Type 97 grenade
Type 97 Hand Grenade
A Japanese Type 97 grenade, with the safety fork still in place.
Type Fragmentation hand grenade Place of origin Empire of Japan Service history In service 1937-1945 Used by Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Navy
Wars Second Sino-Japanese War
Soviet-Japanese Border Wars
World War II
Production history Designed 1936 Specifications Weight 0.45 kg (16 oz) Length 98mm (5⅞ in) Filling TNT Filling weight 2.2 ounces (65 grams) Detonation
Pyrotechnic delay 4 to 5 seconds
The Type 97 Hand Grenade (九七式手榴弾 Kyūnana-shiki Teryūdan ) was the standard fragmentation hand grenade of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy SNLF during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. 
History and development
The Type 97 was developed from the earlier Type 91 Grenade which could also be used as a fragmentation hand grenade, but was predominately used as munitions for the Type 10, and Type 89 grenade launchers. For this reason, it had less explosive power and a relatively longer delay time than a dedicated manual hand grenade. To address these issues, the Army Technical Bureau developed a new design in 1937.
The Type 97 had the same principles as most of fragmentation grenades of the period: a grooved 'pineapple-shaped' segmented body which dispersed sharp pieces of shrapnel when it exploded. Operation was accomplished by first screwing down the firing pin, so that it protruded from the base of the striker. Then the safety pin was removed by pulling the cord to which it was attached; the protective cap which covered the striker was removed. A sharp blow against a hard surface, such as a rock or combat helmet would overcome a creep spring and crush a thin brass cap, allowing the pin to hit the primer and initiate the delay sequence before throwing at the target. However, in comparison with Allied hand grenades of the period, the explosive force of the Type 97 was weaker, and the due to lack of an automatic ignition mechanism, the grenade in practice was found to be unreliable and even dangerous to use because of its inaccurate fuse.
Physically, the Type 97 was almost indistinguishable from the Type 91, except that it had no attachment on the base for a propellant canister. Paper labels with ink-stamped fill dates warned of the shorter 4-5 second delay.
- US Department of War (1994 reprint). Handbook on Japanese Military Forces, TM-E 30-480 (1945). Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 0807120138.
- Rottman, Gordon L. (2005). Japanese Infantryman 1937-1945. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1841768189.
- Departments of the Army and the Air Force (1953). Japanese Explosive Ordnance, TM 9-1985-4. ASIN B000H7NCDS.
- Image of a Type 97 grenade
- Details of internal construction
- Taki’s Imperial Japanese Army page
- US Technical Manual E 30-480
NotesJapanese Infantry Weapons of World War II
HistoryFirearms of Japan Swords Bayonets Side Arms Rifles / Carbines Submachine GunsTokyo Arsenal Model 1927 · Type II · Type 100 Light Machine Guns Heavy Machine Guns Grenades Support Weapons Cartridges9mm Japanese · 8×22mm Nambu · 7×20mm Nambu · 6.5×50mm Arisaka · 7.7×58mm Arisaka · 7.7×58mmSR Arisaka Semi-Rimmed
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