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The Rare USMC WW2 T handle Shovel - what to look for


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#1 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:03 AM

Hi all

I own 2 T handle shovels, both are ww2 issue T handle shovels but one of them is the elusive and not often documented USMC issue T handle shovel. I purchased this shovel a few years back from the US and paid a pretty price for it. I thought i would document it here on the forum as i have not seen another for sale. The 2 shovels have some big diffrences, for starters the G.I issue T handle shovel is slightly thinner than the USMC one, the wood of the handle and shaft is thinner. As with the USMC one the wood is thicker.
On the actual metal shovel part the G.I

#2 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:12 AM

As with the metal Shovel part the G.I issue one is smaller and has a slightly different curve to it, the USMC one is wider and flatter.
On the back of the shovel the USMC one is reinforced with a strip of metal, the G.I one is not.
As with most USMC items , the USMC shovel is not stamped anywhere unlike the G.I issue one.
I am told the USMC issued shovels where reinforced due to the enviroments they where going to be used in, some of the pacific islands had hard rock areas which required a stronger harder shovel.
Mine is painted forest green, which was common practice for these shovels, the pics below picture the difference in , colour and reinforced parts of the shovel.
As you can see one shovel cover is depot made , unmarked with the USMC wire, the other is G.I Issue with a USMC stencil.

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  • IMGA0382.JPG
  • IMGA0383.JPG

Edited by ArchangelDM, 06 March 2013 - 08:20 AM.


#3 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:14 AM

The 2 shovel Blades

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#4 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:15 AM

The reinforced back of the USMC shovel

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#5 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:16 AM

The G.I issue shovel with the US stamp, and the arrow head on the G.I Issue shovel

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#6 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:19 AM

the 2 side by side

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#7 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:22 AM

The shafts of the 2 shovels

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#8 doyler

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:25 AM

I have one of the reinforced models(USMC).There is a faint ink stamp on it marked FRANCE.Havent heard any theories on the marking.I wonder if mine was imported back into the US years ago from France as surplus we possibly sold them??

#9 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:43 AM

I have one of the reinforced models(USMC).There is a faint ink stamp on it marked FRANCE.Havent heard any theories on the marking.I wonder if mine was imported back into the US years ago from France as surplus we possibly sold them??


Thats an interesting one R.D , im guessing surplus like you said and returned after the war. Does yours show wear , use in the field

#10 jgawne

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:49 AM

I would never claim to know anything about Marine Stuff, but I wonder if there is an ordnance bomb stampoed in the wood on one end of the horizontal handle. This is sometimes found on Army shovels, and is thought to be a good indicator of WW1 era.

I woul tend to doubt the story of needing to be stronger due to where Marines would fight, as Marines have traditionally prepared to fight everywhere! It would make more sense that they just wanted a stronger shovel so as to reduce breakage (and thus expendature) or it would make a better close combat weapon!


Has this difference ever been documented in Marine paperwork? The Marines seemed to be quite good at keep test results of different variations of stuff. ?

#11 LtRGFRANK

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:09 AM

Just talked to my Son in Georgia. He has most of our shovel collection. He confirmed we have one also. We never new about it and the reinforcement. Now we know. Learn someting new on the Forum. Robert

#12 Bob Hudson

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:26 AM

Here are some other forum topics about the USMC shovels and carriers

http://www.usmilitar...c-shovel-cover/

http://www.usmilitar...showtopic=58480

http://www.usmilitar...scabbard-cover/

#13 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:28 AM

Has this difference ever been documented in Marine paperwork? The Marines seemed to be quite good at keep test results of different variations of stuff. ?



Hi
these spades where documented in a USMC book, which one i cannot remember. There is no ordanance stamp anywhere and there is no US Stamp either, they are WW2 issue and USMC i believe.
With regards to the reinforcement i am going on what i was told by an old collector, fighting hand to hand with them is another good reason they where reinforced, also the marines loved to be different so that could be another. As with most Marine core items they love double stitching and making things stronger and more pratical, not to mention making them different from G.I issue gear.
These spades are a bit of quandry as they are not widely discussed, documented or pictured. I know for a fact one is in an advanced USMC collectors book , just cant remember which one :wacko:

D

Edited by ArchangelDM, 06 March 2013 - 09:33 AM.


