Tuesday, October 15, 2019

1943 dated, US M-43 Entrenching Tool - Shovel with First Model Cover, Wood manufactured M43, M-43 Folding Shovel, WW2, Wade Brown Company marked cover, dated 1943

For those of you who follow the blog, you know that I have had my eye out for a Wood company manufactured, 1943 dated, US M-43 Entrenching Tool, otherwise known as a US WW2 folding shovel.

Well, I finally spotted one, and to make it an even better discovery, it also included the First Model cover, with the single, non-adjustable hanger!  Now I have all three of the original manufacturer's branded shovels from 1943:  Wood, American Fork & Hoe, and Ames.

You can read about the other other two at my blog postings here:



At some point along the way, this Wood branded shovel received a coat of black paint.  Luckily that coat of paint has mostly worn off, but is still visible here and there on the surface.

The shovel is in beautiful condition, with very clear date and maker marks.  It's a real gem!

These 1943 dated folders were the very first of the Model 1943 folding shovels that were produced for the US Military in WW2.  They were only made for a couple of months before the 1944 production year started, so they can be a bit tough to track down.

Equally tough to find, are the First Model, Model 1943 covers.  These first models had a single, fixed hanger on the back.  I believe that these were also, only produced in 1943.  In 1944, the military phased them out and introduced the adjustable hanger covers.

The covers also included additional leather inside to protect the canvas from the shovel blade.  In the later covers, the backside leather was omitted, and an adjustable attachment hook was added (you can see this Second Model cover in my other US M-43 shovel postings).

This cover is marked nicely, WADE BROWN CO. 1943

Since we've covered most of the background on these Model 1943 shovels in previous posts, lets move right along to the photos.  (be sure to check out the previous links to learn more).

Saturday, October 5, 2019

US Tri-Fold, M-67 Entrenching Shovel, compared to the German Bundeswehr Tri-Fold Entrenching Shovel, 1987

As promised in my last blog posting about my German Tri-Fold Shovel, here is the side-by-side comparison between the US and German versions.

To start off, here are the links to the two blog pages that talk about each shovel specifically.  I encourage you to check out each individual blog posting, as well as this comparison posting.  Here are the links:



I'll start things off with by saying that the two versions of these tri-fold shovels are very much alike.  In fact, they are close enough to be mixed up if only casually inspected.

The first obvious difference is the color.  Unless the shovel has been repainted, the US shovel is black, and the German shovel is green.

The second most visible difference is the way the handle is attached to the blade.

The US shovel uses the old, three rivet mount that was used on all of the previous folding shovels (M-43 and M-51 bi-fold shovels).  The German shovel uses a more squared mount, with four rivets.

The weights of the two shovels are a bit different as well.

I weighed both shovels on my scale and came up with the following weights:

US Shovel:              2 pounds, 4 ounces  (1kg, 20g)
German Shovel:      2 pounds, 8.2 ounces  ((1kg, 140g)

My guess is that the German shovel has a slightly heavier, and thicker blade, and possibly a heavier gauge metal in the handle.

The tightening nuts are  also different.  The US nut is smaller than the German nut.  The German nut also has an o-ring installed around the shovel shaft, under the nut.  I believe this is to keep dirt out of the threads.  I can't see an o-ring under the US nut, but there may be one in there as well.

The pivot points are also different.  Both pivot the same, but use different bolts.

Side-by-side, both shovels appear to be the same size, both open and folded.

The angles of the blades in the "hoe position" is slightly different between the two.  You can see the slight angle difference on the top of the blade mounts.  The difference is very slight, but there.

The dates and Maker / BUND stampings are even in the same place on the handle.

The Field reputation" of the German shovel is better.  It is a commonly held belief that the German version is the more durable and heavier built of the two, and after this side-by-side comparison, it would seem that there is some truth to that!

No matter which of the two shovels you should happen to choose, you won't be disappointed with either.  However, if you are looking for something a little heavier duty, then the German shovel would be your best choice.

Here is a quick look at two of the shovel carrier styles, side-by-side.  The German version is cloth Flektarn camo, and the US version is molded plastic.

Let's take a look at a few more photos of these shovels, side-by-side.  I hope this comparison has helped!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Bundeswehr Tri-Fold Shovel, Folding Entrenching Tool, 1987 with Flektarn Carrier - Cover, Klappspaten

Lately I've been trying to fill in all the little "missing spots" in the shovel collection, and I realized that I did not have the German version of the US, Tri-Fold shovel.  Well, the opportunity came along to pick one up, along with the Flektarn shovel carrier, at a more than perfect price, so like any good shovel collector, I snapped it up!

These German Tri-Fold shovels are nearly identical to the original, US versions, but are actually built to a heavier, and more durable standard.  In other words, over built, like nearly all German gear.  

The US came out with the first tri-fold shovel back in 1967.  Some time after that, Germany made their version for the Bundeswehr, and other federal agencies.  (I'm still unclear as the exact date Germany adopted the tri-fold shovel).

You can read about the US version on my blog posting here:

On the surface, the US and German shovels are the same, but there are a few distinct differences.  I'll do a full, side-by-side, comparison between the US and German versions in the next post.  For now I'll just point out a couple of the obvious differences.

Here is the link to the "Side-By-Side" shovel comparison, German to US tri-folders:

The first difference is the color.  The German shovels are painted green. The US version is black.

The second difference that is readily noticeable, is the handle-to-blade mount.   The US version uses the same style mount that was used on the older folding shovels.  The Germans used a more "squared", four rivet mount.

These tri-fold shovels are built heavy.  They are made out of steel, not lighter aluminum.  On my scale, the shovel weighs in at 2 pounds, 8.2 ounces. (1 Kg, 20g).  Not a lightweight shovel by any means, but much lighter and more compact than the previous German folders.
You can read about the two previous versions at the following links:



My shovel is dated 1987.   On one side of the shovel handle, it is marked BUND 87.  The BUND marking indicates it was made for German Federal service.  87 indicates the year.

The blade is marked with the contract and item specification numbers.

The shovel covers that are most often seen for these shovels, are the classic Flektarn camo versions.

My cover is dated 1995.

Printed on the inside of the cover, on the top flap, is the specification number and "Klappspaten", which means "folding shovel" in German. 

On the back of the cover, there are mounting plates for the old Bundeswehr combat belt system.  These mounts only work with the correct belt, as the holes in the belt must line up perfectly.  So, if you ever pick one of these covers up, you will have to carry it solo, use it with a German combat belt system, or devise an adapter to mount on other styles of belts. 

Like the shovels, these camo covers are also built tough!

We'll take a closer comparison look at the US and German tri-fold shovels in the next blog post, but until then, let's look closer at this Bundeswehr Klappspaten and Flektarn cover.