Military Review

The most famous sapper blade

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The shovel was invented by man even before the emergence of all monotheistic religions, история This entrenching tool is thousands of years old. In ancient times, the tray, bayonet or blade of a shovel was made from bones or wood, then they began to sheathe and bind with iron, and only then came to all-metal options.


Throughout history, shovels were used by the military to equip fortifications and engineering work, but they entered the outfit of every serviceman relatively recently, only in the final quarter of the XNUMXth century.

One of the most famous and famous all over the world is the Russian sapper shovel. The sapper blade is a vernacular that has become widespread and is very often used in written and oral speech, the meaning is non-statutory. The official name is the small infantry shovel. For a long time, the Linnemann small infantry shovel, also known as MPL-50, was in service with the Russian imperial army, and then the Soviet one.

The father of the small infantry shovel is the Dane Mads Linnemann


The father of the small infantry shovel in the form in which it existed and has existed for all recent decades is the Danish officer and inventor Mads Linnemann. The Dane received a patent for his invention in 1870. He has been working on new engineering weapons for a serviceman for several years.

The most famous sapper blade
Inventor of the small infantry shovel, Mads Linnemann

Thus, Captain Linnemann received the first patent for a universal entrenching tool back in 1869. Initially, the inventor proposed to supply the personnel of the Danish infantry with a tool that combined a shovel, knife, saw and pan for cooking at the same time. But at that time, the Danish army abandoned the advanced version, preferring the simplified version, which was adopted in 1870 under the designation Den Linnemannske Spade (M.1870). The designers will return to the issue of the multifunctionality of the small infantry shovel in the XNUMXth century.

The invention of the small infantry shovel initially did not bring significant material benefits to Linnemann. The Danish army was small, so orders for a shovel were few. In an effort to monetize his invention, Linnemann opened the production of such shovels in Austria-Hungary in 1871, realizing that the Austrian army was much more numerous.


In the foreground, a soldier of the Russian Imperial Army with a Linnemann shovel

After success in the armies of Denmark and Austria-Hungary, the shovel became interested in France, Prussia and Russia. At the same time, the Russian Empire recognized the copyright for the invention for Mads Linnemann and bought them for 60 thousand rubles, ordering also the production of 30 thousand shovels. At that time, the amount of the transaction was quite large. From the late 1870s to the present day, Linnemenn's shovel has undergone almost no changes, only the materials from which the shank and bayonet were made have changed.

Today, the MPL-50 shovel and its numerous analogues can be easily purchased on the Internet. The famous sapper blade is widespread not only in the countries of the former USSR and in Europe, but also overseas. It is often bought by tourists, motorists and ordinary citizens as an entrenching tool in a subsidiary farm, as well as reenactors.

MPL or MPL-50


A small infantry shovel, also known as MPL-50 or Linnemann's shovel, was a portable or portable trench tool for the lower ranks of the army of the Russian Empire, and then the rank and file of the Red Army and the Armed Forces of the USSR. The length of the small infantry shovel was 50 cm, which is reflected in its name.


A small infantry shovel is designed for self-entrenching soldiers, tearing off a single trench or a rifle cell under enemy fire. The sapper blade is the main engineering weapon of a serviceman. In each infantry company of the Russian Imperial Army in the state, there were 80 small infantry shovels, as well as 20 axes.

In addition to engineering functions, the shovel could be used as weapons in hand-to-hand combat, as well as for cutting branches and bushes, as a knife or as a paddle. Standard dimensions allow you to use a shovel for measurements: two shovel lengths - a meter. The shovel can also be used as a throwing weapon. Videos on the Internet with training of both military personnel and simply civilians with the MPL-50 traditionally gain many views all over the world.

Adopted by almost all the armies of the world, the small infantry shovel was able to influence the entire art of war. Each fighter on the battlefield received his own engineering weapons - MPL in a fabric cover. This allowed the soldier to quickly prepare at least some kind of shelter in the ground in order to protect himself from enemy fire.


MPL-50 with cover

Servicemen with good physical fitness and trained in the techniques of working with MPL are able to prepare a trench for firing from a prone position in about 8-12 minutes. In accordance with the standards adopted in the Red Army, an infantryman for an hour of MPL operation had to dig 1/3 cubic meters in clay soil, 1/2 cubic meters in medium vegetation soil and 3/4 cubic meters in sandy soil.

