I want one-Martini Grenade Launcher

Discussion in 'Muzzleloaders & Black Powder' started by EDELWEISS, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    Sometimes you just know, they made this with you in mind, only thing is they made it a 100 years ago...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Blanch-Chevallier Grenade Discharger

    Designed in 1916 by Arnold Louis Chevallier, a Swiss Small Arms Technician and Herbert John Blanch, of the London gunmakers John Blanch & Sons.

    This intriguing weapon is a shoulder fired grenade launcher based around the receiver of a Henry-Martini rifle, a logical choice if the weapon had gone into production as these rifles were readily available from Army and civilian stocks. It is likely that the weapon was designed for the most part by Chevallier who by 1916, already had numerous small arms patents to his name. While the design was built and probably adapted by Blanch whose background was more practical as a long established gunsmith.

    The grenade was launched by firing a .450/577 blank round, this would have produced a substantial recoil as the grenade left the discharger therefore the Blanch-Chevallier was fitted with a thick rubber but pad and large spring coil to mitigate the recoil. The discharger is fitted with a rear tangent sight mounted on the barrel which, along with the patent, indicates that the Blanch-Chevallier was intended to be fired from the shoulder rather from the kneeling position, as with rifle grenades, braced on the ground.

    It fired a proprietary grenade, smaller than the standard Mills Bomb grenade then used by the British Army, the original patent for the weapon also states that the launcher could be used to fire canister shot. The weapon was not adopted by the British Army and no records attest to it ever being tested by the military, the British Army instead adopted a rifle grenade system which in theory could be attached to any SMLE in the field. A shoulder fired grenade launcher, akin to the later M-79, if practical would have been quite a support weapon especially if the canister shot round had been perfected. The example featured is held at the UK’s National Firearms Centre.
     

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  2. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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  3. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    ASSUMING it worked, the Martini Launcher, would have been a fantastic WW1 weapon--years ahead of anything else. The Enfield/Mills Bomb launcher was a fart in church compared to the Martini design (again assuming it worked). The Martini could be shoulder fired (reportedly), while the Enfield was required to be placed on the ground to brace it and be re-enforced with wire to keep the stock from shattering. Just imagine crossing No Mans Land and jumping into a trench with a haversack of grenades and canister rounds....shouting "Have some of this..."
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016

  4. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Really? Wonder why they didn't use them - I know - after firing the grenade that magazine full of 10 .303 rounds was likely more a comfort than a stubby martini-actioned club.
     
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  5. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    My guess is because it was waaaay ahead of its time. Im sure there was some argument that the 577-450 blank ammo as well as a special grenade, would cause logistic issues. After all logistics wasnt exactly at the high point during WW1. Id also bet it "didnt look right" when on parade next to a MK111 was another issue for commanders. Hell even the US Army had(has) a manual of arms drill for soldiers armed with the M79.

    Yep the Mk111 with its 10 rnd mag and sword bayonet is comforting; but there were several "approved" and "overlooked" trench weapons, including a short sword with a pivoting handguard (so it would lay flat when worn on the belt and open to a guard).

    The problem is the GRENADIER's job hasnt been understood since they took grenades from the Grenadier Guards and its still misunderstood (re the M203 concept). A Grenadier's real job is portable artillery at the lowest level, even below mortars. Making a Grenadier a part time rifleman is like going to a heart surgeon, who sells used cars between transplants. A Squad Leader needs to be able to grab his Grenadier, point to a rat hole and say "See those guys over there? F them!" Making the Grenadier also carry rifle magazines, means hes carrying far LESS grenades and less grenades means less F-ing the enemy and more sending guys into the rat hole after them....
     

  6. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    You might be surprised that I actually have a fairly high level of understanding of the role of a grenade launcher in small unit combat - even its historical role. You and I will have to agree to disagree with regard to those tactics. I want to be able to deliver a decisive firepower advantage - in some cases that might include grenades - other times only rifle and MG fire - obviously terrain and environment driven. The last thing any platoon or squad leader needs is one or more of his troopers picking his nose because he can't reach or appropriately engage a target with his assigned weapon. You would be hard pressed to find a senior officer or non-commissioned officer, old enough to remember it, pining away for the M79.
     

  7. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    Hahahaha Brother friendly disagreement is how we learn each others position.

    Im one of those who DOES miss the M79 (thats how I know about the Manual of Arms for the M79). I was a MP from Carter to Bush #1. Yep there are negatives to it; but I think far worse negatives to having too few grenades when you need them. As an MP I never had a guy picking his nose when we were in a firefight; but I'll freely admit our engagements were different from typical infantry stuff. When I did Personal Security missions (General Officers), having "portable artillery" was comforting especially when we were otherwise armed with handguns and MP5s. Its sorta like the guy who has a shotgun when everybody else has a rifle--no he cant engage across the valley but he sure can keep the back door closed AND hes the guy that goes in the room first.

    I see/saw a lot of guys with a separate (standalone) launcher AND a rifle in Iraq ans A-stan. Perhaps that is a positive compromise???
     

  8. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    We are all products of our experience. (jeez - MPs - no wonder :) ) Give me a sharp kid with a 203 any day. And a supporting mortar platoon that has a clue!

    What did you decide to do on the 12 bore martini slug chucker?
     

  9. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    Hahahaha Mortar platoon whats that? Our company's ONE 50BMG was kept on the cooks deuce.....

    Im going with a smoothbore and screw in choke tubes. Im also fitting rifle type sights.
     
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  10. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    That will be a very cool gun. Love to see pictures when you get it done. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the accuracy.

    Always thought of a fifty in a platoon fight as potentially decisive as a tactical nuke - if you could just figure out how to get it into the engagement. In my most recent professional incarnation, we mounted a fifty and a thousand rounds of ammo on our version of the robotic mule. Cool machine with a hybrid engine - charges batteries. Gunner could deploy it 200 meters away and sight and fire it day night through a Toughbook. Regrettably, the Army was/is broke.
     
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  11. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Edelweiss, I remember seeing .50s mounted on a cook's deuce & 1/2 in my earliest Army days, but had forgotten that part of my military life!!!
     

  12. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    I always pictured the T-Rations boiling away and cooks in white aprons trying to figure how to load the M2 while Hajis overran the position... I begged the CO to assign it to one platoon, or even rotate it through the platoons depending on the mission; but in typical Army fashion, he couldnt get past the idea that it wouldnt look "balanced".... ahhh well
     

  13. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Yes, hunting the Middle East does count, the most dangerous animal of all!
     

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