Thursday, January 30, 2020

Finland Entrenching Tool - Shovel, Re-Issued Imperial Russian Simplified Small Infantry Shovel, 1915, M.I. Terebin and Sons "И.М. Теребина сыновья", Winter War, Continuation War 1939 - 1945

Today we'll be taking a look at a very seldom seen entrenching tool (at least it is rare here in the USA), with quite a history.

This shovel is what is known as a "Simplified Small Infantry Shovel".  These shovels were produced back before the Russian Revolution, in Imperial Russia.

This particular Simplified Shovel, was last used by the Finland Army.  The shovel is painted in the common "Finland Green" paint, and has the shovel blade punched with a hole for carrying on a belt hook.  These re-issued shovels were used well into the Cold War era by Finland.

The blade is marked with the "SA" stamp indicating it was accepted and reissued by the Finland Army.

It is also stamped with the letter "P" which indicates the Engineer, or Pioneer division of the army.

The "SA", "P", and the hole, all would have been applied back before the Winter War of 1939, when the shovel was captured from Imperial Russia when Finland broke away back in 1918.

Prior to 1918, this shovel was in the service of Imperial Russia, and since it was captured by Finland, it is safe to assume it was in service with Russian troops in Finland.

This shovel is marked with the maker's stamp of "И.М. Теребина сыновья", or in english, M.I. Terebin and Sons.  This maker was first established back in 1908, and was a small manufacturer in the Russian town of Pavlovo, owned by the brothers Vasily and Alexei Terebin, and named in memory of their father Mikhail Ivanovich (the "M.I." in the name).

The Terebin and Son's manufacturing house ended production in 1918, at the time of the Russian Revolution.  After the Russian Revolution concluded, and the communists were now in power, the Industrialists and Czarist's did not fare very well.  According to Russian records, Vasily Terebin was "Rehabilitated, Shot".  Unfortunately this was an all too common ending to many Russian lives under the new communist regime.  The true story and accounting of this time of "rehabilitation", was "erased and purged", or concealed until relatively recent times.

Alexi on the left, and Vasily standing.

The two brothers with their father, Mikhail Ivanovich (on left).

The M.I. Terebin and Sons factory and employees.

Let's get back to the shovel at hand, as we contemplate the fate of Vasily Terebin, the shovel's maker.

This shovel is stamped with the year of manufacture, 1915, and "MOK".  

Basically "MOK" is assumed to mean something to the effect of "Approved by Committee", or "Mil-Spec".  To date no specific documentation has been found that specifies the official meaning of the "MOK" stamp.

The "Simplified Small Infantry Shovels" were made from the Summer of 1915 until the Fall of 1916.  During this time frame, approximately 3,000,000 shovel were made by many different manufacturers, for the military.  Only a small portion of them went to the infantry in the field.  The majority were sent to warehouses and storage facilities.

These Simplified Shovels, are the predecessors of the later, WW2 and Cold War, MPL-50 shovels used by Russia and the Soviet Union, all the way up until recent years.  

Before we take a closer look at this shovel, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my fellow researcher and collector, Pavel.  Without his help, and the research made available from many of his fellow researchers in Russia, and around the world, I never could have told this brief history and story behind this rare shovel.  I apologize in advance for any errors I may have incorporated into this posting.  I struggle with researching these obscure items that are only documented in old Russian documents, or research papers written in Russian.  Thank you Pavel and company!

Now let's take a closer look at this wonderful M.I. Terebin and Sons, "Simplified Small Infantry Shovel".