Both lower sides of the MPL steel tray are sharpened, the handle was made of various hard wood species, no paint was applied to the handle. The standard dimensions of the MPL of the Russian Imperial Army and the Red Army were: the length of the tray - about 200 mm (in the USSR Armed Forces - about 180 mm), the width of the steel tray - about 150 mm, the total length of the shovel with the handle - 500 mm. Small shovels of the imperial army and the red army also had crimp rings. Post-war shovels MPL-50 did not have a crimp ring.

Evolution of the small infantry shovel


Small infantry shovels began to evolve as early as the 1938th century. Then a number of countries switched to folding options. The folding shovel was adopted by the Wehrmacht in 90, and during the war years, folding shovels were used by British soldiers. The Wehrmacht shovel could be turned into a hoe by attaching the shovel bayonet at a XNUMX degree angle to the handle.


Self-Burrowing Training for US Marines

At the same time, the German fighters assessed their entrenching tool ambiguously and did not hesitate to use the Soviet MPL, which were more convenient to operate, if possible. The weak point of the German shovels was the mount, which could become loose, and the tool began to play. At the same time, the Soviet MPL was as simple as possible, it could be easily pulled up or squeezed right in the trench, no special repair was required for such a shovel.

Today, the Bundeswehr, the US Army and many other NATO armies still use collapsible shovels. The shovels fold into three positions, have a D-shaped plastic or aluminum handle and a plastic or polyester cover. They can also be used as hoes. Also, one side of the bayonet blade is a saw. The shovels can be attached to a belt or backpack. They, like the traditional MPL-50, can become an irreplaceable item in the trunk of your car.


Chinese army shovel WJQ-308

They followed the same path in China. Today, anyone can purchase the WJQ-308 Chinese folding military shovel. This sapper blade is also easy to turn into a pick or a hoe, one side of the bayonet blade is sharpened, the other has teeth, which allows you to use the shovel as a saw. In addition, there is a bottle opener on the bayonet of the shovel, which can also be used as a can opener.

The main disadvantage of all improved options is the complexity of the design, the appearance of movable joints, as well as the increase in cost. If the classic MPL-50 shovel, which is almost impossible to "kill" and very easy to repair, can be bought for less than a thousand rubles, then modern sapper blades of the Bundeswehr or the PLA will cost you 3-4 thousand rubles.
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  1. svp67
    svp67 22 January 2021 04: 49
    +8
    In addition to engineering functions, the shovel could be used as
    "armor plates" to cover the belly during an attack, this is how it was often advised to use it in WWI and at the first stage of the development of the Red Army
    1. Pane Kohanku
      Pane Kohanku 22 January 2021 10: 43
      +6
      "armor plates" to cover the belly during an attack

      Sergei, and "Quiet Don" describes that during the attack it could be held in front of the head. An episode where Listnitsky, the general's son, is seriously wounded.
      1. Astra wild2
        Astra wild2 22 January 2021 17: 38
        +4
        Good evening, everyone. Nikolay, of course I also read: "Quiet Don", I remember Listnitsky, but I do not remember the episode with the sapper shovel at all.
        I was more interested in the relationship: Aksinia-Lisnitsky, Grigory-Aksinia, Grigory-Natalka. I cried out of pity for Natalka .. I don't know why the critics and everyone ignored Natasha Korshunova? I even argued with the teacher in the classroom
  2. Lipchanin
    Lipchanin 22 January 2021 04: 59
    +2
    I didn't even hold it in my hands. Seen only in the movies)
    And the Chinese spatula wow, pretty, but
    The main disadvantage of all improved options is the complexity of the design, the appearance of movable joints, as well as the increase in cost.

