Saturday, December 22, 2018

Norwegian Army Folding Shovel, Entrenching Tool, 1950's US Style Shovel, Norsk Forsvaret

As promised, here is the Norwegian Army Entrenching Tool, aka folding shovel.

This is another very unique shovel.  On first examination, it is easy to mistake this for a M1943, US shovel.  It is in fact, based on the US M1943, but has the blade style of a WW2 German folding shovel!

After WW2, the US Military poured equipment, uniforms, vehicles and other military items into Norway to equip the new, post-war Norwegian Army.  Initially the Norwegian Army utilized German small arms, equipment, shovels, helmets, etc., that were left behind by the occupying German Army, at the end of WW2.  In the 1950's and through the 1960's, The Norwegian Army grew to its largest numbers.  Norway was suddenly very important as a firewall to the Soviet Union in the Arctic.

After WW2, the US sent piles and piles of surplus M1943 shovels and shovel covers to Norway.  The US M1943 shovels and German folding shovels were the "standard issue" entrenching tools in the immediate post-war period.  In the 1950's, with the rapidly growing size of the army, more equipment was needed.  The Norwegians then sourced out shovels from foreign producers.  The bulk of these new shovels were produced in Belgium and the Netherlands.  The Belgian shovels were an almost exact knock-off copy of the US M1943.  The Dutch shovels were a unique hybrid, like the one I am showing today.

These "hybrid shovels" as I like to call them, combined the handles and hinging mechanism of the US M1943 and the flat blade of the WW2 German shovels (minus the back edge reinforcement strip).  These shovels remained in Norwegian service well past the 1980's and 1990's.  
The standard carrier for these shovels was the US M1943 canvas carrier, and other newer copies.

Here are a couple links to my previous posts on the US and Dutch shovels:

These post-war Belgian and Dutch shovels are all unmarked.  At least I have never seen one that has any markings.  They are well made and just as stout as the original US M1943's.

Here are a couple of links to two very good sites that have photos and the history of the Norwegian Army.

There is not much more to say about this unique shovel, so let's take a closer look at one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Polish Paratrooper Folding Shovel, Hungarian Folding Shovel, Cold War 1971, marked KT "Kontrola Techniczna"

Today we'll be taking a look at a very unique folding shovel that has one foot in the WW2 era, and the other in the Cold War era.  The shovel is a Polish Paratrooper Folding Shovel.

These very unique shovels are not commonly encountered these days, however, if you keep your eyes open, you may run across one!  If you do, I highly recommend picking it up.

These shovels were officially made for the Polish Paratroops, and for issue to special assault units.  They were adopted in 1971 and are still seen in use by the Polish military today.

At some point along the way, some of these shovels found their way into the Hungarian military.  The Hungarians issued these to their paratroops as well.  In Hungary, there seem to be two versions of this shovel.  The first is the Polish version that I am showing today, and the second is a flat, smooth blade version that may have been made domestically in Hungary.  Another possibility is that there are two versions made in Poland...........

The most interesting thing about these shovels is the fact that the shovel blade and hinge mechanism, were copied directly from the WW2 German Feldspaten!  The handle is shaped to mimic the old German shovels as well.  It almost makes me wonder if there was a Polish factory that had been making German shovels during WW2, that still had some of the old tooling set up after the war.  More research is needed on this point.

The handle on this shovel is made of heavy metal tubing, with a screw joint in the center.  The handle is also marked indicating which direction is "ON" and which direction is "OFF". 

The handle parts are kept together with a cable that runs inside, so that the parts are not lost when disassembled.  

When I received the shovel, it was broken down into two pieces (the handle).  At first I thought that the threads must be damaged, because, try as I might, I could not get it to thread together.  After quite a bit of fiddling with it, I realized that the threads are reversed! I am guessing that the handle threads are reversed so that the handle does not loosen when the blade nut is turned.  They both turn opposite.

The blade is marked with a KT and 22 inside a circle.  This is the Polish military acceptance marking that means "Kontrola Techniczna".  The 22 must be an individual inspector number.

The canvas cover is made with classic Polish canvas from the 1960's to 1980's era and appears to have originally been issued with the straight handled spade.  Since the cover has the handle hole in the bottom, it enables the shovel to be carried folded with the handle disassembled, or folded with the handle assembled.

One thing I love about these Polish covers is the rolled leather button tab.  Very nice!

I find it quite fascinating that the WW2 German folding shovel blade, and complete shovel style, continued to find its way into service with various countries after the war. 

Here is a link to one of the other "German Clones" that I have showcased.  I will be showing off a Norwegian issued shovel from the Cold War that also has the classic German blade soon, so stay tuned.

Now let's take a closer look at this very unique Polish / Hungarian shovel.