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kilogulf59 10-20-2011 12:02 PM

The Shovel or E-Tool...
The shovel or E-tool is a mighty handy item to have in the trunk or bed of your vehicle. Mine saved my keester a few times over the years. It can save your keester in other ways as well…it’s a helluva field expedient weapon as will be seen below…

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Entrenching tools can also be used as weapons. Some entrenching tools can be even sharpened to be used as bladed weapons; in fact, when used as such, the tool's sharp, thick edges are strong enough to cut through flesh and bone. During the Second World War, entrenchment spades were used in close quarters combat between German and Soviet forces during WWII. During the Korean War, the American soldier Anthony Kahoʻohanohano killed two Chinese soldiers with his entrenching tool. Soviet Spetsnaz units were well trained in combat use of shovels (or "saperka") whereas, by the nature of their missions, they only rarely used them for actual digging. Modern commando forces, too, are trained to fight with entrenchment tools.
From Spetsnaz. The Story Behind the Soviet SAS
By Suvorov Viktor

Chapter 1. - Spades and Men

Every infantryman in the Soviet Army carries with him a small spade. When he is given the order to halt he immediately lies flat and starts to dig a hole in the ground beside him. In three minutes he will have dug a little trench 15 centimetres deep, in which he can lie stretched out flat, so that bullets can whistle harmlessly over his head. The earth he has dug out forms a breastwork in front and at the side to act as an additional cover. If a tank drives over such a trench the soldier has a 50% chance that it will do him no harm. At any moment the soldier may be ordered to advance again and, shouting at the top of his voice, will rush ahead. If he is not ordered to advance, he digs in deeper and deeper. At first his trench can be used for firing in the lying position. Later it becomes a trench from which to fire in the kneeling position, and later still, when it is 110 centimetres deep, it can be used for firing in the standing position. The earth that has been dug out protects the soldier from bullets and fragments. He makes an embrasure in this breastwork into which he positions the barrel of his gun. In the absence of any further commands he continues to work on his trench. He camouflages it. He starts to dig a trench to connect with his comrades to the left of him. He always digs from right to left, and in a few hours the unit has a trench linking all the riflemen's trenches together. The unit's trenches are linked with the trenches of other units. Dug-outs are built and communication trenches are added at the rear. The trenches are made deeper, covered over, camouflaged and reinforced. Then, suddenly, the order to advance comes again. The soldier emerges, shouting and swearing as loudly as he can.

The infantryman uses the same spade for digging graves for his fallen comrades. If he doesn't have an axe to hand he uses the spade to chop his bread when it is frozen hard as granite. He uses it as a paddle as he floats across wide rivers on a telegraph pole under enemy fire. And when he gets the order to halt, he again builds his impregnable fortress around himself. He knows how to dig the earth efficiently. He builds his fortress exactly as it should be. The spade is not just an instrument for digging: it can also be used for measuring. It is 50 centimetres long. Two spade lengths are a metre. The blade is 15 centimetres wide and 18 centimetres long. With these measurements in mind the soldier can measure anything he wishes.
The infantry spade does not have a folding handle, and this is a very important feature. It has to be a single monolithic object. All three of its edges are as sharp as a knife. It is painted with a green matt paint so as not to reflect the strong sunlight.

The spade is not only a tool and a measure. It is also a guarantee of the steadfastness of the infantry in the most difficult situations. If the infantry have a few hours to dig themselves in, it could take years to get them out of their holes and trenches, whatever modern weapons are used against them.

In this book we are not talking about the infantry but about soldiers belonging to other units, known as spetsnaz. These soldiers never dig trenches; in fact they never take up defensive positions. They either launch a sudden attack on an enemy or, if they meet with resistance or superior enemy forces, they disappear as quickly as they appeared and attack the enemy again where and when the enemy least expects them to appear.

