Sunday, August 27, 2017

East German Field Shovel - Spade, Unknown Vintage, Square Blade, EFi marked, FDJ, NVA, DDR

Today we'll be taking a look at the latest addition to the shovel collection that has ended up being a bit of a mystery!

I recently purchased this shovel from one of my favorite online surplus companies, who just happens to have a well established track record of not describing their products correctly.  This shovel ended up being one of those very products.

The shovel was listed as a "Russian Shovel", however the stock catalog photo showed a distinctive East German spade from the 1950's to 1960's era.  I decided to take a chance because the price was good.  When the shovel arrived, I immediately noticed that it was not Russian, and not like any East German shovel I have encountered.

The shovel appears to be East German issue, however the construction appears to be of a very late period, 1980's style.  This is quite odd, because as far as I know the East German Army did not use these straight spades after the 1960's.

Compared to the old style East German spades, this shovel is lighter weight and not as sturdily constructed.  The wooden handle was visibly warped, and lighter weight. 

You can see the warp to the left in this photo.

The handle is also attached to the blade shank using a wood screw in a slot.  I have only seen this method of attachment on the late period, 1970's - 1980's pioneer shovels, never on the smaller spades.

The blade is is attached to the shank with a "recessed welded bond".  No rivets or supports on both sides of the blade. 

The blade is also over-painted in the typical "warehouse green" storage paint.  The paint under the green appears to be black.

I blade is stamped with the makers mark "EFi" and has the typical, post-war German Triangle marking, as well as a stock number.

All of these clues lead me to believe that the shovel is in fact an East German shovel that may have been issued to some sort of civil organization, or possibly used for one of the Youth Groups.  Another option would be that it was part of some sort of vehicle tool kit..........  Of course all of these are just guesses!  So, if anyone has any idea about this shovel, please contact me!

Early FDJ youth camp.

Before we get started with the photo album for this odd shovel, let's take a look at a few comparison photos.  You will see the old 1950's style shovel, the late period pioneer shovel, and the "odd shovel" we've been looking at today.   If you'd like to look closer at the old 1950's version and the pioneer shovels, you can click on the links here to jump over to their blog pages: 

Left to right: 1950's, "odd shovel", late pioneer.
"odd shovel" on top, late pioneer on bottom.
"odd shovel" on top, 1950's on bottom.

With all of that said, let's take a closer look.  If I find more information, or get a positive ID, then I'll post another blog entry.  So, all you amateur historians, and fans of the blog, let's get to researching!

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