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 Blanch-Chevallier Grenade Discharger

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John

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PostSubject: Blanch-Chevallier Grenade Discharger   Sun May 11, 2014 8:54 pm

Neil what do you make of this.

"


Ordnance of the Week: Blanch-Chevallier Grenade Discharger

Designed in 1916 by Arnold Louis Chevallier, a Swiss Small Arms Technician and Herbert John Blanch, of the London gunmakers John Blanch & Sons.  

This intriguing weapon is a shoulder fired grenade launcher based around the receiver of a Henry-Martini rifle, a logical choice if the weapon had gone into production as these rifles were readily available from Army and civilian stocks.  It is likely that the weapon was designed for the most part by Chevallier who by 1916, already had numerous small arms patents to his name.  While the design was built and probably adapted by Blanch whose background was more practical as a long established gunsmith.

The grenade was launched by firing a .450/577 blank round, this would have produced a substantial recoil as the grenade left the discharger therefore the Blanch-Chevallier was fitted with a thick rubber but pad and large spring coil to mitigate the recoil.  The discharger is fitted with a rear tangent sight mounted on the barrel which, along with the patent, indicates that the Blanch-Chevallier was intended to be fired from the shoulder rather from the kneeling position, as with rifle grenades, braced on the ground.

It fired a proprietary grenade, smaller than the standard Mills Bomb grenade then used by the British Army, the original patent for the weapon also states that the launcher could be used to fire canister shot. The weapon was not adopted by the British Army and no records attest to it ever being tested by the military, the British Army instead adopted a rifle grenade system which in theory could be attached to any SMLE in the field.  A shoulder fired grenade launcher, akin to the later M-79, if practical would have been quite a support weapon especially if the canister shot round had been perfected. The example featured is held at the UK’s National Firearms Centre.

Sources:

All images, including an x-ray of the weapon, produced by the National Firearms Centre, UK
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