Although I have seen grenades thrown, German grenades with long handles like a wooden stick, no one in my Latvian Waffen SS Legion unit have been issued any. As well as stick grenades, the German soldiers have larger round ones but not us.
I saw a stick grenade thrown which did not explode. As my unit do not have any, I waited for a little while before picking it up. I waited a good while in fact before moving forward. I decided to bring it along with me in the hope of repairing it.
Drying out an old gas mask canister, I put the grenade in side to make it easier to carry. I can usually mend most things when I try, so I should be able to mend one grenade.
When I found it, I hadn’t realised what the canister was. I only received one days training with a gas mask but then just like the grenades, masks were not included in my equipment pack. It is a good job I have never needed a gas mask. At a guess, my unit is not the first to be sent out without a full kit.
The German stick grenades are not very good; they do not explode in the same way the allied grenades do. The German ones just go ‘poof’ rather than ‘BANG’. If that is not bad enough, the stick grenades are useless in snow. When thrown, all they do is go ‘puff’ before showering men in snowflakes.
Some men can throw a grenade really far by the stick but I have not had the chance to try. I saw some men tie three or four grenades together before throwing them. Their invention worked properly, better than the allied grenades even in the snow, but they could only do a few because supplies ran out.
Older men, those with more experienced, keep stick grenades stuffed down their boots (by the stick end). I tried it but found it very uncomfortable. Carrying the grenade in a canister is a much better idea.