#14 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:30 AM

Here are some other forum topics about the USMC shovels and carriers

http://www.usmilitar...c-shovel-cover/

http://www.usmilitar...showtopic=58480

http://www.usmilitar...scabbard-cover/


Thanks Bob
there are some clear differences from the ww1 cover and the ww2 issue cover

D

#15 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:32 AM

Just talked to my Son in Georgia. He has most of our shovel collection. He confirmed we have one also. We never new about it and the reinforcement. Now we know. Learn someting new on the Forum. Robert


Thanks Robert

#16 jgawne

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:18 AM

There's a file in the archives (I'd bet on it) that would be the report of a test of the standard Army shovel vs what was proposed or made for the Corps. I used to know the record group for those board reports, but sadly they are not indexed so finding it will be tough.

Now I will make tons of Marine jokes, but I really do respect the hell out of them. They tended to be very practical in their designs and with what they purchased. So I don't think it's that they liked to be different, as much as they wanted the best gear for their mission. However, due to lack of funding in the past they also were always looking forward, and if they felt that by making something slightly better, it would last a longer time and prove better value for the money that's what they would do. You have to respect that.

So I would venture that this is a difference by design and not just what some people would call a production variation. Interesting stuff. I went through the Ames Shovel archives a few years back and didn't see anything on this though.

#17 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:57 AM

There's a file in the archives (I'd bet on it) that would be the report of a test of the standard Army shovel vs what was proposed or made for the Corps. I used to know the record group for those board reports, but sadly they are not indexed so finding it will be tough.

Now I will make tons of Marine jokes, but I really do respect the hell out of them. They tended to be very practical in their designs and with what they purchased. So I don't think it's that they liked to be different, as much as they wanted the best gear for their mission. However, due to lack of funding in the past they also were always looking forward, and if they felt that by making something slightly better, it would last a longer time and prove better value for the money that's what they would do. You have to respect that.

So I would venture that this is a difference by design and not just what some people would call a production variation. Interesting stuff. I went through the Ames Shovel archives a few years back and didn't see anything on this though.


Thanks for the input :-)
These could have even been experimental,I know a few members have 1 but I'm sure they are quite a rarity.
And I totally agree with your statement on USMC equipment, that's what started me collecting it, every piece is just slightly different and each piece has character.

Thanks
D

#18 doyler

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:59 AM

Thats an interesting one R.D , im guessing surplus like you said and returned after the war. Does yours show wear , use in the field


D

Not much use and it doesnt appear re=painted either.The paint is a typical darker OD as well compared to the WW1 era shovels and the Ames dated ones I have(42-43 era)

#19 LtRGFRANK

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:43 AM

Thank you for letting me know what I had

usmcshovel.jpg

#20 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:46 AM

Thank you for letting me know what I had

usmcshovel.jpg


Not a problem , a very nice and rare USMC shovel :-)

#21 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:48 AM

D

Not much use and it doesnt appear re=painted either.The paint is a typical darker OD as well compared to the WW1 era shovels and the Ames dated ones I have(42-43 era)


Nice original condition , probably surplus as you said before. Thanks for you input R.D



#22 LtRGFRANK

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:12 PM

usmcshovel.jpg

Better picture

#23 ArchangelDM

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 12:43 PM

D

Not much use and it doesnt appear re=painted either.The paint is a typical darker OD as well compared to the WW1 era shovels and the Ames dated ones I have(42-43 era)


Nice original condition then , probably surplus like you said. Thanks for the input R.D

#24 doyler

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 01:06 PM

Nice original condition then , probably surplus like you said. Thanks for the input R.D


If you want I can post a pic later.

#25 Steve1987

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 01:41 PM

Archangel,

Interesting topic regarding the shovel. I have considered looking for one of these, but never found proof it was a genuine USMC issue item.

Regarding your depot made shovel cover unfortunately I don't think it's genuine USMC depot made item.

I don't like the color, construction, and the buckle is also not correct for me.

Right away the color looks wrong to me, and the stitching is not like the ones I've seen, in particular for the hanger.

Also, the depot-made shovel covers did not have the G.I. buckle, they used the flat buckle same as the early USMC "flat buckle" suspenders.

Hopefully some other members more experience with USMC depot-made shovel covers can add more input on your cover.

-Steve

Edited by Steve1987, 06 March 2013 - 01:50 PM.



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