I have been wanting to add one these old axes to my Swedish Military gear collection for quite some time. It seems that these axes are VERY popular with the "bushcraft crowd", and they sell out fast. Last week I spotted a batch for sale by my favorite online surplus seller. The price was super low and the shipping was free......I had to pinch myself to make sure that I wasn't dreaming! I placed my order and the "new" axe arrived the other day.
The axe I received was in wonderful condition for its age. Could it get any better? Yes! When I inspected it closer, I saw that the head is stamped KB42 with the 3-Crowns under it. HB stands for the manufacturer Kölefors Bruk, and the 42 is the year, 1942. This axe is a WW2 issued axe. Wonderful!
|The KB42 / 3-Crowns stamping is a bit tough to see due to thick paint.|
The wood handle is marked with a band of woven tape that appears to have been some sort of official identification mark.
On the side of the handle there is a hand written notation that indicates that this axe belonged to Squad 3, 1st Platoon. Unfortunately the actual unit ID was not noted. The notation is in Swedish and reads "Grupp.3 1:a plut ".
From what I understand, these axes were issued out, one to a squad. The Swedish squads consisted of 6-8 soldiers, and were lead by a Corporal or Sergeant. They were also carried on vehicles, and the early Stridsvagn M39 and M40 tanks. Here is a photo of an axe mounted on the side of one of these tanks. You can also see the Pioneer shovels alongside them.
Here are two of photos of WW2 era Swedish soldiers in the field. In the first photo, the soldier furthest away from the camera (at the right), has an axe strapped to the side of his pack. In the next photo, you can see the handle of an axe that is strapped to the bottom of the pack, on the nearest soldier.
Near the butt of the handle, there is the classic "Swedish 3-Crowns" stamping.
Overall this is a wonderful example of a Swedish, WW2 era axe, that will only need conservation. No restoration needed! Let's take a closer look at this axe: