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


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#51 etienne

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:00 AM

And the rare depot made camo shovel covers :-) man I want one of those


Oh yes ... my brain didn't even try to mention it as it's the grail, holy but unattainable :blush:

#52 ArchangelDM

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:29 AM

Oh yes ... my brain didn't even try to mention it as it's the grail, holy but unattainable :blush:


Agreed, I have made it my mission to find one at a reasonable pic :-)

#53 1940Desoto

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:23 PM

As supporting evidence to the genuine nature of these covers, you often see them with cutters tags. I don't own one, I'm still looking for one sans the spurious US stamp. I believe that they are 1945 vintage.

Etienne makes a good point re the large amount of T handled shovels on hand and the fact that these covers were no longer being made. However, we must ask the question...why are so many GI issue covers and these USMC cover turning up in quantity and unissued.

It is my educated guess that the Marine covers would be suitable for display with the roll top haversacks.

Oh yeah...regarding the 3 Dollar note, there goes my retirement investment, I thought I was onto a winner. Are they flammable....it is going to be a long winter.

Cheers

Sean

#54 kabar44

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:55 PM

Well, for what it's worth, the first one of these that I saw was back in the early '80s at a US Civil War memorabilia shop here in Va. At that time, there was little to no interest in them. The place was called Stars and Bars and was west of Fredericksburg.

As a follow up....didn't the Marine's adopt a fixed blade shovel in limited quantities in '44 or '45 ? I suspected that this cover may have been intended for them. The shovel was the same dimensions as the folding GI shovel without the locking collar if I remember correctly. Just a thought.

#55 'Flage Guy

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:56 PM

My word, it sure didn't take this topic long to fire up into a major discussion! :D Arch, thanks for starting this one.

I snagged one of these Shovels years ago from some good surplus/militaria dealers in Houston. The first thing to catch my eye was the forest green paint applied to an almost-new Shovel. As you also noted, the shaft and T-grip were noticeably thicker than any of the other dozen or so M1910s in the pile, as well as the heavier blade and stamped construction differences. Therefore, it rests in the Marine/Navy Room...uuh, I mean spare bedroom...

Shovel, M1910, Ordnance #1 USMF.JPG

#56 'Flage Guy

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:57 PM

Shovel, M1910, Ordnance #5 USMF.JPG

#57 'Flage Guy

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:58 PM

Shovel, M1910, Ordnance #9 USMF.JPG

#58 'Flage Guy

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:59 PM

Shovel, M1910, Ordnance #8 USMF.JPG

#59 'Flage Guy

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:00 PM

Shovel, M1910, Ordnance #10 USMF.JPG

#60 'Flage Guy

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:14 PM

I've been blessed through the years with a couple of the oddball Covers for these. One of them was picked up quite incidentally from a fellow Marine collector who sold it complete with a standard Shovel, and who was a little surprised that I thought it to be a Marine Corps Cover, as the wierd hooks attested to (there was almost no reference material for M.C. stuff at that time).
The second was bought from an old-time dealer who had a stack of them in the old shipping carton, mostly tied in bundles with cotton twine. He had the original requisition and shipping slips; even after I made one of my insane- ah, I mean generous offers for the box and both slips, he turned me down (he collected too ;) ). And as was speculated here already, the dates on the slips were late-War.
Besides the giveaway attachment hooks, the "US" on these Covers is identical in font and size to the stencils on the HBT Utility Coats:

Shovel Cover, U.S. #4 USMF.JPG

Edited by 'Flage Guy, 07 March 2013 - 03:17 PM.


#61 'Flage Guy

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:15 PM

Shovel Cover, U.S. #3 USMF.JPG

#62 Ronnie

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 07:53 PM

I agree with etienne regarding these covers. Having acquired mine over 10 years ago, this is the first I have heard of them being outright 'fake' covers. We have discussed these in the past here on the Forum and as far as I am aware, they are legitimate period manufactured USMC pieces of web gear.

