Military Review

Hand-to-hand combat by sapper shovels: from the battalion’s story


Today it’s hard to imagine a large-scale military conflict in which it would come to hand-to-hand combat. The issue can be solved by high-precision ammunition, an adjustable bomb. But in fact, there are still enough armed conflicts in the world to this day, where opponents literally converge face to face - in a limited area, including city blocks. In such a situation, everything can go into business - if there is a small infantry shovel, which is sometimes called a sapper, then it too.

During the Great Patriotic War, hand-to-hand combat was not uncommon. Sometimes it was in hand-to-hand combat that the fate of a local operation was decided.

One of the battles where those same small infantry shovels were actively engaged in were the famous battles for the Sinyavinsky heights. When the salvation of millions of Leningraders was at stake, it was necessary to act decisively and assertively. And the Red Army fighters acted that way. Sometimes the transition to hand-to-hand combat created special inconvenience to the enemy and German ranks rained down under our onslaught.

The battalion’s story speaks of engineer (small infantry) shovels and the effectiveness of their use in hand-to-hand combat at Sinyavinsky heights: two hundred “Fritzs” in literally 12 minutes.

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  1. Crimean partisan 1974
    Crimean partisan 1974 16 June 2020 05: 59
    about sapper (small infantry) shovels ....... well, a small infantry is a "clamshell", and a small sapper is a small one, because the handle was replaced, but in general, the most dangerous type of troops for the enemy is the construction battalion. evil tongues say that they are not even given a weapon, but what is there to argue, ENGINEERING TROOPS VIVAT THREE TIMES
    1. Reserve buildbat
      Reserve buildbat 16 June 2020 06: 27
      Your untruth. They give us weapons: axes, crowbars, shovels laughing
      1. Crimean partisan 1974
        Crimean partisan 1974 16 June 2020 06: 34
        Your untruth ....... what the truth is, all of the above is a trench tool and not a weapon. well, in general, yes ... don’t be afraid of a knife but be afraid of scrap, one hit is three fractures .. two guys from the construction battalion replace the excavator, but the one that replaces the spirit
      2. Starover_Z
        Starover_Z 16 June 2020 13: 37
        Quote: stock buildbat
        Your untruth. They give us weapons: axes, crowbars, shovels laughing

        Actually, yes. Everyone knows that - "Against the scrap No reception!"
      3. demo
        demo 16 June 2020 22: 30
        According to my close friend:
        "1983. Stroybat. Verkhnyaya Salda, Sverdlovsk region.
        One company in the company is Asian (either Kazakh or Uzbek, I don’t remember. But from a remote village.)
        The attendant with the second sentry in the dining room. Getting ready for dinner.
        At this moment, a whole bunch of officers enter the company. Including the deputy commander of the formation (about 10 battalions of the construction battalion and several more auxiliary units).
        The soldier reports - the soldier himself, the officer on duty, Private Akhmet.
        The officers laughed.
        We walked around the premises of the company.
        We looked at the Leninist room (how without it?).
        Suitable for a closed and sealed room.
        What is there, they ask?
        Armory, the daily responds.
        Discover, command.
        The orderly, poor fellow, takes out the keys and gives it to the officer.
        He opens the seal, comes in and sees 30 machine guns.
        We consulted.
        They took everything.
        They sealed with their seal and left.
        In words, the deputy commander said that the weapon would be in the commandant’s office.
        The company arrived.
        Let's go to dinner.
        The daily has changed.
        To tell about the incident the attendant either forgot or did not.
        In the evening, change of attire.
        The new attendant looks at the print and realizes that something is wrong here.
        To the company commander for a report.
        He and oh ... renal.
        The orderly was hanged for sirloin.
        I remembered.
        He told.
        And the commander was waiting for a call from lunch.
        The company commander 5 days "Guba".
        The duty officer 10 days.
        Daytime 10 days.
        For a period of three months, he did not climb out of the outfits.
        The weapon did not return to the company.
        We decided to keep out of harm's way with a commendation. And to issue the Oath. And immediately take it back. "
    2. Thunderbolt
      Thunderbolt 16 June 2020 06: 37
      They say that the German battalions beat our assault group groups in every possible way. They put out machine-gun cells, the watch was there day and night. But here at the positions of the Spanish battalions, where the eagles were specially prepared, so we launched a counterattack with equal success. The Spanish division was ready to fight , then here is the worgate, but at minus degrees ... Štrab. When the undir is Just cold, it has come, then you’ll enter
      1. Crimean partisan 1974
        Crimean partisan 1974 16 June 2020 06: 44
        The Spanish division was ready ..... I didn’t understand the shot, but what side did the hishpanzi have to do with our Shantsev instrument?
      2. KLV
        KLV 16 June 2020 08: 53
        I don’t write like that even with a hangover. Dear, take pity on our eyes and ears ...
  2. Avior
    Avior 16 June 2020 07: 00
    The saturation of troops with automatic hand weapons naturally displaced melee as a method of warfare.
    Isolated single cases are only left.
    An attached bayonet also raises questions about common sense.
    Although in World War II they tried to put it on a machine gun.
  3. Masha
    Masha 16 June 2020 08: 36
    The most important thing for a soldier
    His sapper shovel.
    She won't let a fighter down
    She will hide, protect, save.
    Don’t be lazy to dig,
    Saw, chop or throw.
    You take care of her soldiers
    It is more important than an automaton.
    Although seemingly unpretentious,
    But in business it’s easy and fast.
    Through her, your way home.
    There is a shovel! Consider alive.
    Well, with experience, dexterity
    She will help in disguise.
    Soak and clean her son,
    Until the service expires.
    Not everything, not everything is taken on faith,
    But the combat officer
    There is always something to say
    And to convey the experience of the military.
    Well, for example, in the field you -
    There is no bush or grass.
    Open to the eyes and shells
    In the shoulder rested butt.
    Take a shovel and dig.
    Take your time to heaven in heaven.
    Behind a wave a wave, for a lump
    Alive think about the living.
    Build your comfrey -
    Strawberry, on its chest,
    Many wounds have known such -
    Every veteran will tell you.
    Another example is fighting
    The enemy attacked in a crowd.
    ABOUT! This is the worst case
    They are held together in hand-to-hand combat.
    Shoot! If! Cut and hit!
    From blood, rage is only evil.
    But again, sapper shovel
    Save and protect the soldier.
    There is one secret in the MPL -
    She is the basis of all victories.
    Well, for a Russian soldier
    She is like a mother - pure and holy!
    Vitaly Ryabchunov
  4. Yrec
    Yrec 16 June 2020 11: 28
    MPL-50 cannot be sharpened for hand-to-hand combat - metal is thin and soft. When stuck in a bone or in a shell, it will become stuck in the helmet, the sharp edge will flatten or slip on the helmet, because the steel helmet is stronger. But the unfinished face is more effective - the bones will break, and the soft tissues will break. Sharpening one of the faces is needed for domestic use.
    1. beeper
      beeper 16 June 2020 13: 49
      Quote: Yrec
      MPL-50 cannot be sharpened for hand-to-hand combat - metal is thin and soft. When stuck in a bone or in a shell, it will become stuck in the helmet, the sharp edge will flatten or slip on the helmet, because the steel helmet is stronger. But the unfinished face is more effective - the bones will break, and the soft tissues will break. Sharpening one of the faces is needed for domestic use.

