Thursday, January 31, 2019

Italian Army Shovel, Entrenching Tool, Spade, WW1 , WW2, and Afrika Korps

Today we'll take a quick look at a seldom seen entrenching tool.

This shovel is from the Italian Army and dates to the WW1 era.  It is a rough one, but hey, you don't see them very often, so let's take a look!

These shovels are a "one-of-a-kind" design that was only officially used by the Italian Army.  They were first issued during the WW1 years and continued in Italian service through WW2 and even through the the early post-war 1950's.

If you look close at some of the old German Afrika Korps photos from WW2 North Africa, you sometimes see some of the German soldiers carrying these shovels as well.  Since the Germans fought alongside their Italian allies in the desert, it makes sense that they were adopted.  Often it is the German sappers that tend to be seen using these.  It is my guess that the folding shovels would tend to get sand and grit in the blade hinge and tightening nut on the German folders, so a straight spade would have definite benefits in that regard.  The sappers were often laying landmines, so a sturdy, straight handled shovel would have been the perfect tool.

This particular shovel has a natural wood handle which would indicate that it was never re-issued after WW2.  In the late 1940's and 1950's these old shovels were painted green when they were reissued.  The wood handle is warped from the inclusion a very large knot in the wood.  I have found that many Italian shovels and military tools did not use the best wood, and warped and "wonky" handles are quite common.  

You can read about two of my old Italian pick axes that I posted a page on a few years ago.  One of the axes has the "typical" poor wood that is commonly seen on these old Italian tools!

There are also a number of small holes in the handle, most likely from powder post beetles.  This is quite common on very old tools that have been stored for decades in a pile, in an old warehouse.  I think it would be safe to say that may have been the fate of this particular shovel.

The blade has half of the rivets sheared off.  I am guessing that this shovel had some pretty hard use and abuse before relegated to the warehouse.  

The two slots in the blade are for strapping the shovel to the field pack or to the combo-frog that held both the rifle bayonet and the shovel.  As far as I know, Italy was the only country to use this carrying method.

I have located another shovel of this type that is on its way to my bunker as I type!  So, while we're waiting for that new shovel, let's take a closer look at this old veteran.  Enjoy.

*UPDATE 2-17-19:  You can read about the new shovel in my next blog post, or click this link: 

UPDATE 7-23-19:  you can read about the Italian Navy shovel cover that fits this shovel here:

Friday, January 25, 2019

Swedish Army Shovel Comparison, Model 1912, - Model 1942, - Model 1942 Post-War, Fältspade, Finnish Winter War Spade Comparison

To finish up my last run of Swedish Army shovels, I thought, "Why not do a comparison?".  So I drug out my three spades and lined them up, side-by-side.  In addition to the Swedish comparison, I also lined up one of the old Winter War Finland shovels so that we can compare the differences between the Swedish and Finnish, WW2 versions.  That photo comparison follows the Swedish photos, so be sure to scroll all the way down.

Model 1942 Post-War,  Model 1942,  Model 1912

I have covered each of these in previous posts, but if you'd like a quick path to go back and read a bit more in depth, here are the links:

Model 1912

Model 1942

Model 1942 Post-War Green

Since I've already showed each of these of in detail in the previous posts, I think we'll just get on with the album, and let the photos speak for themselves.

Model 1942 Post-War,  Model 1942,  Model 1912

Model 1942 Post-War,  Model 1942,  Model 1912

Model 1942 Post-War,  Model 1912

Now lets take a look at the Finnish shovel next to the Swedish shovel.  Both of these are from the WW2 era.  You can read more about the Finnish shovel here:

Swedish on left, Finnish on right

Swedish on left, Finnish on right

Finnish on left, Swedish on right

Swedish on left, Finnish on right

Finnish on bottom, Swedish on top

Finnish on left, Swedish on right

Swedish on left, Finnish on right

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Swedish Army Shovel / Spade, Post-War Version , WW2 1942 -1945, Model 1942 Sweden, Fältspade

Continuing on from yesterday's post, here is the Post-War version of the Model 1942 Swedish Shovel.

After WW2, Sweden continued to issue out the WW2 shovels, with one modification.  They were painted "post-war green".  I believe that this re-painting occurred sometime in the late 1950's, about the time that the new Model 1958 folding shovels were manufactured and issued.  It is likely that the old WW2 Model 1942 shovels were placed into storage at that time, or issued to reserve troops.  The fact that this particular shovel appears to have never been used after painting, would tend to confirm that observation.

You can read about the WW2, Model 1942 version in my blog post here:

You can read about the Post-War, folding, Model 1958 shovels here:

There is not much more to be said about these green shovels, that hasn't been covered in my previous post, so let's just jump to the photo album.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Swedish Army Shovel / Spade, WW2 1942 -1945, Model 1942 Sweden, Fältspade

Today we'll be continuing on with another shovel from one of my favorite countries.......... 

This shovel is a Swedish, WW2 version, of the older Model 1906 shovel / spades.

You can see my blog posting on the Model 1906 shovel here:

You can read about he Post-War green painted versions in my blog post here:

When Sweden mobilized for the home defense, at the beginning of WW2, they only had the old, pre-WW1, vintage equipment on hand to issue out, and that was not going to be enough.  It became obvious very quickly that new equipment was going to have to be manufactured for the newly mobilized troops.  To speed this process, quite a few of the old items were re-designed and "upgraded" for quicker production.   The tried-and true Fältspade, better known as the 'trench shovel" was no exception.

The "new" shovel was a slightly modified version of the model 1906.  Production for this new, WW2 version started in 1942 and continued through to the end of the war.

Basically, the only modification was the "D"-handle.  The new version used a metal yoke with a wood hand grip, that was riveted in place.  The older version was all wood. 

The finish was left natural, with the metal blade portion painted black.

These shovels are stamped with the Three-Crowns stamp on the front of the blade shank.  Sweden started using the Three-Crowns stamp in 1942.

These WW2, model 1942 shovels, were used though the war, and well into the Cold War years.  In my next post, I'll be showing one of the WW2 re-issued "Cold War Versions".  It is the same shovel, just painted green.

These model 1942 shovels have a hole punched in the blade, just like their predecessors, so it could be hung from a belt clip.  No blade covers were issued.

Be sure to check out the blog posting on my Model 1906 for a great comparison. 
Here is the album.  Enjoy!