I picked up this beautiful trench shovel off of eBay a couple of months ago for an insanely low price, It was mis-listed and incorrectly described. I spotted it and won the bid. One of the most amazing things about it, besides its near mint condition, is the fact that it is marked with the original Swedish Army regiment that used it!
It is marked on the wooden handle portion with I.18, which indicates that it was issued to the 18th Swedish Infantry Regiment, better known as the Västmanland Regemente.
The Västmanland Regemente was designated I.18 from 1628 until 1927. In 1928 it was renumbered as I.27, or the 27th Infantry Regiment. Since this shovel dates to the I.18 period (1906-1927), it is safe to say that it continued service after the regiment was renumbered I.27 in 1928.
What really got me excited about this regimental marking is that it means that it would have been used by the same regiment as my restored Swedish Mauser Carbine! You can read about that rifle here:
This trench shovel still has its original finish of natural wood and black painted metal. Most of these old shovels were repainted around the WW2 era in Olive Drab Paint. Luckily this one missed the paint brush treatment!
In 1912, the Swedish military punched a hole in the blade of the shovels so they could be carried on a belt snap-hook. There was a hook version that was on a belt loop and one that was incorporated into the multi-pocketed ammo belt. This gave these shovels the new designation of Model 1906-12. Prior to that time, they were carried strapped to the side of the field packs.
The wooden handle production shovels continued until WW2 when they were transitioned over to the metal yoked handles.
There are quite a number of these shovels, as well as the metal yoke handle versions, that are presently on the surplus market that have recently been surplussed from Finland. From what I can tell, Sweden supplied the shovels to Finland for use in the Winter and Continuation War during the WW2 years. Nearly all of the Finish issue shovels are stamped with an SA on the blade, but not all. The fact that my shovel is stamped with I.18, and there is no SA stamp, would indicate that it was in Swedish service.
This shovel makes a fantastic pairing with my Model 1906 Pioneer Shovel that I showed in the last posting. You can see it here:
And now, here is the much awaited photo album. Enjoy!