Tuesday, May 3, 2016

WW2 Model 1910, US Military Hatchet, Plumb 1944, with 1945 Benton Harbor Awning & Tent Company, Canvas Cover

Today we'll be taking a look at an old hatchet that I've had hanging up in the shop for a number of years.

This hatchet is a "post-war resurrection" of an original WW2 issued, Model 1910 service hatchet.  The head was manufactured by the Plumb Company in 1944 for the US Military.  The original wood handle is long gone, and has since been re-hafted with a "Craftsman Hunter or Scout" handle.

From the look of the wood, Craftsman label style, and the amount of time I've had the hatchet, I would say it was re-hafted sometime back in the 1960's.

The official US Military designation for these old hatchets was Model 1910.  They were produced and issued during WW1 and again in WW2.  The WW1 issue hatchets are only marked with US on the head.  The WW2 issued hatchets are marked with US, the manufacturer's name, and the year date.  The WW1 hatchets were not painted.  The WW2 issued hatchets can be found in both Olive Drab painted finish and natural unpainted finishes.  
This hatchet head appears never to have been painted.

In the years following WW2, these old hatchets were sold by the thousands at surplus stores all over the US in the years following WW2.  I suspect that this hatchet found its way into civilian hands and was used hard as a camping or Boy Scout hatchet.  It was obviously valued enough by its owner to take the time and money to re-haft it with a new wood handle.  In the configuration it is in now, it is an excellent representation of an early post-war, camp or scout hatchet.  

The canvas carrier-cover is original.  It was made by the Benton Harbor Awning & Tent Company in 1945.

With the late date of 1945, and the excellent overall condition of the cover, I suspect it never saw military field service.  There was such a huge surplus of unissued equipment at the end of WW2, that many small items like this were sent directly to the civilian surplus market.  
These old hatchet covers are getting quite difficult to find these days and can often be worth more than the hatchet that it covers!

Since this is a historical bit of US military equipment from WW2, I thought I'd add a fascinating photo I uncovered of one of these hatchets (with the original handle) about to be carried into France by a member of the 82nd Airborne.  This photo shows a number  of the 82nd soldiers "gearing up" for D-Day.  You can see the handle of a hatchet peaking out from under the pack flap on the soldier on the right side of the photo.  I love shots like this!

With all of that said, here are the rest of the photos of this interesting little hatchet.

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