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British Mills No.23 Mk.I-II

The "Mills Bomb" No.23 was a rifle grenade adaptation of its predecessor the No.5 hand grenade.

Soon after the introduction of the No.5 during WWI, reports from the field indicated a multi-purpose hand or rifle grenade was needed. Using a modified base plug, designed to accept a short rod along with a simple cradle-style cup launcher, a solution was readily achieved.

Unfortunately, the basic flaw in the rod grenade idea is that using it damages the rifle and its barrel. To minimize the stress to the firearm, a short rod was used, but that reduced the effective range.

Then there is the requirement of a cup (in this case a cradle) that needs to be attached to the rifle as well as the need for the bayonet to lock the cradle to the rifle! The only saving feature here is that the sights of the rifle are not obstructed by the launching cradle.

The No.23 Rifle grenade was not in service long. It was soon replaced with the No.36 grenade which used a cup launcher without the need for the rod.

Above, left to right are the No.5 with a typical base plug, the No.23 Mk I with an early threaded plug to accept a rod, and last a No.23 plug with reinforced rod mounting features.


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