Sunday, December 4, 2016

US Pick-Mattock Pioneer Tool, Full Sized circa 1991, Woodings Verona Tool Works, Unissued US Military

Well, I've gone and done it again............ I couldn't resist another amazing deal on a vintage pioneer tool.  This time it's a US Military Pick-Mattock that was never issued.


This pick-mattock is dated 1991, but it could easily have been issued at any time since WW1.  These full sized pick-mattocks have been built to the same US specifications since WW1.  The only thing that has changed are the stampings and colors.

This pick-mattock is a beast!  The cast steel head is 19.5 inches long, and it weighs in at 5 pounds!  The handle is a brute as well.  It is solid hickory, and bigger than a baseball bat.  It is 36 inches in length, and 3 inches wide at the head.  Just like it's smaller belt carried sibling, the metal head is designed to slide off the handle for storage.  These pick-mattocks were carried on virtually every heavy field vehicle that the US military has sent into combat since the WW1 era.
Here is a great website that describes how these pioneer tools were mounted and carried:

http://olive-drab.com/od_mvg_pioneer_tools.php

This particular pick-mattock is marked with the manufacturer's mark for Woodings Verona Tool Works Company.




This WTV stamp was used until the company was bought out in 1997, and production of all tools stopped.

It is date stamped with the number "91", for the production year of 1991.  This puts it in the First Gulf War time frame (Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Shield).


It also has the official US stamp, and a modern "eye protection safety warning".  The number "5" stamp indicates the head weight, 5 pounds.

This pick is in its "off the shelf", paint scheme.  It also has as a heavy metal staple in the butt end of the handle.  I assume that the staple was for hanging the handle in storage or for the attachment of some sort of tag.  It would have been removed once it was issued.  The head is painted in flat black, and the handle is standard olive drab.

As a comparison, I took a few photos, side-by-side, with my old WW1 vintage Entrenching Pick Mattock.  You can really see how massive the full sized pioneer version is in these shots.

Here is the blog entry on the WW1 Pick-Mattock:
http://sharky-fourbees.blogspot.com/2016/09/us-m-1910-pick-mattock-with-us.html



Now let's take a closer look at the monster of a pick-axe!














Tuesday, October 18, 2016

German Ammo Can for MG1A3, MG2, MG3, MG5 and H&K 121, Post-War 1967, .308 NATO Bundeswehr

In my last posting I showed a German ammo can for the MG42 variant machine guns, next to the featured Yugoslavian  8mm ammo can.  Today we'll be taking a closer look at the German Can.


I purchased this ammo can back in 2010 and it has been "banging around the shop" ever since.  I decided to take a closer look at it, and discovered a few VERY interesting details!

This ammo can is for the German post-war versions of the WW2 MG42 machine guns.  The can is sized for the .308 NATO caliber rounds, and held a 250 round linked belt.  These cans were used by all of the post-war German forces, but this particular can is painted in Bundeswehr Olive Green.

This can is marked with the date number "67", for the year 1967.  The fact that the can is marked 1967 is actually quite significant, as we will see.


On the side of the can, written in felt pen, is the notation 
"MG5 121".


Here is where it gets interesting!

With the date of 1967, we know that this can would have been used with the MG1A3 and MG2 machine guns.  These were the two earliest, post-war versions of the MG42 used in Germany.
In 1968, the MG3 version was introduced.

9 / 67 is for the date, September 1967.  BK is the maker's mark.

The notation of MG5 121 means that this can was also used for the MG5, also know as the H&K 121.  This version was trialed by the Bundeswehr in 2005, but not adopted.

Since I bought the can in 2010, not long after it was surplused.  That means that this ammo can saw service with four versions of the German post-war MG42 variants!
MG1A3
MG2
MG3
MG5 / H & K 121

There are also some "inventory numbers" painted on the can as well.  These would have been used internally, within the unit to keep track of the can and its contents.



I love it when a seemingly "ordinary" piece of surplus ends up telling an amazing story!

Unless you have one of these cans in your collection, one seldom gets to take a close look at the details.  Let's take a look at this ammo can.




















Sunday, October 16, 2016

MG42/ M53 Ammo Can, Yugoslavian Army JNA, Fao-Oviedo Spain, 8mm Mauser, MG1A1, MG3

Recently I had the chance to pick up a "MG42 / M53" ammo can from an online military supplier.  They had a batch of surplus ammo cans that they received as Yugoslavian surplus.  The price was right, and shipping was nearly free.......how could I pass up that deal?  I didn't!


After WW2, Yugoslavia pressed a number of German MG42 machine guns into service and then in 1953, they designed their own copy, the M53.  These Yugoslavian M53's were originally chambered in 8mm Mauser, just like the original MG42's.  Later they re-chambered them to .308 NATO.
The can I received is sized for the original 8mm Mauser rounds.

The MG42's and MG42/M53's  were widely used by the Yugoslavian Army (JNA).  After the break-up of Yugoslavia, these M53's and MG42's went on to continue their service with the Serbian Army.  Surplus MG42' s and M53's are still in use all over the Third World.



JNA Yugoslavian Soldier with MG42/M53.
The M42 / M53 ammo can in use! Post-War Yugoslavia.    
Yugoslavia continued the use of surplus WW2 German MG42 ammo cans and later manufactured their own copy of the cans.  My Yugoslavian can is quite unique.  

My can was obtained from Serbia by the importer, after use in the Serbian and Yugoslavian Armies.  It is dated 1967, however the manufacturer of the can is Spanish!

The can is marked "FA-OVIEDO  CM-MG42 / 58  1967".  MG42/58 is the designation of the post-war German version of the MG42, the MG1A1.  FA-OVIEDO is the manufacturer designator for the Spanish Arsenal Oviedo.  I checked the measurements of the ammo can, and it is definitely sized for 8mm Mauser ammo(8mm Mauser ammo is longer than .308 NATO).  The can is also painted in Yugoslavian olive green, as opposed to Serbian light green.


I am not sure what the "back-story" is on this ammo can, but somehow it found it's way from Spain, to Yugoslavia or Serbia, and then to me.

These post-war foreign made cans differ only slightly from the post-war German and WW2 German ammo cans.  There are rivets substituted for pinch welds on the handle and latch brackets, but other than that, they are WW2 knock-offs.  Very cool!

German .308 NATO can is on the left.  Yugo 8mm can on the right.

Now let's take a closer look at this ammo can.