Improvised bomb factory at Gallipoli

Improvised bomb factory at Gallipoli

Allied troops at Helles make improvised hand grenades or 'bombs' prior to the Third Battle of Krithia, June 1915. While the Ottoman Army was well-supplied with grenades, the Allied forces on Gallipoli had none, forcing them to improvise by packing jam tins with old nails, bits of shell and metal, and an explosive charge at small 'bomb factories' at Helles and Anzac.

What a disadvantage we were under with our bombs, as compared to the Turks. Ours were made of tins, with a small bag of ammonal as the charge in the centre of it – packed all round with .303 cartridges with the bullet stripped off flush with the brass – the bullets themselves inverted and packed in between the cartridges – the Turkish shrapnel, razor blades, or anything at all put in to make up – the lid of the fuse projecting through it. It was a very clumsy thing and very hard to throw accurately, or any distance, but very effective. The Turks had a manufactured bomb, just the size of a cricket ball – a beautiful thing to throw accurately and lit by pulling off a brass cap, with a flint and steel ignition for the fuse. Ours had to be lit by a match. We had fatigue parties collecting shrapnel from the ground where it had lain after being thrown from Turkish shells – what a state of affairs, having to collect our enemy’s lead to make bombs for ourselves. Up to August, I didn’t see a manufactured bomb at Anzac.

Charles Saunders, New Zealand Engineers in Gavin McLean, Ian McGibbon & Kynan Gentry, The Penguin Book of New Zealanders at War, 2009

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