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German Handgranate 343 d - Danish Mod 1923

M39 & M42

Background & History

The Danish M.1923 grenade is one of the more "mysterious" types encountered by collectors (at least in the U.S. anyway). It seems everyone has a different opinion about what it is exactly. I've seen it described as Swedish, Japanese and almost everything in between.

This grenade was developed by the Danish and produced in Denmark, designated the Haandbombe Model 1923.

After the German occupation in April of 1940, ordnance plants continued production using the German nomenclature: “Handgranate 342d" (Offensive) and Handgranate 343d" (Defensive).The Dansih continued producing the grenade well after the end of the war.

The most commonly encountered types (by collectors) are shown above. Both are practice versions.
Two color schemes are found: Yellow; and Grey with a Black Band.
Yellow versions are less common than the Grey/Black style. Dated Yellow examples observed are from 1940 to 1945. It is not clear why these dual color patterns exisit for the practice grenade.
The Danish used yellow to denote their practice grenades (1916 to 1923). With the Germans in control of production from 1940-45, one might think they would have specified red paint, since that was their standard color for practice grenades. The Grey/Black pattern may or may not have been used at the same time as the Yellow.
Historical info on this is not clear.
The M.1923 practice grenade was still in production as late as 1956, using the Grey/Black color pattern.
Markings vary from: "23"; "K" inside a 12 pointed star; "AK/B 194x" (194x being the date); and "AMA" (AmMunitions Arsenalet).

M23 Cutaway Construction & Function
The body is sheet steel with a brass percussion delay fuze assembly and a safety wire. The top plunger is the striker mechanism, the bottom cap provides access to the detonator (or practice charge), and there is a fuze interrupter safety in the side which departs from the grenade after it is thrown, arming the grenade.

Shown here: Offensive grenade (left) and Defensive type (right). (Thanks Francesco, Paul & Colin)

The defensive model is created by the addition of a fragmentation sleeve, consisting of two identical cast iron half shells attached to the offensive grenade and secured with wire wrapped around the top and bottom .

Service grenades are painted either all Grey or Grey with a Yellow band.
"A" - Fragmentation Sleeve (2x)
"B" - Wire Clamp (2x)
Fragmentation Sleeve
The practice grenade is made using thick-wall steel, to simulate live weight and make it more robust for repeated use.

The most obvious way to identify the practice from the service type (other than the color scheme) is the presence of two 2.5mm holes drilled in the body - one found just below the safety interrupter, the other is located on the top cone on the opposite side ("A").

The base end cap has a 6mm exhaust hole for the practice charge, which was inserted in the space that would have held the detonator in a service grenade. ("B").

After use, the grenade had to be returned to the factory for a new fuze. A string of indented dots, may be found below the safety interrupter... each indicating a re-load cycle by the factory. The example at right was reloaded four times ("C").
M.1923 Details

Many thanks to Anders Thygesen for providing updated information for this grenade!
He authored an excellent four page article worth adding to your library:
"Hand Grenade M.1923" published in the ARMOURER militaria magazine, ISSUE 91 Jan/Feb 2009
The original article is reposted here, by Smallarms Review