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Balestra School Workshops Blog

We make a replica Home Guard ‘Sticky bomb’!

September 2nd, 2012 · No Comments · Building our workshops, For pupils, For teachers, Fun Stuff, models and replicas, Uncategorized

We often think we have the strangest job here at Balestra Living History, and this week was no exception when we created a replica no. 74’sticky bomb’ for our WW2 Home Guard workshop. During the war over 2.5 million of these were made for the regular army and the Home Guard to use against German tanks, and they are extremely rare nowadays. Perhaps this is because they were made of glass spheres covered with a knitted sleeve meaning that many have been broken since the war. As you may already know, we like to do things a little differently in our workshops so making a (completely safe) replica for pupils to investigate and hold seemed a great way to really help pupils to understand the history of the Home Guard.

So, starting with a piece of broomstick, a bike inner tube, a plastic ball used by plumbers when fitting toilets, a pair of tights, and our secret sticky-look ingredient, (not to mention lots of old photos of real sticky bombs) we came up with this little beauty, complete with sticky covering, firing lever and firing pin (which actually comes out as if it works)!

Here is a side-by side comparison of our replica next to the photo of the real version that we based it on – not a bad match we think!

The history of these bombs is really interesting. They were made to solve the problem of how to attack tanks from a distance without any heavy weapons. The idea of a ‘sticky bomb’ seemed the most logical, and the glass sphere idea came from many trials that taught the inventors that the best way to deliver the explosive was in a device that would smash and mould itself to the shape of anything it was thrown at, thus the final invention of the breakable (no. 74 grenade) ‘sticky bomb’ was born! Initially, many senior army commanders thought the idea was ridiculous, but Winston Churchill himself saw it in action and ordered 2.5 million on the spot because he liked it so much!

Sticky bombs being fitted with their metal safety cover

So, if you fancy handling a life-size replica of the famous Home Guard sticky bomb, head over to our Home Guard workshops website now and take a look at how to book!

Check out our Home Guard workshops!


Mr B the History man


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