Viven-Bessière HE Grenade
|Viven-Bessière HE Grenade|
|Effective Blast Radius|
The VB (Viven-Bessière) grenade, appeared in 1916, was the most famous and best French rifle grenade.
Made of a pig iron cylinder with inner fragmentation grooves, it was axially crossed by a hollow tube of the same inner diameter than the Lebel rifle bullet, laterally by an other tube containing the detonator and parallel to the central one, and was topped by a brass cap with a small lateral percussion lever over the detonator tube as well as filling aperture plug.
The VB grenade was shot using a grenade-sleeve fixed on the Lebel rifle, using a traditional ammunition rather than a blank cartridge, thus avoiding frequent accidents caused by ammo confusion in the fight stress. When shot, the bullet went through the central tube, hit the small lever placed on the external part of the detonator, igniting the starter that communicated the fire to the wick then the detonator. The ejection gases, accumulating in the sleeve when the bullet was still inside the central tube, propelled the body of the grenade up up to 180 m. The VB was such an effective weapon that it remained in service until the fall of France.