Thursday, August 4, 2016

Swiss Army Pioneer Shovel, circa 1943 -1950's, Gschwind & Cie Werkzeugfabrik (Shovel Factory)

Here is the latest addition to the ever growing collection of Pioneer Shovels down in the "Bunker".

Shovel with my WW2 Swiss helmet.

This shovel is an un-issued, Swiss Military, pioneer shovel that most likely dates to the mid-1940's through the 1950's, or early 1960's era.

I picked this shovel up from a military surplus importer here in the US.  These old Swiss shovels are definitely rare, and seldom seen on the surplus market.  When I had the chance to pick one up for "pocket-cash", I jumped on it, and I'm glad I did!

This shovel is in absolute, new and un-issued condition.  It is painted in the old "shadow black" gray color used by the Swiss Military from the 1930's through the 1950's and into the early 1960's (very similar to the old Wehrmacht Field Gray color). In 1960, the Swiss military switched from "shadow black" gray, to a shade of olive green.

Here are two color comparison photos of the shovel next to a 1950's folding entrenching tool and a WW2 dated steel helmet, both Swiss Military.  The gray colors match, with only slight shade variations.

Compared to 1950's Swiss folding entrenching shovel.

Compared to WW2 Swiss steel helmet.

Like most of the the Swiss military equipment of the post-war era, it is not marked with a date.  It is however marked with the manufacturer's name and city, "Gschwind & Cie Werkzeugfabrik, Oberwil BLD."

The original shovel factory was founded in the 1890's, and renamed Gschwind & Cie in 1943.  In 1981, the shovel factory burned down and ceased to manufacture shovels after that date.

Based on the paint color, and the the time period the factory produced shovels using the name Gschwind and Cie, I would date this shovel in the 1940's to 1950's era, and possibly into the early 1960's time frame.  The construction of the shovel fits this time period as well.  The style and size of the shovel fits the "Standard European Pioneer Shovel" dimensions.  So, based on all of those details, we will consider this to be a WW2 to post-war, 1940's - 1950's, Pioneer Shovel from the Swiss Military.  Of course, without a stamped date, we will never know with absolute certainty that I am correct, but I do have a little bit of experience in this department!

These pioneer shovels would have been mounted on the various military vehicles along with an ax, pick and saw.  They also would have been used in the field as "utility shovels".

Without further delay, let's take a look at the photo album of this wonderful, rare, old shovel:

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