      hi I was also very surprised at the phrase sounded in the video about a sharpened blade allegedly "piercing all the helmets"!
      Since at the time of my childhood there was still a lot of military equipment lying around (and came across during earthworks) in the vicinity of my native village, where fierce battles were in the summer of 1941 and between 1943-44.
      Including helmets with small shovels were in the yards (whole helmets, like drinking bowls for chickens, and shovels, housework, I dug my worms for fishing) and, the same, but full of holes, mutilated, lying around ravines and landings, like and (broken up by a plow or a harrow) punched, crumpled and cut by fragments, soldiers' bowlers on the fields and along the edges of the fields lay nemerenno ... no one saw in this annoying tractor drivers and field breeders, traumatic rubbish of no value and fluttered their feet away.
      We, boys, played war in the old trenches and hit our helmets and bowlers with everything we got, shovels, bayonets from "three-line", fired rifle bullets from samopal (we had enough foolishness and imprudence then, I wonder how eyes and limbs then kept in relative integrity, although some comrades were not so lucky .. winked ).
      It was remembered that our Soviet helmets were easier to pierce and deform, they were more mutilated, rusted and pierced through by bullets than German ones.
      The last German helmet, which was delayed there, was pierced by a bullet in the frontal part, above the visor (but the bullet only bent two cracked pieces of the helmet inside and the whole did not go inside).
      The German helmet with a sapper blade (neither light-sheet, as in the photo to the Article, nor heavy-plate, rectangular in shape with rounded edges and an oak handle) could not be punched, except perhaps with a good ax. From a very strong blow, it did not bend viscously and did not cut through (like our Soviet one), but only springed and cracked very reluctantly (with a matte sheen of the fine-grained structure of hardened steel along the edges of the cracks).
  5. sen
    sen 17 June 2020 03: 40
    In modern combined arms combat, hand-to-hand combat is a rarity. But here is the civil war in Yugoslavia. In the newspaper "Trud" at one time there was an article by a participant in the events. Armed civilians guarded enemy targets. It was impossible to shoot - the military, located nearby, would immediately arrive, and there was no silent firearms. They used cold hand weapons (sapper shovels, homemade daggers, etc.) and crossbows.
    1. agond
      agond 17 June 2020 09: 23
      Mounting the handle in a shovel is essential, usually used in both the first and second pictures, less often
      in the third picture (on the right), you can use another simple and convenient way of fixing, for this, with a grinder (let's call the sleeve the place where the handle is inserted) the sleeve is cut along the weld and on the anvil you give it a slightly conical shape into which you hammer a slightly conical handle, metal the springy spring is unbent and fixes it securely, I use this method for full-size bayonet shovels, in this way even forks are forged, for sapper shovels this method can definitely be suitable.
      1. APAHAKC
        APAHAKC 22 June 2020 15: 24
        what does it mean less? Letters.
        this is the blade (3) of the 1938 model, the question lies in a different plane
  6. Petrik66
    Petrik66 19 June 2020 15: 08
    Back in 1984, I was taught by senior comrades that hand-to-hand combat is possible if you: about ... an automatic rifle, a bayonet, a helmet, a belt, a shoulder blade and I found exactly the same dolt in my opponents ... Glory to the shoulder blade.
    1. agond
      agond 22 June 2020 21: 45
      And by the way, these shovels were given out to our sappers in Syria (I don’t know how to insert SIM cards here), they look like a machete, outwardly leave a good impression, though it will not be very effective to dig trenches, but it’s possible to chop and give it a shame.
  7. Dedok
    Dedok 10 August 2020 14: 19
    Yes, there was a shovel on the farm, with a riveted mount and a coupling, but, for years, and she died, now about the one in the middle, on the shovel, is knocked out: 1945.
    The one with the riveted was made of very good metal: sparks when sharpened - unmeasured.