Small Infantry Shovel: a History of a Century and a Half
Authors: Oleg V. Tikhanychev
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The object of the research is the development of an individual entrenching tool. The subject of the study is the influence of the conditions of warfare and the development of technologies on the change of a small infantry shovel, as one of the elements of equipping a soldier.
One of the important elements of the equipment of a soldier is a wearable trench tool – a small infantry shovel. The history of this instrument dates back a century and a half. In 1869, Danish army captain Mads Linnemann patented a variant of the M.1870 infantry shovel, which is a shortened version of the sapper shovel. However, shovels of reduced length were used in the army before Linnemann. Linneman's merit is that, firstly, he determined the optimal ratio of length and performance, and secondly, he proposed to transfer the tool from specialized sapper units to the infantry, allowing the infantryman to dig in on his own, anywhere and at any time, without waiting for the arrival of engineering units.
For more than one hundred and fifty years of the history of the infantry shovel, a fairly large number of different modifications of these products have been developed and accepted for supply: both successful ones that have been developed in new models of trench tools, and unsuccessful ones that have served only as an example of how not to do it. The article discusses the most interesting of these cases, analyzes the features of the development of the design of infantry shovels, their influence on the development of the soldier’s equipment, both in historical retrospective and in modern times.