Surprisingly, the spetsnaz soldiers also carry the little infantry spades. Why do they need them? It is practically impossible to describe in words how they use their spades. You really have to see what they do with them. In the hands of a spetsnaz soldier the spade is a terrible noiseless weapon and every member of spetsnaz gets much more training in the use of his spade then does the infantryman. The first thing he has to teach himself is precision: tosplit little slivers of wood with the edge of the spade or to cut off the neck of a bottle so that the bottle remains whole. He has to learn to love his spade and have faith in its accuracy. To do that he places his hand on the stump of a tree with the fingers spread out and takes a big swing at the stump with his right hand using the edge of the spade. Once he has learnt to use the spade well and truly as an axe he is taught more complicated things. The little spade can be used in hand-to-hand fighting against blows from a bayonet, a knife, a fist or another spade. A soldier armed with nothing but the spade is shut in a room without windows along with a mad dog, which makes for an interesting contest. Finally a soldier is taught to throw the spade as accurately as he would use a sword or a battle-axe. It is a wonderful weapon for throwing, a single, well balanced object, whose 32-centimetre handle acts as a lever for throwing. As it spins in flight it gives the spade accuracy and thrust. It becomes a terrifying weapon. If it lands in a tree it is not so easy to pull out again. Far more serious is it if it hits someone's skull, although spetsnaz members usually do not aim at the enemy's face but at his back. He will rarely see the blade coming, before it lands in the back of his neck or between his shoulder blades, smashing the bones.

The spetsnaz soldier loves his spade. He has more faith in its reliability and accuracy than he has in his Kalashnikov automatic. An interesting psychological detail has been observed in the kind of hand-to-hand confrontations which are the stock in trade of spetsnaz. If a soldier fires at an enemy armed with an automatic, the enemy also shoots at him. But if he doesn't fire at the enemy but throws a spade at him instead, the enemy simply drops his gun and jumps to one side.

This is a book about people who throw spades and about soldiers who work with spades more surely and more accurately than they do with spoons at a table. They do, of course, have other weapons besides their spades.
From FM 21-150 Combatives 1992


Almost all soldiers carry the entrenching tool. It is a versatile and formidable weapon when used by a soldier with some training. It can be used in its straight position—locked out and fully extended-or with its blade bent in a 90-degree configuration.

a. To use the entrenching tool against a rifle with fixed bayonet, the attacker lunges with a thrust to the stomach of the defender along a low No. 5 angle of attack (Figure 5-56, Step 1).

The defender moves just outside to avoid the lunge and meets the attacker’s arm with the blade of the fully extended entrenching tool (Figure 5-56, Step 2).

The defender gashes all the way up the attacker’s arm with the force of both body masses coming together. The hand gripping the entrenching tool is given natural protection from the shape of the handle. The defender continues pushing the blade of the entrenching tool up and into the throat of the attacker, driving him backward and downward (Figure 5-56, Step 3).

b. An optional use of entrenching tool against a rifle with fixed bayonet is for the attacker to lunge to the stomach of the defender (Figure 5-57, Step 1).

The defender steps to the outside of the line of attack at 45 degrees to avoid the weapon. He then turns his body and strikes downward onto the attacking arm (on the radial nerve) with the blade of the entrenching tool (Figure 5-57, Step 2).

He drops his full body weight down with the strike, and the force causes the attacker to collapse forward. The defender then strikes the point of the entrenching tool into the jugular notch, driving it deeply into the attacker (Figure 5-57, Step 3).

c. In the next two sequences, the entrenching tool is used in the bent configuration—that is, the blade is bent 90 degrees to the handle and locked into place.

(1) The attacker tries to stick the bayonet into the chest of the defender (Figure 5-58, Step 1).

When the attack comes, the defender moves his body off the line of attack by stepping to the outside. He allows his weight to shift forward and uses the blade of the entrenching tool to drag along the length of the weapon, scraping the attacker’s arm and hand (Figure 5-58, Step 2). The defender’s hand is protected by the handle’s natural design.