Why would you 'fake' a USMC shovel cover and stamp it with a US on the front? I sure wouldn't go to the trouble of adding cutter tags either. In my opinion the 'US' stamps were likely added by an enterprising dealer to make them appear legitimate US 'Army' issue covers. They were probably late war USMC stock that sat in a depot and never saw the light of day.

These covers are also featured in numerous USMC publications and articles. Not that you should believe everything you read, but just sayin'...

If these are determined 'fake' covers then fair enough, but I'll be interested to see how this topic develops and hear the opinions of other USMC collectors.

Will


The addition of the U.S. stamp qualifies these as fake. People go to great lengths to cheat us out of money. I looked at a Luger today that had been modified by changing the serial number.......to number 1. Also the T Handle was declared limited standard in 43, I think, so why would they make covers in 45? But it doesn't matter to me as if they added the U.S. they killed these pieces. We had a dealer in Memphis that went thru a whole case or two of wire cutter pouches and stamped each one with a USMC mark. The problem there was, they weren't stamped at all so he ruined them! I learn something everyday and these may be right but I just don't see it.


#63 etienne

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:33 PM

The addition of the U.S. stamp qualifies these as fake. People go to great lengths to cheat us out of money. I looked at a Luger today that had been modified by changing the serial number.......to number 1. Also the T Handle was declared limited standard in 43, I think, so why would they make covers in 45? But it doesn't matter to me as if they added the U.S. they killed these pieces. We had a dealer in Memphis that went thru a whole case or two of wire cutter pouches and stamped each one with a USMC mark. The problem there was, they weren't stamped at all so he ruined them! I learn something everyday and these may be right but I just don't see it.


We are going into a rhetorical discussion about wether the added US make them a fake or not ;)

Either the US was added at the end of the manufacturing process (could very well be) and the covers are genuine, but unused ... either the US was stamped by a dealer willing to make more cash, and the cover is not untouched, perhaps fake but it doesn't really matters.

Considering I never saw one without the stamp, even the used one I had in hand ... I guess the stamp was made very early, late war or juts post-war ... but it's just an hypothesis B)

#64 Ronnie

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:27 PM

Ok, roger that.
Ronnie

#65 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:34 AM

Jim; thanks for sharing your MC gear with us...A treat as always! Good way to round out the discussion too...Don't suppose you managed to get a copy of the shipping slip in the end?

Etienne could be right here, there is probably 2 likely circumstances in which the 'US' could have been added. We'll likely never be certain unless someone unearths some documentation regarding the production and ordering of these covers (nudge...Alec T!), but I think we can be fairly certain the covers themselves are legitimate.

Great reference topic.

Will

#66 ArchangelDM

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:28 AM

Great reference topic.

Will



Thanks Will
I thought the shovel and cover needed to be highlighted for future reference

#67 Bagman

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 02:09 PM

We'll likely never be certain unless someone unearths some documentation regarding the production and ordering of these covers (nudge...Alec T!), but I think we can be fairly certain the covers themselves are legitimate.

Great reference topic.

Will


O.K. Gentlemen-

Now that this thread has about run its course, it's time for me to stir the pot a little. You've all convinced yourselves that the shovel cover in question is a legitimate Marine Corps manufactured item. The issues still in doubt are the why and when of the manufacture of these covers, right?

Starting from that assumption, and taking note of Will's statement quoted above, I submit that we CAN, in fact, provide an answer to the "when" part of our dilema, even though the particulars make little sense.

We actually have visual printed evidence as to when some of these ET covers were made. It is available on those little yellow "cutter tags" that are on the two covers currently listed on ebay for which links were earlier provided. Pictures of these tags will be posted later.

Items made by the Marine Corps for its usage appear to have always had these tags stapled to them when completed. Most of the coded info recorded on the tags is indecipherable to us now because it was used for accounting purposes within the supply system, but in my experience, the fiscal year date to which the cost for manufacture of an item was to be charged always was shown.

