order, the shipping is cheaper much cheaper than what SOF charge! So another win.

TNT Blocks - 1/2 pound / 1 pound

These small blocks of TNT original came out of a huge crate, split up between thousands of men and could be used when needed once dropped. The same principle with so much other kit.

Of course SOF do a version of each, these used to just be blocks of wood with a paper label around them. At one point everyone had them like that, either purchased or made themselves. It doesn't look great as the ends are not flat or textured like wood. SOF even go as far to make sure you know that these are "These are quality metal replicas and are not simple blocks of wood." The 1/2 pound blocks are what is usually seen carried and they price these are £10 each. The fonts are not quite perfect, but for what we need, its good enough. The 1 pound blocks are slightly longer (and heavier) and cost £15.

Sadly I struggled to find many others for sale online, some places just sell the labels, one company even still selling the wooden blocks with labels on them.... for exactly the same price as the SOF ones above.... good luck with that says I. Link below to see what I mean.

https://lomax-militaria.com/en/reenactment/us/equipment/5009/deco-us-army-tnt-1/2-pound-net-block
 

However, this is one of those times that buying original isn't that much more than a reproduction. Well its actually twice as much, but seeing as the reproductions are only £10, to have an original is much more pleasing and will always go up in value, not down as better and better reproductions come out. I recently purchased two original tins in fantastic condition (emptied of course!) from a Dutch dealer called Ben who always has a mountain of ordnance related stock. I did try and get them for £35 the pair... but was shot down by Ben laughing at me. Still had to try though! 

A fantastic colour photo of an engineer 'placing' lots of 1/2 blocks of TNT... or making like dumping lots of 1/2 pound blocks of TNT under a German Tiger Tank. I have no idea the significance of this photo, but if its already knocked out, why do this unless its some sort of trial/test. Seems an odd place to put them to me for any purpose. You can also see the shape of what looks like a roll of friction tape inside his trouser pocket.

so what started this thread... 

Anyone who knows me will know that ordnance is really not my area of interest or collecting, so why would I ever be after a reproduction Schu-Mine? Well its fairly simply, I blame this photo below...

A great training aid for soldiers going to war, the knowledge from physical aids are so much more successful than seeing drawings or schematics. I have decided to lay out something similar to display to the public as well as have some thing to talk about to folks in the unit. Possible training lessons... once I know what the hell these things are and how they work that is!

German Teller (Anti Tank) Mines

Strangely enough I have found and dug up originals, both training and live of several types of German mines! I have in my collection four different German mines, including three German Teller Mines. There are two training types, once that resembles the shape of a Teller, but its nothing more than a glorified bin lid, with a screw thread for dummy zinc fuzes (I found several of these dummy/training Zinc fuzes). The second is a huge lump of case concrete with a dummy British made zinc fuze set in the top. Damn heavy! The third Teller Mine was only purchased recently, an original version that still retains lots of the original paint and markings 'T42' that is perfect for this new life of a display/training aid.

So where to buy Teller Mines from? The one with the markings above was about £75 from Adrian who sells loads of these ranging from £20 upwards. No £20 doesn't get you one like my example. You can't buy the training bin lid type, they just aren't available to buy. The concrete ones can pop up from time to time. If you really want one, contact me, I might be able to help. However shipping this large block of concrete is down to you to!

Reproductions are plentiful. However, usually not that cheap. The SOF M35 version isn't too bad, although there are some things that are not perfect, but it does come with both the top fuze and side fuze, so that's great! Also only £59 the set.
 

Relics do several versions of the Teller Mines, the M35 is a better looking version that SOF's but with that comes with a heft price tag of £100 and is actually made of wood! Not metal and doesn't have the side fuze....  https://www.relics.org.uk/tellamine-35-worldwar2
 

Relics also do the M35S with the ridges in the top that helped keep them hidden in sand, also around the same price and manufacture the same way. So is the M42. 

Interesting to then see that Epic Militaria are SOF supplier of the M35, Epic had these ones made and clearly SOF  must bulk buy them and must be only allowed to retail them at the same price. So if buying one, buy it from Epic, plus the shipping will be cheaper and there are other great items that only they seem to sell. Make sure to check out there really good German Stick Grenade...

https://www.epicmilitaria.com/german-army-anti-tank-m35-tellermine.html

German Spring (Anti Personnel) Mines

There only seem to be one choice for reproduction Springmines. Both are from Relics, a handy supplier for this type of thing, even if there prices seem rather random! Both these Springmines look rather good from the photos, both priced just under £60. 

https://www.relics.org.uk/s-mine-no-35-sprengmine-worldwar2-german-anti-personnel-pattern

https://www.relics.org.uk/s-mine-no-44-sprengmine-worldwar2-german-anti-personnel-pattern
 

I can't see any other suppliers yet, however originals can be found, but these are rather collectable, so you'll be paying a premium. There are of course two version and each of those has different fuzes to them and an assortment of accessories.

German Schu-Minen (Shoe Mine) 

Named after the resemblance to a shoe-box, this rather grisly antipersonnel mine was designed to save metal and not be found by mine detecting tools that are a basic metal detectors. Finding originals of these is certainly not easy, so far beyond the prices that reenactors would pay for such a delicate item to drag round the country and display in the open. 

But good news... although finding this for sale is the thing responsible for my purchases of several grenades and mines over the past few days. I have only seen this for sale on Relics website, 

https://www.relics.org.uk/schu-mine-42-relics-replica

Price at a very reasonable price of £36, they come with a fake block of explosive and the fuze. A bargain really. Of course the wooden box could be made if you can find good measurements and have some woodwork skill, but it'll probably cost more for the wood and components to make the TNT and find a fuze that looks like that. 

German Stick Grenade 

You cannot imagine how many lumps of wood being sold at militaria shows around the UK are called Stick grenades. These vary in price massively from a few pounds up to £20! Remember this is a solid lump of wood that is painted, doesn't unscrew, no metal parts and has no internals. Once I started looking about last night, I remember a stick grenade I had one years ago that had a metal base cap that unscrewed, containing the pull cord and the head unscrewed revealing the brass detonator. Sadly SOF no longer sell these and I have no idea of their original manufacturer, until now... 

Epic Militaria sell these great items that can be taken apart and you can simulate the use of them. I can already hear your brains ticking and asking how much... well they are only £15! Yes... I know... I have to wonder how they are so cheap when you look at some of the prices of other items above.

The also make the later M43 stick grenade versions in grey and the sand colour. These also unscrew at the head. Costing on a couple of pounds more.

There is no point mentioning anyone else stick grenades, they are either a solid lump of painted wood, or priced ridiculously! Even relics only sell the lumps of wood for £18. They used to do a smoke grenade version, but sadly this is out of stock, or I would have been really tempted.