My Father Invented A Hand-Cranked Multiple Grenade Launcher

My late father was an inventor and tool & die maker. In the late 1940s, he built stamping dies and tooling for a company that manufactured fishing lures. During his tenure with this company, he invented a fishing lure used for Walleye Pike.

In the late 1950s, he worked for a machine shop where he invented a machine used to remove tree bark off logs for the lumber industry. In 1960, he father went to work for Honeywell Corporation Aeronautical Products Division, Hopkins, Minnesota.

One evening, while still a small boy, I was sitting with my father on the sofa watching a Western movie on television. In the movie, the cavalry was using a Gatling Gun. Unbeknownst to me, my father had an epiphany. It later became the Honeywell MK 18 Hand-Cranked Multiple Grenade Launcher.

The Backstory

During the Vietnam War, the United States military used the M79 Grenade Launcher. The boop gun, as the soldiers in the field called it, was a simple single shot weapon that fired a 40mm grenade.

The United Sates Navy had expressed an interest in rapid-fire weapon that would fire the 40 mm grenade for use on gunboats in Vietnam.

My father presented his concept of a hand cranked rapid-fire grenade launcher to a colleague named Wilford Martwick. Martwick was a brilliant engineer who had previously worked for Boeing. He got the project approved, and he signed off on it.

Initially, the director of marketing expressed his disapproval of the MK 18. He said in a meeting that the MK 18 would never sell, and if it did, he would eat his hat.

The design the two men came up with was a rotary split breech that used straight through feeding of ammunition. This eliminated the need for a reciprocating bolt, extraction of ammunition from ...

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