In 1943, the US Military designed their version of the German Military folding shovel. It was designated the Model 1943 Entrenching Tool and replaced the old style, Model 1910, T-Handle Shovel. The Model 1943 shovels were made from 1943 until 1945. They remained in service well into the 1970's (mostly with Reserve and National Guard units in the later years). The Model 1943 was officially replaced with the Model 1951 Entrenching Tool (folding shovel) in 1951.
|Shovel Models: M-1951, M-1943, M-1910 (WW2)|
The Model 1943 shovels were manufactured by several different companies during WW2. The overwhelming majority of them were made by the Ames Company.
My shovel is dated 1945 and was manufactured by Ames. The Model 1943 shovels are always marked on the face of the blade with "US", the manufacturer, and date. If they are not marked in this manner, they are probably a post-war reproduction, and definitely not US issue.
The 1945 dated shovels are by far the most common years encountered. 1943 dated shovels are the rarest.
These folding shovels can be locked into any of three positions: Open, Hoe (90 degrees), or Closed. The shovel positions are locked into place with a threaded nut tightener.
The shovels were issued with a canvas cover that could be mounted on the pack or carried on the web belt.
Here are a couple of photos from WW2, showing how these Model 1943 shovels were carried by the soldiers in the field.
|M-43 shovel being carried on the belt.|
|You can see the M-43 shovel on the pack of the center soldier.|