M1917 Gas Hand Grenade
M1917 Gas Russia was one of the few nations to have hand grenades in the field at the beginning of W.W.I. There were impact fuze types as well as time delay designs.

Gas grenades in general are designed to clear bunkers and trenches (or for riot control in civilian use). These are irritant / incapacitation devices rather than ones intended to inflict mortal injury. This is due to the risk of the gas passing back over friendly troops.

The Model 1917 contained approximataly 500g of the liquid chemical Chloropicrin, a fast acting suffocating lung irritant.
Although lethal in high concentrations, it would dissipate quickly. This would make it useful in an offensive role.
Since it is not a blister or nerve agent, a gas mask affords good protection.
This grenade was used in the later stages of the First World War and after. The Germans captured and used stocks of this grenade during World War II.

Thanks Darryl (GRM) for historical details!

This gas grenade mechanical design was based on the earlier Model 1914 H.E. hand grenade, described next.

Hand Grenade Model 1912

This is a high explosive stick grenade, consisting of a fabricated sheet metal head attached to a wooden handle.
It utilized a grip safety mechanism that armed a delay fuze when thrown. (Same design as the gas grenade)
A carrying hook is provided for attachment to a soldier's belt.

The grenade shown here, although dated 1914, I believe to be the Model 1912. Also referred to as the "Lantern Head" type, referring to the square head design.
Grenade Model 1912

Hand Grenade Model 1914

The Model 1912 was improved upon by eliminating the wood handle, changing to welded (soldered) sheet metal construction.
The head shape was changed to a cylinder and the belt hook eliminated.

Because of its appearance this grenade was commonly called the "Bottle Grenade".

The design was modernized later and designated the Model 1914/30.
Other than a change of the explosive filler (Picric Acid to TNT), I don't know what other features may have been modified.

These were used into W.W. II as well.
(Eventually replaced by the RGD-33.)

At right is a Model 1914 grenade and a cross-sectional diagram.
Model 1914/30
M1914 H.E.
Petrasevitsh, P.: Aselajit ja sotatekniikka.
Valtion kustannusliike Kirja, Petroskoi 1932

Hand Grenade Model 1917 - Gas (Continued)

GAS LOGO The most notable exterior marking for this gas variant is a skull and crossbones logo affixed to the side of the can.
It translates as "Chemical".
Thanks "Sapper" from Latvia for the translation.

There are two holes in the top of the body. One is a filling hole, which obviously would be plugged, the other is the open end of an internal fuze well.

The fuze would be an up-side-down "U" shape. One end, with the primer cap, inserted in the exterior tube and the other, holding a bursting "detonator", inserted in the fuze well. A delay line between the two would complete the assembly.
The retaining wire at the top locked the fuze assembly in place.

Note that the M1914/30 (See the sectional diagram above.) has the spring loaded firing pin tube located inside the can.

Grenade Function Grenade Function

First, the spring-loaded firing pin is cocked and then locked in position by pushing the ring tab in.

The fuze assembly is then inserted and clamped in place by the cross wire on top. (It pivots back and forth.)

When the soldier grasped the grenade's handle, the hand lever, also spring operated, pivots and a forked catch grips the stem of the firing pin, protruding out from the bottom of the small tube.

When ready to throw, the ring-tab is pulled back, unlocking the firing pin. Throwing the grenade releases the handle lever, pulling the retaining fork from the firing pin. The pin snaps forward initiating the fuze delay.

Apparently there is a safety ring missing from this specimen. (See the Model 1914 H.E. picture)
Seems this was a secondary safety in case the grenade was dropped prematurely. The ring holding the hand lever compressed.

The correct way of grasping the grenade was so that the safety ring went between the third and fourth finger of the hand. The safety ring was to slide off the handle as the grenade was thrown and remain in the thrower's hand.

MFG Stamp One final detail.
The only other marks found on this grenade are these stampings on the handle. I'm assuming these are arsenal manufacturing stamps.