This beautiful little Swiss entrenching tool, or spade, is the latest addition to my ever growing collection of military shovels.
I picked this shovel up on a trip we made down to San Diego, California last year. A Saturday trip to the San Diego Swap Meet yielded an entire armload of treasures, and this was one of them!
This shovel is one of the early WW2 models of the fixed blade spade type of entrenching tool that was pretty much standard with all of the European armies during the WW1 and WW2 years. In fact, the shovels were so similar between all of the countries that is often quite difficult to determine the country of origin!
We can tell that this shovel is Swiss, from a very unique feature that was added to every Swiss entrenching tool produced, both fixed blade and folding blade. That feature is the addition of a small brass nail in the upper end of the handle. No other country did this.
As far as I can tell, there is no practical reason to have this brass marker, however the Swiss never do anything randomly, so I am sure there is a reason, unfortunately, it has been lost to time. The one consistent thing about all these brass nails, is that they are installed exactly half of a meter from the blade tip. This would make the the entrenching tool a rudimentary measuring stick. Maybe that was the reason (?).
This shovel is marked "LC 40" on the edge of the blade face. "LC" is maker mark from the firm that manufactured the shovel and "40" is the year it was produced: 1940. These early square fixed blade shovels do not have the Swiss Cross stamp like we find on the later folding shovels. Another interesting feature that distinguishes these early Swiss shovels from the later war and post-war shovels, is the round handle. The later shovels have the very unique octagon shaped handles. You can see that feature here, on my previous posting of a post-war folding Swiss shovel:
These early Swiss shovels are often modified to pass as a WW2 German shovel by removal of the brass handle nail. However, the German shovels do not have the same rivet style or the metal collar around the blade-to-handle area. So, for those of you looking for a "Genuine German" entrenching tool, look closely at that "eBay listing"!
I currently do not have a shovel cover for this entrenching tool, but that should be remedied later this week. Stay tuned for a future "shovel cover" blog posting!
Here is an album of photos of this early Swiss shovel: