|Spade alongside early pioneer hatchet.|
I have had my eye out for a good deal on an early East German, square bladed spade for some time. There are quite a number of them floating around out there, but I was interested in one in great condition and at a great price,. That opportunity presented itself a couple of weeks ago, and now I have a new spade in the collection!
This particular spade is an early model that was produced in the 1950's by the fledgling country of East Germany, for their new army, the NVA.
When I received this shovel, the blade and lower portion of the wood handle was covered in East German, OD Green paint that had been sprayed on just prior to placing it into a long term storage warehouse. The paint was poorly applied, with bad masking lines, and tons of over spray. The first thing I did after receiving the shovel, was to pull out my trusty Acetone solvent and 3M scrubbing pad. After a bit of careful cleaning, the OD paint was gone and the original finish was revealed.
These early east German shovels are built rock-solid and are some of the toughest "trench spades" that I've encountered! The shank is attached to the blade with heavy welds that are perfectly executed. The workmanship is "old world quality", which is a bit of surprise for an East German bit of field equipment. Normally, East German gear is built lighter, and with quality standards that are a bit "lax". If it were not for the welded construction, this spade would easily be mistaken for a shovel from the WW1 or WW2 era!
The blade is finished in traditional German black, and bears the faint stampings of the "BAT logo" , a "triangled 1", and number series. The stamping on my shovel is not clear, but still there, and somewhat visible.
The photo below shows how the stamping on my shovel would appear if it was still deep and clear.
These old-style spades served with the early East German forces up until the folding shovels were issued, sometime beginning in the 1960's. After they were pulled from service, they were placed in storage to await collectors like me!
Now I will be on the look-out for an original East German leather belt carrier for this spade........ There is always something to hunt for!
Here is a link to my previous blog page about my late period, East German folding shovel. Comparing the "old and the new" is quite interesting.
Let's take a closer look at this wonderful piece of early East German gear.