POTD: A Cup of Boom – Scarce Viven-Bessieres Grenade Launcher
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have a very cool piece of World War One history attached to a World War One era M1917 Rifle. This is a Remington 1917 Enfield paired with a Viven-Bessieres grenade launcher. Grenade launchers were used in trench warfare so troops could chuck grenades further than throwing distance but shorter than artillery could safely reach. Think of it as a weapon for a relative dead zone in no man’s land. The Viven-Bessieres was unique in that it was paired with regular ball (FMJ) ammunition, as in no blanks. A hole was drilled through the grenade for the bullet to pass through, trip a small lever on the grenade to start the fuse, and then the gas left after the bullet has left the barrel would propel the grenade up to 200 yards.
“Developed by the French for use in WWI, the Viven-Bessieres system was one of a number of “cup launcher” systems developed during the war…
The V-B was used by the French military up into WWII, and saw continued use with the Gendarmerie as a tear gas launcher up to the 1990s. The design was also adapted by the Americans, who produced their own launchers and grenades to be compatible with the 30-06 chambered 1903 and 1917 rifles. The rifle is fitted with a Remington “11-18” barrel, “W/NS” bolt, Eddystone safety, and a “3 GM-K” marked stock with “215” painted on the right side and a tan canvas “Nobuckl” sling. The launcher is blackened steel construction, 10 1/2 inches long with a 2 inch wide and 6 1/4 inch deep chamber, marked “US/MODEL OF 1917/W” on the body and fitted with a spiral cut collar and spring loaded retention clip for engaging the front sight base. Provenance: Bruce Canfield collection.”
Lot 2478: V-B Launcher Equipped U.S. Remington Model 1917 Rifle – U.S. Remington Model 1917 Bolt Action Rifle with Scarce Viven-Bessieres Grenade Launcher. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved October 24, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/72/2478/vb-launcher-equipped-us-remington-model-1917-rifle.