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M1943 entrenching tool without maker or date markings?


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Trying to figure out what I have here. I bought this entrenching tool with cover about 10 years ago and have been keeping it in the trunk of my car for emergencies (like digging out of snowdrifts while on the road). I have no doubt that the canvas cover is original, but am not so sure about the shovel after taking a closer look.

 

I reviewed the "spot a fake" guide on eBay and several threads here, and notice a few things of concern.

-Absence of maker or name under the rather crude "US" stamping on the blade of the shovel (even after scraping away old paint)

-Blade of shovel is not "spoon" shaped but rather a V-profile when looking at it from the end

 

However, the tang, aluminum adjusting nut, and handle all look to be correct to me. The shovel has at least two coats of OD paint and the metal is very hard (has gotten whacked on asphalt and concrete without bending/denting).

 

So, is this some strange variant of a legit M1943 entrenching tool or an artful fake? Could it be a "correct" entrenching tool with a repro blade?

 

Thanks in advance for the help! I'm linking to some (big) pictures for reference.

 

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I'm interested to see this, as I purchased two identical ones to this last year. One thing of note is that the end of the handle doesn't have quite the same shape as all of the "normal" M1943 tools I have (with dates and maker). It's closer to the M1961(?) pattern Vietnam era entrenching tools.

I have speculated that these may have been made sometime postwar to bridge the gap between the last year of production (1945) and the more updated M1961's. However, given the HUGE number of M1943's kicking around when the war ended, this may well be a load of bull. They just strike me as being too well made to be knockoffs, as all the imitation ones I've ever handled have been junk in comparison to the GI gear, and these are pretty damn sturdy.

Also, let's not forget the box of worms that is the M1944/M1945 E tool with pick....

WWW.FAAA.ME.UK

"Now if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that nothing is more powerful than a young boys wish.
Except an Apache helicopter, an Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive compliment of weaponry. An absolute death machine."

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Thanks for the input and comment about the handle. I should add that with the blade fully extended, the overall length of the tool is 28.25 inches. The handle does not appear to have been shortened; the "pommel" end has circular marks from being turned on a lathe.

 

I agree that the construction of the tool seems a little too sturdy for a knockoff, even if it doesn't follow a known pattern.

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I'm interested to see this, as I purchased two identical ones to this last year. One thing of note is that the end of the handle doesn't have quite the same shape as all of the "normal" M1943 tools I have (with dates and maker). It's closer to the M1961(?) pattern Vietnam era entrenching tools.

I have speculated that these may have been made sometime postwar to bridge the gap between the last year of production (1945) and the more updated M1961's. However, given the HUGE number of M1943's kicking around when the war ended, this may well be a load of bull. They just strike me as being too well made to be knockoffs, as all the imitation ones I've ever handled have been junk in comparison to the GI gear, and these are pretty damn sturdy.

Also, let's not forget the box of worms that is the M1944/M1945 E tool with pick....

 

The folding shovel with the pick was developed in 1945 and standardized as the M-1951, not the M-1961 (there is no such thing), so there was no gap in production of intrenching tools to be filled by some weird variation. Plus, as you pointed out, there were thousands of M1943 shovels around, and in use, well into the 1970's.

 

The OP's shovel is a modern reproduction. I used to have one for reenacting about 30 years ago. I actually thought mine was real at first too, but after finding no markings in the usual location, I eventually found a very small stamp that read JAPAN. Some of these are very high quality and don't look much different than the real ones.

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Thanks for the input, B229. My tool being a high-quality reproduction does answer a lot of questions. Perhaps if I were to strip off all of the paint (I'm not planning to), there might be a small "JAPAN" stamp somewhere. The cover (non pictured) looks to be original, but I know that the repro tools were often paired with issued covers to lend an air of authenticity. The vendor from which I purchased this advertised it as an issued piece, but in retrospect, they had some other repro items advertised as issued. Oh well, live and learn. I only think I paid around $20-$30 10 years ago.

 

Does this repro have any value? I would like to replace it with an issued M1943 but now want to ensure I wind up with the genuine article!

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In my mind you should be able to get out of it what you've got in it for a reenactor to use in the field (if they actually dug-in), though in my experience there seems to be a strong bias towards the "41Jacket-T-Handle Shovel-Khaki Web gear" impression in WWII reenacting to the detriment of all else.

These shovels were also made in the 60s-70s in Korea for the commercial camping market with no intention to deceive. We have one in the family and other than markings you couldn't distinguish it from my 1944 Ames.

Real ones can still be found & in the end you've certainly got at least $20 worth of tool with the shovel you've got. HTH

 

Tim

 

Thanks for the input, B229. My tool being a high-quality reproduction does answer a lot of questions. Perhaps if I were to strip off all of the paint (I'm not planning to), there might be a small "JAPAN" stamp somewhere. The cover (non pictured) looks to be original, but I know that the repro tools were often paired with issued covers to lend an air of authenticity. The vendor from which I purchased this advertised it as an issued piece, but in retrospect, they had some other repro items advertised as issued. Oh well, live and learn. I only think I paid around $20-$30 10 years ago.

 

Does this repro have any value? I would like to replace it with an issued M1943 but now want to ensure I wind up with the genuine article!

 

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When I joined my first rifle battalion (2d Bn, 4th Mar The Magnificent Bastards) in '87 I purchased a "wood handle" e-tool to use in the field at a flea market around Camp Lejeune. The folding metal ones that were issue weren't worth a dang went it came to digging. I had completely forgotten about it until I started reading this thread. I dug it out of the garage (no pun intended) and discovered it was marked US AMES 1968. The carrier is a M-1943 that appears to be named though I haven't been able to make out the previous owner quite yet. It also has an 11 in a circle marked on the back. Unfortunately both are much worse for the wear after a 20 yr infantry career but I've got a good story! I guess sometimes we don't realize what we already have. Who knew?

Semper Fi

Jeff

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