Original Pre-WWII Finnish Infantry Shovel
Original Item: Acquired in IMA’s the recent exclusive purchase from the Finnish Army. These steel and wood infantry shovels, or trench spades, were used extensively before WWII up until the 1970s.
As used in the Winter War of 1939-40 and the Continuation War of 1941-44, these were imported directly from Finland and bear SA (Finnish Army) markings but are undated. The handle of the shovel is comprised completely of wood, which contrasts with the later manufacture that used a metal yoke.
The shovelheads have a distinctive six-rivet configuration, with wood shaft, steel wishbone handle and wood grip. The heads have the distinctive hole in the upper corner, a classic attribute of the Finnish army to allow the shovel to be attached to a backpack while troops were on the move.
Styles vary slightly, as does appearance, paint, finish, but all are in sound useable condition. Please see photos for style variations. Length is approximately 25-27 inches overall.
History the German & Finnish Alliance-
In 1938 Finland became very concerned with Stalin's Soviet expansionism and turned to Great Britain and France for support. Both Countries were under supplied themselves so Finland, perhaps reluctantly turned to Nazi Germany for aid. Hitler was swift to assist supplying great quantities of materiel including thousands of German Battle Helmets.
The Russians invaded Finland in 1939 driving deep into the country. The Finns resisted with amazing tenacity that has been the subject of legend and the wonderful WW2 Movie "THE WINTER WAR" (offered by IMA). The Russians paid a very heavy price and sued for peace in early 1940 keeping the invaded areas of Finland. Finland totally exhausted agreed with great regret.
In the summer of 1941 Hitler’s Nazi War Machine invaded the Soviet Union driving everything before them. Finland whom had received so much help from Germany then rose up and drove the Soviet presence out of Finland. However Finland would not "invade" the Soviet Union, they declared themselves not to be aggressors.
It is true however that the Germans recruited great numbers of Finnish "Volunteers" for their "SS UNITS" that did invade Mother Russia but that was true of all the overrun European Countries and even some others, still independent including apparently England and the United States, although these number were said to be very low.
At the close of WW2 with Germany defeated Finland was highly penalized by the Soviet Union, again gave up the lost territory of 1939/40 but did manage to retain it's independence unlike so much of Eastern Europe.
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