I have been keeping my eyes open for an original shovel cover for my early post-WW2, Dutch folding shovel. Well, I found one at a small military surplus store in Idaho. I contacted the company and ordered one up. It arrived the other day.
The company really hooked me up with a beauty! This shovel cover is in near perfect, lightly used, condition. In fact it appears that it had been installed on a shovel, but barely carried at all.
The back side of the cover still has the original inked markings that are amazingly, still visible. This is a very rare occurrence! Usually these shovel covers have ink markings that are so faded that they are nearly invisible, or no longer visible at all.
The markings on the back of my cover show the date of 1955. Above the date, it is marked, in large letters: M. v. O. This stands for Ministerie van Oorlog, or Ministry of War. There are some other numbers that I assume are some sort of contract number, or item specification numbers that are quite faint.
You can read about the shovel that these covers were made for in an earlier blog posting. You see that post here:
5-8-18 Update: I was contacted by a longtime follower of the blog, from the Netherlands. He had some very interesting information, including the meaning of M.v.O. In addition to this, he also has researched and has not been able to ascertain why the Dutch Army had adopted a WW2 style German shovel, as opposed to the US style that was already in use. Still a mystery! Regarding the use of WW2 German equipment, he did have this little bit of information. He said his father who, as a recruit, in the Dutch Army back in 1957, carried the WW2 German Mauser as a PT rifle (physical training and drill), and carried the US M1 Garand as a shooting rifle for duty. He said that the German Mausers still had all of their Nazi markings on them, even after the wartime occupation, and after they were put into Dutch military service (nothing was "scrubbed")! So it would seem that there was a mix of some of the old WW2 German equipment that was put into service in the 1950's, post-war era. Thank you Mark for that information!
Immediately following WW2, the US and UK supplied the Royal Dutch Army with military equipment. As the Dutch soldiers entered the early post-war era, and moved into the Cold War, they were wearing US helmets, entrenching tools, various pouches, etc. Along with The US gear, they were equipped with UK surplus pouches and bags. To top that all off, they had some Dutch made gear as well that was constructed in either the US or UK style.
There is a wonderful series of Dutch uniform and gear load outs over at the IACM Forum. If you scroll down a bit, you will see the uniform and field gear display, circa 1953 - early 1960's. On the back of this mannequin you will see this shovel cover (worn in an inverted position!).
By the time the 1950's rolled around, the Dutch needed new shovel covers for their old US folding shovels, so they made a new Dutch version of the US cover. When they needed more shovels, they started producing their own version of the WW2 German folding shovels. (I have my own opinions and speculations about this, and you can read about my thoughts over at my previous shovel positing. Use the previous fourbees link). Along with the "German" shovels, they made a completely Dutch shovel cover to go with it.
These Dutch covers, for the "German shovel", were an odd mix of US and WW2 German styles combined. The overall style was German, with a "German leather" front. The straps were equipped with US style "lift the dot" snaps, and the back was canvas in the US style. The end result is a 100% unique, Dutch cover!
These covers are often found being advertised as "early German covers". I think that may be because many folks can't seem to tell the difference between "Dutch" and "Deutsch". Just a guess............ Whatever the reason is, it makes it a bit tough to track these down!
Without further delay, let's take a closer look.