This tool and its leather carrying case last saw recent service with a THW unit in Gemany (Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk).
Originally it was produced and issued to a unit of the ZB, German Civil Defense (Ziviler Bevölkerungsschutz). The ZB was started in the early 1950's as a new replacement for the old war-time Civil Air Defense Service (Luftschutz). The ZB operated alongside the THW, which handled civil emergencies, disasters and rescues. The ZB was renamed in 1964 as ZS, which was a slight change in the tittle that sounded less "military" in nature. Eventually the ZB / ZS responsibilities were taken over by the THW, Red Cross, and Fire Services.
Today there are still the last remnants of some of the old Civil Defense equipment that still are used here and there, by units of the THW. The blue paint marks on this rescue axe indicate THW use (blue is the organization color for the THW). The tan handle on the Axe is the original uniform and equipment color for the ZB.
Here is a link to one of the THW Berlin units that has some great "action shots & photo galleries". The site is German, but can be translated, or just enjoy the photos.
This rescue axe is original, in its issued leather carry case, that is dated 1961, and is stamped ZB. The axe head is stamped ZB.
All of the parts nest very compactly in the leather case and can be assembled into different configurations: Axe, Saw, Hoe, or Pick. There is a small "screwdriver" plug that normally fills the slot in the handle when the saw blade is removed. A spring loaded button and internal lug hold the "screw driver" and saw blade in place, when installed.
|Measuring stick next to Axe for size scale.|
All in all, this is an amazing piece of rescue gear that is built to last!
NOTE: A good question about weight was asked by one of the blog viewers. The total weight of the tool and attachments, with the leather case and strap, is 5 pounds, 5 ounces.
Let's take a closer look at the photos: