With the T-13 Beano Grenade, the U.S. military tried to link combat warfare with America’s national pastime.
Built like a Baseball
The T-13 Beano was an experimental hand grenade developed during the Second World War by the then "Office of Strategic Services," which eventually became the "Central Intelligence Agency" (CIA). The Beano Grenade was developed to be the exact size and weight as a baseball. Each hand grenade weighed about 12 ounces and was the exact size of a typical leather bound baseball.
The engineers who created the Beano Grenade believed that if they modeled the weapon around a baseball then any young American man should be able to properly throw it. Baseball is America’s national pastime and one of the country’s most popular professional sports.
The Beano Grenade used a pressure trigger to detonate and explode on contact with hard surfaces. U.S. soldiers fighting during the Second World War were taught to throw the grenade like a traditional baseball. Soldiers would even hold the grenade the same way a pitcher would hold a baseball when throwing a "knuckle ball."
Several thousand Beano Grenades were shipped to Europe during the Second World War and U.S. soldiers used them during the Invasion of Normandy in June 1944. However, the grenades were quickly recalled and taken out of service after several of them prematurely detonated and killed U.S. troops.
At the end of the Second World War, the U.S. military’s supply of T-13 Beano Grenades was ordered destroyed and files pertaining to the weapon were classified. Today, the Beano Grenade is a rare and highly prized artefact from the Second World War. Military history buffs covet the hard to find weapon and several Beano Grenades have sold at auction around the world for tens of thousands of dollars. There is also a "Facebook" page dedicated to the T-13 Beano Grenade.