Sometimes, the entire year is shown, and sometimes , only the last two digits appear. When two digits were shown, there always seems to be a single letter following the year. My best guess is that the letter is some form of code to indicate month of manufacture. I do not believe it is the first letter of the name of the month because there are several months that begin with the same letter.

Looking at the tags on the covers in the links earlier posted, the fiscal year is shown in the lower right corners of both tags as "52 j". i.e. fiscal year 1952!!!

Why these covers were being made at that late date is anybody's guess. Their construction methods seem at variance with covers made in the WW II and before time frame. Stitching seems cruder to me, and the first use I have ever seen of those "round" strap tips by the Marine Corps' depot, was on P41 pack components made in the 1951-1952 time frame.

I could be convinced that I am just "full of it" here, but someone needs to explain those pesky cutter tags.....

The "when" of these covers is, in my opinion, FY1952.

The "why" is ??????????

Respectfully submitted for your abuse and shredding of my ill-considered comments,

Terry ("Bagman")

Edited by Bagman, 08 March 2013 - 02:19 PM.


#68 Bagman

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 02:13 PM

Here are the cutter tags on the two covers currently listed on ebay. If someone would care to show additional pics from those auctions for future reference, please do so.

Bagman

Attached Images

  • 1952ETcvr1_a.jpg
  • 1952ETcvr2_a.jpg

Edited by Bagman, 08 March 2013 - 02:13 PM.


#69 'Flage Guy

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:46 PM

Don't suppose you managed to get a copy of the shipping slip in the end?

Will


No Will, I sure didn't! Both slips were Marine Corps headed, too! The dealer was, and is an M.C. collector himself, so he didn't want to turn them loose.
As with so many other times, I sure wish I'd have had a digital camera with me :blush:

#70 'Flage Guy

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:56 PM

Terry, I was thinking the same thing...as all the Marine cutter tags I've ever seen are dated, it makes perfect sense that the "52" on both of those tags is the date.

And if these Covers were made after the War, then there is at least one Pack display (post #60) which will have to be slightly altered...

#71 etienne

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:10 PM

Thanks for the insight, Terry ;)

Now we know more about these covers, and it strengthen the hypothesis of a Depot manufacture for M1910 shovels, Army covers not being available anymore in the early 50s.

Edited by etienne, 08 March 2013 - 11:10 PM.


#72 Corpsmancollector

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 01:37 AM

Terry,

I was waiting for you to step in! Excellent analysis, as always...And a fully reasoned and logical conclusion. You make a good point about the later Korea War era pack sets using the same buckles. That hadnt occurred to me before. My cover doesn't have a cutter tag, but most I have seen appear similar to those you have posted above.

Spot on!

Will

#73 Steve1987

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 04:50 PM

Woaw! Terry (Bagman) thanks for this breakthrough.

Your research seems to explain everything - I think this mystery is now solved. I always thought these were outright fakes, but given all the points brought up this makes a lot more sense, I think both sides can be satisfied.

Is it possible that the shovels are also from the same era? Is it proven 100% they are WWII production? I looked for hours trying to find a WWII photo of a marine with this "re-enforced" shovel to no avail...

-Steve

Edited by Steve1987, 10 March 2013 - 04:51 PM.


#74 Marchville1918

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:17 AM

The USMC bought a lot of web gear in that 52-53 Korean War period. We see the 52 date Collet canteen covers, the 52 date USMC marked etool covers for the 43 pattern etool, the 55 dated Reif ammo belts and the 53 dated Mitchell shelter halves. It might well make sense that they would have bought (or made) some shovel covers for the older T handled shovels. They probably had some of the older shovels left on hand.

#75 Baron3-6

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:09 AM

They probably had some of the older shovels left on hand.


I'm sure they did, but not enough to use up all these covers....or the 2 pocket grenade pouches, or the mosquito net/helmet covers....and all the other tidbits of NOS USMC gear that float around in space :D

Great thread and great info! Thanks!


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