Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Italian Army Pick Axes, circa 1950's to 1980's, Armored Vehicle Mounted Pick Mattock

Recently there has been a "ton" of Italian military surplus gear showing up all over the surplus markets.  I've been picking up a few choice pieces here and there, and just recently added two Italian Army pick axes to the collection.

These two picks are most likely from the early post-war era, circa 1950's through the 1980's.

One of the picks appears to be from the early post-war days, possibly the 1950's, and the second appears to be from a later date, possibly the 1970's.  This estimate is based on style, wear and construction  of the pick heads and handles.

These picks appear in nearly all of the old field photos of Italian Army armored vehicles and tanks taken in the 1970's through the 1980's and sometimes into the 1990's.  They mostly appear mounted on the sides of the Leopard Tanks, and on the various Puma wheeled armored vehicles. 

Italian Army Leopard tanks 1972

Italian Army Puma 4x4

The "oldest" of the two picks, has the roughest handle.  The handle is heavy hardwood, that at one time had the end broken off.  Instead of replacing the handle, it appears that it was just repainted, over and over, and continued in service.

The head on this older pick has smoother lines, indicative of the older forgings.  

The head has been painted black at one time, and green at other times.  Great patina!

The "newest" of the picks, has a much cleaner handle, with a rounder profile to the wood.  The older handle is more oval with flat sides.

The head on this newer pick has sharper angles and is not as "streamlined" as the older pick.  Based on this style, I would date this pick later, in the 1970's and newer era,  Just a guess of course.

These picks are full-sized and heavy!  I love adding these pioneer tools to the collection when they can be clearly attached to such wonderful old armored vehicles and can be seen in the old photos.  It really makes the research easier that way!

Let's take a closer look.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bugarian Canteens, WW2 or Early Post War, Aluminum with Wool Covers

Here is an interesting trio of old canteens that I recently picked up  to add to the canteen and mess kit collection.

These canteens are from the old Bulgarian Army.  They date either to the WW2, or early Cold War era.  There is not much information about Bulgarian equipment available, so most of my dating comes from bits I've picked up from old photos and from assessing the general patina and condition of the items.

One of these canteens has the clamped-on belt clip, and the other two are just plain necked, with no clip.

I believe that the canteens without clips were carried in a harness assembly with shoulder strap.  The clipped version, connected directly to the belt.

WW2 Bulgarian Officer with his canteen clipped to the belt.

All three of the canteens have new, replacement canteen covers made of wool (or they are mint condition, WW2 era).  The wool is coarse, and the color shades vary between them.

The metal eyelets are poorly installed and crimped, and tend to pull free of the cloth when the laces are tightened.  This leads me to believe that all of the covers are post-war made (quality was much poorer during the post-war communist era).

Two of the canteens are bright, new, and appear unused and un-issued.  The third one is a bit more interesting.

This third canteen is well used, and shows considerable wear on the outer metal surface.  In fact, there are a couple of initials scratched into it and some penciled marks and stars!

The  patina and markings on this used canteen make me think that it was carried for quite some time without a cover.  I have no way to confirm this, but that would make sense.

The overall quality of the aluminum bottles is very poor.  The threads on the necks are coarse and do not fit well with the threads in the caps.  These do not look like they were made to a very high quality specification.  Possibly made at the end of WW2 or during the "poor times" during post-war, Communist Bulgaria.

There's not much else to say about these canteens.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves.