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Soldiers were issued individual intrenching tools for use in bivouac and combat. Rather than relying on larger shovels, axes, and picks, soldiers were able to carry smaller tools on their equipment. This was a concept introduced prior to 1910 when soldiers began carrying shovels, bolos, and pick mattocks hanging from their cartridge belts. With the fielding of the M1910 equipment, soldiers still carried their mobile tools attached to their haversack, under the meatcan pouch. Period infantry manuals dictated that each sqaud was to carry- 2 pick mattocks, 1 bolo or hand axe, 4 shovels, and one wire cutter.
M1910 intrenching shovel
Several variations of the post 1910 shovel exist. This example has two notches on the blade where it attaches to the handle. Also this shovel has the ordnance department's flaming bomb symbol stamped into the side of each "T" handle.
Another variation of the M1910 Intrenching shovel
The first shovel above has two notches where the blade attaches to the wooden handle. This shovel does not have that feature. The practice of the shovel being painted olive drab is a subject open to debate. Period field manuals state that the entire shovel be painted olive drab. Other sources state that only the metal parts are to be painted leaving the wood handle bare. This shovel still bears traces of light olive drab paint.
M1910 intrenching shovel, Unknown Variation
This shovel variation is a mystery among collectors. A few theories about the shovel exist-the shovel is modified M1905 with reinforced back of the blade; the shovel was made for the US Marine Corps; or the shovel is a foreign copy, possibly made by France.
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