He continues to move forward into the attacker, strikes the point of the blade into the jugular notch, and drives it downward (Figure 5-58, Step 3).

(2) The attacker lunges with a fixed bayonet along the No. 5 angle of attack (Figure 5-59, Step 1).
The defender then steps to the outside to move off the line of attack and turns; he strikes the point of the blade of the entrenching tool into the side of the attacker’s throat (Figure 5-59, Step 2).
From a Soviet manual on close combat...

Note as well that many stick and bayonet techniques will work well for the e-tool/camp shovel.

For a PDF version of this =>
From the article in Black Belt Magazine entitled Close-Combat Training of the Soviet Special Forces

kilogulf59 10-20-2011 12:03 PM

The Shovel or E-Tool...cont.
What type to use? It’s my opinion nonetheless I would go with s decent straight handled model like the M1943 or the Glock..

Current GI style…not as handy for a weapon in my opinion due to the handle configuration…a damn good tool though. USGI top, Gerber’s version bottom….

Models from Condor…the latter of the three is a well made, basic e-tool that would make a fine weapon as well…

This is Cold Steel’s version of the Soviet/Russian E-tool…

This is the Crovel EXTREME model…extremely expensive for what it is, more at home in a yuppie H2 than is a real situation.

The old reliable and extremely versatile US M1943 GI model…great tool and weapon…the German’s produced a similar version for their Bundeswehr.

The Glock Entrenching Tool looks very promising nevertheless I have not examined one personally…I will and if it’s as good as it seems, I believe it will be “my” model…

The bottom line is this…a shovel is a handy tool to have with you and I don’t know of any jurisdiction where they are restricted.

c3shooter 10-20-2011 02:10 PM

That's where I used to carry my blasting caps. Usually 6 of them, taped flat agaisnt the inside of the blade. Blade served to shield them from impact.

JonM 10-20-2011 05:12 PM


Originally Posted by c3shooter (Post 605939)
That's where I used to carry my blasting caps. Usually 6 of them, taped flat agaisnt the inside of the blade. Blade served to shield them from impact.

that is a disturbingly good idea LOLOLOL

i keep a etool in my truck. never know when you need a handy hole

Glockcurmudgeon 10-20-2011 05:22 PM

Outstanding, Sir!

Bravo Zulu. Information that can save lives. No BS, useful, and absolutely solid. Everybody here should copy your post, and hand it out to their family members and friends.


Glockcurmudgeon, out...

kilogulf59 10-20-2011 07:11 PM


Originally Posted by c3shooter (Post 605939)
That's where I used to carry my blasting caps. Usually 6 of them, taped flat agaisnt the inside of the blade. Blade served to shield them from impact.

LOL...I like that idea as well...actually that's a damn good idea! :D


Originally Posted by Glockcurmudgeon (Post 606052)

Bravo Zulu. Information that can save lives. No BS, useful, and absolutely solid. Everybody here should copy your post, and hand it out to their family members and friends.


Glockcurmudgeon, out...

Thank you and no need to copy it...try this...The Shovel or E-Tool by Kilogulf59

Poink88 10-20-2011 07:20 PM

I'll go a bit further (same line of thought)...almost everything can be used as a weapon if needed...pen, umbrella, keys, handkerchief, screwdriver, hammer, stone, brick, stick, etc.

OC357 10-20-2011 08:03 PM

I have the German version similar to the M-1943 except the belt holster/pouch is leather with 2 buckles holding the tool in place (instead of the canvas pouch). I also have the fold-up US made one from the Nam era. They both work good and live in the jeep.

Nice post Kilogulf.


trip286 10-20-2011 08:15 PM

One mind, any weapon...

Looks like I need to get myself another E-tool. I liked the issued Mattox too. It even looked like a weapon, pick blade on one side, axe blade on the other.

tellmaster207 10-20-2011 09:05 PM

Great post Kilo. Maybe it's time for a replacement for my old mil surplus with the cracked handle.

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