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Lancer44
06-13-2006, 09:31 PM
This is Wikipedia definition of "Ersatz":

"The term ersatz probably gained international attention during World War I, when allied fleets cut off all sea transports to Germany, forcing Germany to develop substitues for products like chemical compounds and provisions. Ersatz products developed during this time included: synthetic rubber (buna produced from oil), benzene for heating oil (coal gas) and coffee, using roasted beans, which were not coffee beans. Though a similar situation arose in Germany during World War II, this connotation with the term ersatz has sunk into oblivion in present Germany."

Some of German "esatzes" filtered through to post-war life and you can buy them even today - like coffee from grains, chickory and beans and artificial honey known as "Golden Syrup".

I tried to find typical miltary ersatzes - we already talked about Holzgas powered cars and military vehicles,
Do you know more?
Below beautiful sample of military ersatz in article from US Military Intelligence Magazine. (Thanks to Long Sentry site).
I would like to encourage you to search for more samples of German ingenuity.
Find some ersatz and show us!


CONCRETE STICK HAND GRENADE

Large quantities of German concrete stick, or "potato masher", grenades have been recovered in various areas of the European Theater. Although it formerly had been supposed that such grenades were local improvisations, evidence now suggests that their design has been accorded official recognition. Two types have been found.
Type 1 consists of a wooden handle, rectangular in cross-section, with a 3/8-inch-square groove running the length of the handle. A length of cord, attached to a pull fuze, operates through this groove. Often the other end of the cord is tied to a small piece of wood, which serves as a pull knob. This is wired to the end of the handle with soft, easily broken shear wire.
The forward end of the wooden handle is slotted to form two prongs similar to those of a tuning fork. Iron wire is wrapped around these prongs, partly to strengthen the concrete, but chiefly to secure the concrete head to the handle. The head has a hollow core to accommodate a standard stick TNT demolition charge 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Two metal inserts above the wooden prongs reinforce the cavity, and permit the inser*tion of the standard stick charge.
At the base of the concrete head is a small square of translucent waterproof paper over a cardboard square of equal size. There is a hole 3/4-inch in diameter in the center of the card-board, to admit the igniter to the bursting charge. This hole is aligned with the square groove in the handle.
http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/808/concretegrenadepic15bi.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
German concrete stick hand grenade, Type 1, with stick TNT inserted in the cavity.
http://img91.imageshack.us/img91/5417/concretegrenadepic28zg.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
German concrete stick hand grenade, Type 2, with stick TNT embedded in the concrete.

Type 2 resembles Type 1, but is much simpler. Instead of a hollow in the head of the wooden handle to hold the stick charge, a semicircular cavity is milled into the wood, the explosive charge is placed in this cavity, and the whole assembly then is centered in the concrete mold. It will be noted that in the case of Type 2 the charge is actually molded into the concrete, and projects about 3/8 inch on the end toward the handle.
In both types the explosive charge is the stick TNT demolition charge, Bohrpatrone 28, containing about 3 1/2 ounces of explosive and coated with waxed paper. The stick is 4 inches long, slightly more than an inch in diameter, and has a threaded aluminum insert cast into the explosive to accommodate standard German detonators. The usual detonator well is cast into the stick, and the cavity is sealed with a red sticker, which denotes the presence of TNT. The standard B.Z. 24 friction pull fuze, having a delay element of 4 to 5 seconds, is used.

Lancer44

Trooper
06-14-2006, 04:17 AM
What would be the purpose of these, training grenades?

Or just a way to cheapen production? It is hard to imagine they would be of much use in the field.

Lancer44
06-14-2006, 05:13 AM
I think that they used them from early 1944. I remember that my father had a visit of his friends back in Poland in 1979. One of them was living in UK another one in Tasmania. They had a couple of scotches and started to talk about events in Italian campaign on the Gothic Line.
I remember that they several times mentioned german grenades exploding very close to them - 2 metres. I could not believe because I already had my national service behind me and I had seen one accident with live handgrenade
- bloke was loaded to the body bag like blooded piece of meat...

I questioned, they insisted that German "potato mashers" could only make them deaf for a day or so, the rest was just like a spray of small stones from behind a speeding car.
Long time after this I read memoir of Warsaw Uprising soldier, the same thing, "potato masher" exploded in a small cellar, five man there, only one wounded, pretty small, artificial wound.
I could not believe...

I think this is an explanation. I'm happy that I could find it yesterday.
I always had doubts and in some moments I thought that my Dad was a liar.
Now I have this sorted out.

Lancer44

Stahler
06-16-2006, 05:59 AM
Hallo Lancer,

there is also also other Ersatzhandgranaten.(Volkshandgranaten). These werde made for the Volkssturm. They consisted of laminated cardboard and filled with rubble from the ruins. The detonator was then inserted on the top. The whole think looked like a can made from cardboard with the ring poped out from the top.


Greetings Stahler

arhob1
06-24-2006, 01:55 PM
Lancer44 wrote:

"I questioned, they insisted that German "potato mashers" could only make them deaf for a day or so, the rest was just like a spray of small stones from behind a speeding car."

I always wondered how effective the German potato mashers were as the metal part had a smooth surface unlike the British Mills Bomb or fragmentation grenade which had a surface like a chocolate bar - see below.

I assumed that the German stick grenades were more about blast (to stun) with a few large pieces of metal flying off, whereas the British Mills bombs were designed to send out several uniformly sized metal fragments and were therefore - in my view - more effective. I would imagine (but do not know) that the Mills bomb was much more effective at any range than the stick grenade.

The potato mashers also seemed to be more cumbersome and expensive to manufacture than the Mills bomb. The stick grenade definitely would have been more use in the kitchen though.

PS - I have tried to attach pictures here but the size limit is a tiny 37KB. Even after resizing and uploading I have no idea where the pictures have gone to (they uploaded ok!). Also the tags like quote, image etc that I was failiar with have all disappeared. Is there an idiots guide somewhere how to use this new style forum? Lancer44 seems to be able to display images so it must be me. Thanks.

Dani
06-24-2006, 04:44 PM
PS - I have tried to attach pictures here but the size limit is a tiny 37KB. Even after resizing and uploading I have no idea where the pictures have gone to (they uploaded ok!). Also the tags like quote, image etc that I was failiar with have all disappeared.

Simply: use the old tags: [img*]picture[/img*] (obviously without *)
and [quote*] quotation[/quote*] (obviously without *)