I have been looking at these Czech pioneer shovels for sale over in Europe from various surplus dealers, but the shipping has put them out of my reach. Then I happened to notice that they were for sale in the good old USA! I didn't hesitate. I bought one right away!
This shovel is a post-war version of the old WW2 pioneer shovels that were used by sappers in the field and mounted on the sides of nearly every Czech armored vehicle and tank.
I am guessing that this shovel is an early post-WW2 manufactured shovel based on the old style construction, but post-war quality. It is also in unissued condition, which would is unheard of for a WW2 vintage shovel.
These flat bladed, heavy riveted, shovels were the "standard" for Germany and Czechoslovakia for nearly all of the WW2 years. After the war, Czechoslovakia just continued to manufacture the old WW2 equipment, with some slightly modern improvements. They used this old style equipment well into the 2000's, until they started adopting the modern "modular systems".
The blade on this shovel is marked with a "wagon wheel" makers mark and a number. These numbers are often seen on the post-war Czech items and designate a manufacturing specification. They are normally not on the WW2 vintage items.
The wood handle on this shovel is also a bit rougher and less finished. This is typical on the post-war wood handles. During WW2, the wood handles were nicely finished and smoother on the ends.
This shovel is a real beast! It is heavy, and built to last a hundred years. It's no wonder this style endured for so long in the Czech Army.
Let's take a closer look.