The mailman brought another treasure to the door today.............. a WW2 German issue "Klappspaten" folding shovel. Found it listed on eBay listed as a US shovel and carry pouch! I won the auction and ended up paying a token amount for a great piece of WW2 German equipment like this! In the eBay photos, I could see that the shovel end had been worn down from use and it looked like it had dried concrete all over it.............. correct on both counts. I didn't want to ask the seller for exact measurements, etc., to confirm that it was actually German and not a Dutch copy, and risk tipping off other bidders of my suspicion that it was WW2 German. I took the gamble and it paid off! ( A great deal even if it was Dutch!).
There are only a couple of nearly microscopic differences between the WW2 German shovels and the Post-War Dutch ones. The big difference is in the blade width. The German shovel is 150 mm wide and the Dutch ones are 157 mm wide. Mine is 150 mm wide. I haven't been able to locate any "waffenstamps", makers code or mini-Nazi-eagle stamp marks,but that does not rue it out as a WW2 issue shovel. The shovels made at the very end of the war, before the collapse and surrender, often won't show marks and have proud rivets on the shovel face (not ground down flush like the earlier models). Mine are proud. I'm still doing research on the differences to make a positive ID, but I'm pretty darn sure it's WW2 German.
After WW2, the German shovels were repainted in olive green and reissued to the Norwegian and Dutch armies. The original German color was black metal and my shovel appears to be one of those reissues. The black finish is plainly visible where the green top coat has worn off............ This afternoon I did some clean-up work with a scribe, dental pick and green scouring pad and cleaned off all of the concrete. Looks great!
The canvas carry pouch that came with the shovel is a WW2 US Army issue carrier. It is dated 1945. I actually needed one of these for my 1944 US Army shovel! Good deal all around! Now I need to locate a leather German shovel carrier.
I am planning on mounting the German shovel on the rear rack of the BGS bicycle after I find the correct leather shovel cover.......... the search continues! As you may recall from earlier posts on the BGS bicycle, the BGS used reissued WW2 German equipment in the early start-up years of the service. This is the period that my bike comes from, so a mix of WW2 and post-war equipment is perfect.
An interesting bit of WW2 trivia: The Germans invented the folding shovel in 1938 and the US promptly made our own copy and issued it out to our troops in 1943! There are NUMEROUS pieces of military equipment used around the world that are based on, or are copies of, the WW2 German originals........ there are even large numbers of reissued German WW2 weapons still in use by armies around the world.
Here are some pre-cleaning pictures of the German "Klappspaten" shovel:
My M-43 US Army folding shovel and carry pouch:
Comparison pictures of the two shovels from both armies. German on the left, US on the right: