A grenade is a small explosive device that may be thrown or fired from a rifle. There are fragmentation grenades, chemical grendades, or illuminating grenades depending on their intent. A fragmentation grenade contain a notched wire coil that shattersinto many pieces when the device explodes. Chemical grenades are filled with gas, smoke, or white phosphrus. Illunimatin grenades are use during night combat to light up land areas. Grenades were used as early as the 1400's. In the 1600's and 1700's , specially trained men called grenadiers used them. They were French soldiers who were selected for their strength, nerve, and initiative. Gradually other Europeanarmies created genadier units. The best soldiers from other units were selcted and organized intoelite battalions. By 1800, improvements in small arms weapons made grenade bowling suicidal. Today, they are a common weapon of all infantry soldiers even though some European armies still have regiments that carry grenadier titles.