Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two New Danish Army Engineer, Pioneer Spades circa 1940's to 1980's

Well, the shovel thread continues.............  I have added two more of the Danish Army Engineer Spades to the collection!  I couldn't resist.  I had placed an order for a 2-pack set of East German pioneer shovels from my favorite surplus source and they totally screwed up the order.  In short, I did not get the two East German shovels, but they did make me a deal on two more of the Danish spades that I absolutely could not pass up, to make up for the previously botched order. (Oh yes, and Free Shipping!)

They arrived today via Fed-Ex and I decided to do a quick un-boxing and show them off here on the blog.

Here is the dramatic un-boxing:

I won't go into the complete history and specification on these spades in this post.  If you would like the "complete story", then you can go back to my original Danish Spade blog post:

The two spades are both slightly different.  The  spade that is in the roughest condition, has a wonderful Danish Army ITT and crown stamp on the wood shank.  They both have the makers stamp of DSI (one is a double stamp), and the cleanest of the two shovels has a clear Danish Army ITT and crown stamp on the shovel blade itself.  The other spade might have that as well, but the paint is VERY thick in that area, so it would be buried underneath.

They even came with some original "Danish", or possibly "Afghanistan" sand! 

Here is the photo album of these two new spades.  Enjoy!

Two handle grip variations.
Side view of the two different grips.
Two shades of green paint.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Bundeswehr Klappspaten, West German Army Folding Entrenching Tool - Shovel Klapspaten

Today I'll be continuing on with my "shovel thread".  While I was busy receiving a pile of shovels and spades in the mail, I found yet another military shovel that I had been watching for.  I picked it up for a fantastic price and added it to the pile of other spades and shovels that had recently arrived!

This folding shovel is wonderful example of the West German folding entrenching tool that was first produced and issued in 1959 and issued into the 1970's.  It was replaced by the German version of the US Military-NATO, Tri-Fold shovel some time in the 1970's.
This shovel is dated 1965, and the leather cover is dated 1969.

These folding entrenching tools are HEAVY DUTY !  Not only are they heavy duty, but they are actually heavy, weight-wise, as well.  I get the impression that Germany figured that their soldiers would be fighting on their own home turf and would not be needing to pack their gear very far.  The shovel can be adjusted for use as a normal shovel, or set at 90 degrees for use as a hoe, or the pick can be folded out for use alone, or in "hoe mode" with the shovel blade.
Of all of the folding shovels, this German version is by far the toughest!

Here is the photo album of this entrenching tool.  Enjoy.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Austro-Hungarian WW1 Trench Spade, Model 1910, Austria - Hungary

As promised, the shovel and spade thread continues!  Up today is a recent addition to the collection that arrived in a very unexpected way.  It is a WW1 vintage, Austro - Hungarian Trench Spade.

A while back, I purchased a post-war, Model 1950, Hungarian entrenching spade from one of my favorite surplus sources.  Unfortunately they did not include the canvas shovel cover.  I have have been looking for an original, correct, Hungarian cover to go with it ever since.  Apparently they are tougher to find than I thought!
Then I caught a lucky break in the search.  The same company was selling them again, only this time, they included the original canvas covers.  The price was right, so I went ahead and ordered a second one, just to get the cover (and you can never have too many shovels!).

When the package arrived, I eagerly tore into it and pulled out a "ratty and beat" shovel in a mint condition cover.  Not exactly what I was expecting.  The shovel cover was everything I was hoping for.  It was a mint condition and completely intact, post-war, Model 1950 Hungarian cover.  Poking out of the cover was a very beat up shovel handle.  I immediately noticed that the handle did not look at all "quite right".  The wooden handle was too thin and too long for a Model 1950 shovel.  It was also in noticeably rough shape.  I pulled out the shovel and discovered that it was in fact, a pre-WW1 Austro - Hungarian Trench Spade!  Technically it was Hungarian, but definitely NOT a post-war spade (as in post-WW2)!  I unexpectedly had landed an unbelievable shovel score!

The spade is not in anywhere close to perfect condition, but it has that amazing patina that only 100 years and two wars worth of use can impart.  The metal was "hot dipped" in a tar paint that had hardened and petrified, and the handle had been whittled, and carved with graffiti by previous owners.  

I would imagine that this spade had been in use through WW1, then WW2, and then for some time after WW2, until the Model 1950 spades were issued out.  Then the old shovels were discarded or placed into long-term storage by hot dipping in the tar paint and adding a new canvas cover.  I just happened to be one of the lucky buyers who received one of the odd , old spades, in the surplus bin!

I could see a bit of some stampings under the tar paint.

A half an hour's worth of scrubbing with a green scouring pad and mineral spirits, and the tar paint was removed, leaving the original metal and finish intact.  It appears that the blade had been used as a "frying pan" over an open fire for quite some time, leaving the metal with an interesting "Damascus" finish. The stamping marks came out clear as well, however, I still have not identified them.

The handle had been carved with two flats on the top and bottom so that it would grip correctly to use as a trench fighting "axe".  At least one previous owner had carved his initials into the wood, with a few additional "decorations" as well.

All in all, this is an amazing example of a "real trench spade" from WW1.  Beautiful in all of its imperfections!

Before we look at the album, here are a couple of photos comparing the Model 1950, post war spade, with the Model 1910, WW1 spade I received. The Model 1910 is on the top.

Here is the album, enjoy!


After Cleaning:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

US Model 1910, T-Handle Trench Shovel, WW1 Vintage Entrenching Tool

Here is another wonderful, vintage shovel that I recently picked up.  I have been meaning to add one of these old WW1 trench shovels to my collection, but I had not been able to find a nice one with the right price, until the other day.

This shovel is a very nice example of the WW1, Model 1910, T-Handle shovel that was used by the US military from before WW1, through WW1, and then into the beginning years of WW2.  There were only two production runs of this style shovel, the first was just before WW1, and the second run was in 1942-1943 for the early WW2 troops.  Only the WW2 vintage shovels are dated and marked with the manufacturer.   These T-Handle shovels were replaced with the introduction of the newer folding shovels in 1943.

The WW1 vintage shovels are marked US on the wood and US in the shovel shank.  Another distinguishing detail on the old WW1 shovels, are the wood wedges on either side of the shank where the wood attaches to the shovel blade.  The WW2 versions often did away with these wood wedges.

Here is a link to the posting of a WW2 T-Handle shovel in my collection:

There must have been millions of these old shovels produced as they are still regularly encountered.  It is getting much tougher to find them at an affordable price and in good condition though.  I was lucky with this one.  I found it on eBay and purchased it from a woman who found it in the remnants of an estate-barn sale just east of Astoria, Oregon.  Who knows, maybe it was used by some of the garrison troops in the area in "the old days".  We will never know for sure.  What I can say for sure is that it has a new home in "The Bunker"!

Here are some additional photos of this vintage shovel.  Enjoy!

Note the wooden wedge next to the wood handle connection.