Mod.39 & Mod.43
Shown here are two M39 Eihandgranate next to the self-contained M43 stick grenade warhead.
The M43 design combined the functionality of the M39 Egg and the Stick Grenade into the same device.
This would eliminate the need for two separate grenade types, which may have been the intent, or the M43 changes may have been just to simplify manufacturing of that grenade.
Both the M39 and M43 were made up to the war's end.
Introduced in 1939 the M39 was a continuation of the idea behind the Mod.1917 Na egg, which was a small grenade, making it easier to carry larger quantities and allowing most personnel to throw it further.
The grenade is oval shaped, roughly 10cm tall by 6cm in diameter, of light sheet metal construction and made in two pieces crimped about the middle. There is a fuze well assembly crimped at the top, sealing the high explosive filler inside.
It is found with dark green (field gray) or tan paint schemes.
There is no internal fragmentation matrix, but in late 1944 there was a separate fragmentation sleeve developed for it, shown here. (Thanks Darryl- GRM for the picture!)
This consists of two different parts, top and bottom. The locking ring is attached to one on a pivot, and is rotated and locked in place under a catch.
A different approach, using two identical half shells, left and right, was used by the Danish on their Mod.23 "egg". (Mod.23 Handgranate 343d)
There are two distinct styles of the M39 grenade body.
The first was a smooth body design. In May 1942 a modification was introduced consisting of an additional metal carry ring secured to the bottom for attaching the grenade to an equipment harness.
There is another minor variation as well, having to do with the fuze well attachment design. Externally, the difference is seen as small change in the height of the fuze well crimp.
There is also documentation describing a grenade body where the halves are screwed together rather than being crimped.
Brennzünder Eifer 1939 "BZE 39 Igniting Fuze"
The fuze consists of a small cylindrical metal tube containing match composition with a friction wire passing through it and a delay pellet at the bottom. The friction wire has a pull lanyard attached and connected to the cap.
The cap is unscrewed and pulled sharply to initiate the delay.
The fuze is made in different delay times, indicated by the color of the cap as follows:
Red = 1 Second
Blue = 4.5 Seconds (Standard configuration)
Yellow = 7.5 Seconds
Gray = 10 Seconds
There are stories of booby traps set by the Germans on the Russian front using modified M39 grenades. Evidently blue caps were substituted for the red ones on the 1-sec. delay fuzes and then installed in grenades, leaving them to be found (and used) by Russian soldiers. The result was early detonation either while still held or before being thrown a safe distance.
The "wings" are used to help screw the fuze into the grenade. They can be found installed up or down and sometimes not at all. Also found is a square nut instead.
Note the cap on the fuze to the left. It is distinctly more rounded and painted a "royal blue" color. This is not just a minor manufacturing difference, but a completely different pull fuze design!
BZE 39 Variant (Thanks Paul & Brad for your input on this!!)
A short comment about the fuze shown at right, as it is a common find.
It is a post war Czech copy of the BZE 39 and I do not believe it was ever used by Germany during WWII on the M39 Eihandgranate.
Note the flat top, which is the principal identifying feature.
Caps can be found painted blue as well.