The Cricket Ball grenade
This bad boy seemed like a good idea at the time it was invented, but the lengthy fuze and the fact that it was thrown to some of the most capable hobby bowlers in Thrace gave it an Achilles heel.
The Turkish 1914 model hand grenade, better known to the Australians as a ‘cricket ball’ grenade, was developed by Tufenidjieff, according to an August 1915 translation of a Turkish handbook by the Intelligence section of the Headquarters Unit, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Manufactured by the Kalafat Yeri Foundries at Constantinople, they formed an essential part of the Turkish Army’s capability.
The spherical bodies of these grenades were about 73 mm in circumference and made from cast iron, the body being divided into equal rectangles and dimpled on the insides to assist fragmentation. They were filled with 100 grams of TNT (described in the translation as ‘Bombiet’ by the Turks) and provided with a fuse protected by a copper tube; the fuse – 2 grams of fulminate of mercury – is lit by a friction material, described in the booklet as being similar to that “put outside the safety match boxes”. The fuse is capped on the exterior by a screwed bronze cover provided with a belt hook.
The handbook then describes the method of use: “The man holds his rifle with his left hand and the grenade with his right hand. He uncovers the fuse with his right hand; he rubs the fuse on the match sheet hung on the right or left of his chest, [and] throws it to the desired place. It explodes in 19 seconds as the pieces of the grenade are dispersed in a circular and upward direction, the thrower must find a cover if possible.”
The 19 second timing of this fuse explains the ability of Australians, often noted in accounts such as the battle of Lone Pine, to grab a Turkish grenade and hurl it back.