The first grenades were invented sometime in the 15th century and were simple hollowed iron balls packed full of black powder, occasionally nails or other fragments, and lit with a slow match fuse. These grenades were pretty heavy and were assigned to the biggest and strongest soldiers to throw. These soldiers were called Grenadiers. The specialized equipment and dangerous nature of their work gradually transformed the grenadier into an elite member of Europe’s armies.
By the time of the French and Indian war grenades had gone out of style, but Grenadiers had not. They were still chosen for their height and brawn. In British Regiment the first company or ‘A’ Company was the Grenadier Company. Since the Massachusetts regiments were built on the British model their first company was often made up of grenadiers as well. Read the rest of this entry »