French Use of Grenades at Gallipoli?

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Captain Reid
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French Use of Grenades at Gallipoli?

Post by Captain Reid » Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:15 am

Bit of a long shot, but does anyone have any solid evidence with regard to the French forces using grenades at Gallipoli.

I'm aware the Ottomans were well-supplied and that the British, ANZAC and Indian troops used home-made ones. But, largely due to the dearth of readily available French accounts in English (or indeed in French), I'm very uncertain how widespread French use was.

I've read the recently published Reluctant Partner, which sadly was of no help at all.
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Re: French Use of Grenades at Gallipoli?

Post by Capt Fortier » Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:26 am

I did a search on the Bibliothèque Nationale de France digital site (Gallica) and found an article "Le Grenadier" in the November 1915 edition of L'Image de la Querre [pp. 6-7] which is an account of a French raiding party using grenades at Gallipoli, with an accompanying photograph of French troops preparing the grenades in their own trenches. I did wonder if it was a translated British account, but the accompanying photos looked right for the Dardanelles campaign and the language looked right too.
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Re: French Use of Grenades at Gallipoli?

Post by Captain Reid » Sun Dec 29, 2019 9:15 am

Thanks!

I've found one Turkish reference too - unspecified French using grenades to defend a 'blockhouse'.

While I have your attention, anything about French mortars at Gallipoli? The Turks refer quite frequently to 'French mortars' but I'm not certain whether they actually mean mortars as opposed to 75mm shelling, or indeed just improvised grenade throwers (though the fact they demolished trenches suggest a bit more punch than a jam-tin).

That link is really super by the way, thanks again.
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Capt Fortier
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Re: French Use of Grenades at Gallipoli?

Post by Capt Fortier » Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:16 pm

In a report (No. 5957 9/11) of the Bureau D'Orient of the French General Staff dated 15 September 1916 and titled "The effort of France at the Dardanelles from 1 March 1915 to 1 January 1916", there is a reference to 90 pieces of artillery "not including trench mortars". [These are my translations.] There is also reference to the amount of ammunition expended including "19,650 bombes de mortier". There isn't anymore detail about what the trench mortars were, but it does suggest something more than improvised bombs.
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Re: French Use of Grenades at Gallipoli?

Post by Captain Reid » Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:21 pm

Thanks once again, you've been really helpful.

I wonder if they were the old coehorn mortars the French used in '14 and that were called Toby Mortars by the British.
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Re: French Use of Grenades at Gallipoli?

Post by Capt Fortier » Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:55 am

I also had a look at the Australian War Memorial site, and that suggested a different approach. There is a photo of a "French trench catapult" (albeit somewhat obscured in the shot) with the caption "Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. August 1915. During a long period of stagnation the time was chiefly occupied in trench digging, mining and bombing. A French trench catapult, a number of which reached Anzac in October."
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