German smoke grenade Blendkorper

German smoke grenade Blendkorper

In 1943, a new smoke grenade, somewhat unusual in design, was developed for the Wehrmacht, and called the Blendkorper – “blinding device.” “Blinding device” was a glass vessel filled with a liquid that turns into smoke upon contact with moisture in the air. The principle of operation of the Blendkorper was as follows: after the destruction of the grenade hull, the ingredients of the mixture enter into a chemical reaction, resulting in a very bright flash and a cloud of thick smoke that does not disperse for 15-20 seconds, blinding the tank crew. The tear component of the grenade forced the crew to leave the tank.

To blind the driver, it was necessary to throw a “device” into the bow of the combat vehicle. To create a thicker smoke screen, it was necessary to use several smoke grenades at the same time. Initially, the Blendkorper was supposed to be used for making a smoke screen, but later it was attributed to anti-tank weapons. Despite the unusual design, these weapons were very common, produced and used until the end of the war.

Over the entire period of use, Blendkorper has been modified several times.

Blendkorper 1H

The first model, Blendkorper 1 H (BK 1H), was a sealed glass flask equipped with an F-substance (titanium tetrachloride). Photo by nebelwerfer.

Blendkorper 1H – the glass drop-shaped flask had a diameter of 6 cm. At a height of 15 cm and a mass of 374 g. It was filled with 300 gr. titanium tetrachloride. The neck of the flask could be additionally sealed with putty.

Titanium tetrachloride vapors irritate the upper respiratory tract, causing a burning sensation, coughing, chest tightness when inhaled. Once on the skin, the chemical caused pain, redness, and blisters could form. A great danger was its contact with eyes, which led to severe retinal burns that persisted for a long time.

The size and shape of the grenade varied, which was due to release at different enterprises. The mass of the grenade and its size made it very bulky and inconvenient to use. These shortcomings led to the fact that after the release of 225,200 BK 1H pieces, production was switched to the release of the next model – BK 2H.

Blendkorper 2H

Upgraded grenade Blendkorper 2H

Despite the resemblance, the design of the BK 2H was significantly different from its predecessor. The grenade consisted of two glass vessels embedded one into the other. The outer vessel, which served as the hull, was filled with a mixture of titanium tetrachloride and silicon tetrachloride. A glass ampoule filled with 36 g of calcium chloride solution was invested in it.

Blendkorper 2H

The new Blendkorper 2H smoke grenade had almost the same form, but was slightly reduced in height to 128 mm. It was filled with 290 gr. mixtures of calcium chloride, titanium tetrachloride and silicon tetrachloride. The total weight of the grenade was 400 g.

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Smoke grenades of the Blendkorper family were transported packed in four or eight pieces in rectangular cardboard boxes, the lid of which was removed by jerk of the cord. For carrying the boxes served cloth handles attached on both sides. The box was marked with instructions for handling grenades. There was a box designed to transport one grenade – a hexagonal one, with a cloth carrying handle. When using a smoke grenade, safety precautions were required. The smoke emitted by the grenade was harmless in the open air. Liquid smoke-forming substance corroded uniforms.

blendkorper

Cardboard boxes for transporting four (left) and one (right) Blendkorper 2 smoke grenades.

Blendkorper

Cardboard boxes for transporting Blendkorper smoke grenades.

blendkorper

Illustrations from a German tank combat manual demonstrating the use of Blendkorper 2H grenades.

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