Schusstafel fur Wurfgranate 15 (Baseplate for Grenade Launcher 1915)

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme
Accession Number RELAWM10981
Collection type Technology
Object type Artillery Accessory
Physical description Paint, Steel
Maker Maschinenfabrik Alfred Wolff
Place made Germany
Date made 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Steel base plate assembly for a model 1915 Wurfgranate. The base plate is fabricated from two main components, an angle iron which digs into the ground, and base plate which is pivoted onto the angle iron and is marked with degrees. The wurfgranate would have rested on the base plate. The assembly pivots on a 25mm slot-headed bolt, and is locked to the desired angle using a 22mm diameter steel tommy bar.

The angle iron is 5.5mm thick steel, 380mm long x 139mm wide x 85mm deep. A 12mm round steel carry handle is rivetted to this element with four rivets. Also attached to this angle iron with two rivets is a bent steel plate, inscribed with a red-painted groove, and functioning as a cursor. The base plate is 5mm thick steel, 520mm long. It is 265mm at its widest part, tapering to 132mm. The wide part of the base plate is hemispherical, and is inscribed around its circumference in degrees - from 70 to 0 and then again to 70 degrees. At 0, 20 and 40 degrees the inscribed scale is painted with a thin red line. The base plate has a maker's name plate attached with two rivets. Also attached to the base plate is a range scale. This is fabricated from 1mm aluminium plate, with the figures engraved and filled with black paint. The range scale provides figures for 'Entfernung in Metern' (range in meters) 'Erhohung in Graden' (increase in degrees) 'Steil' and 'Flachbah'n (steep and flat land) and 'Seiten Vertegung um 10m in Graden'.
The base plate hemisphere, tommy bar and carrying handle are painted semi gloss black. The rest of the assembly is painted in a thin steel grey finish, with extensive thin patchy corrosion covering the entire surface.

History / Summary

This baseplate was used by the German army as part of the equipment for a 'grenade thrower' or launcher. These devices were small, light and portable devices, issued to infantry units, which could fire a small finned explosive projectile at ranges of up to 300 meters.

The base plate was hammered or kicked into the ground, and the launcher placed on top. By unlocking the attached tommy bar, the operator could swing the launcher to a desired azimuth, and fire the weapon. It is marked as being used with a Wurfgrante 15, but it appears that it could equally be used for a Granatenwerfer 16, which was by the end of the War a much more common device. The type is unusual, in that most Wurfgranate baseplates seen in contemporary manuals and photographs were completely circular in shape. This one appears to be a lightened, more easily transportable device. It was captured by 21 Battalion AIF on 8 August 1918 during the Somme offensive.