    These are of course disadvantages request
    1. NDR-791
      NDR-791 22 January 2021 06: 40
      +23
      If the classic MPL-50 shovel, which is almost impossible to "kill" and very easy to repair, can be bought for less than a thousand rubles
      You can, if you find it ... But finding the "right" one is extremely difficult. What they sell in the markets under the guise of MPL, even with the correct stigma (three trees), are remakes of nothing to do with the real MPL-50. The steel is not the same, raw, much thicker than the original, but it is almost impossible to sharpen it. It gets jammed along the edge and bends along the canvas if you try to dig it in rocky ground. In short, I was lucky, I still have my grandfather's, with Finnish. No demolition !!!
      1. Lipchanin
        Lipchanin 22 January 2021 07: 01
        +5
        Yes, it is clear that the best copy is always worse than the original.
        Well, it has survived from the Finnish, generally a masterpiece good
      2. The leader of the Redskins
        The leader of the Redskins 22 January 2021 08: 14
        -2
        I have a real one in the car. Since the days of the USSR. And you know what's interesting? A drunken comrade who tried to cut not thick logs with it for firewood managed to somehow bend the "heel" for the leg!
        I asked him later how he did it, but he did not remember.
        And the blade is fire. Since then, I have never corrected it, although, to be honest, I did not "close" it often.
        1. Kot_Kuzya
          Kot_Kuzya 22 January 2021 08: 36
          +10
          So it was not an army paddle. The army shovel was made of armored steel so that the soldier could dig a trench even in rocky ground. It is impossible to dig a hole in rocky ground with a shovel made of ordinary tool steel; it will immediately break if it hits stones.
          1. The leader of the Redskins
            The leader of the Redskins 22 January 2021 08: 55
            0
            Come on! I brought her and the flask bowler myself from the army home!
            1. Andrey Zhdanov-Nedilko
              Andrey Zhdanov-Nedilko 22 January 2021 22: 15
              +4
              So you were a plunderer of army (i.e. state) property?!?
              1. The leader of the Redskins
                The leader of the Redskins 23 January 2021 00: 08
                +5
                There was such a sin ... I confess. But more - NOTHING! And the penitential head and sword does not cut! So do not judge strictly!)))
      3. vladcub
        vladcub 22 January 2021 14: 52
        +7
        "It gets jammed along the edge and bends along the canvas" that's for sure. A couple of years ago I bought such a "trick" in a store, and it moved to the center.
        I saw the MPL of the "tsarist" time. In my native village, my neighbors had one, but the sleeve for the shank was already different: the blade itself was already wiped, and the sleeve was newer and welded. I was a kid and was surprised: what an old spatula, when are there beautiful ones in the store?
        1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
          Kote Pan Kokhanka 22 January 2021 19: 01
          +4
          I did not understand why the Leader was put in the minus !!!?
          Guys, Nazarius needs to improve his health!
      4. Jager
        Jager 22 January 2021 20: 30
        +4
        I broke such a fake digging a car out of the sand
    2. Zug
      Zug 24 January 2021 09: 31
      +3
      They dug a few in my own Karelia, for example, in 1915, the Belmed plant.
  3. Vladimir_2U
    Vladimir_2U 22 January 2021 05: 11
    +5
    Self-Burrowing Training for US Marines
    A very relaxed workout, a kind of picnic. Profanation of the very idea of ​​the instrument .:
    Small infantry shovel is designed for self-entrenching soldiers, tearing off a single trench or rifle cell under enemy fire.
  4. Kote Pan Kokhanka
    Kote Pan Kokhanka 22 January 2021 05: 28
    +10
    Sergey, thanks, read it in one breath!
    Although there is a small claim and reason for the third part of the article. Where is our domestic mortar shovel?
    Regards, Vlad!
    1. Lipchanin
      Lipchanin 22 January 2021 06: 04
      +4
      Quote: Kote pane Kohanka
      Where is our domestic mortar shovel?

      Yes, an interesting topic good
    2. Kot_Kuzya
      Kot_Kuzya 22 January 2021 06: 41
      +5
      Guano is complete. In the Red Army soldiers said about her - "Shoots like a shovel, digs like a mortar." As a shovel, it is heavy and inconvenient because of the steel handle, in winter you can freeze your hands on it, and it is slippery. As a mortar, it is also ineffective, since there is no sight, and the mine is weak due to its small caliber. During the Winter War, mine fragments were corny stuck in the snow. It also had a maximum range of only 800 meters. Even the 50-mm company mortar was removed from service according to the experience of the Second World War due to the weakness of the destructive power of the mine, let alone the 37-mm mortar!
    3. NDR-791
      NDR-791 22 January 2021 06: 43
      +6
      Where is our domestic mortar shovel?
      And by the way, yes. There, in general, a good overview can turn out because not only ours, there is also Japanese, but with a comparison (including the mines themselves to them). It can turn out well
      1. Pane Kohanku
        Pane Kohanku 22 January 2021 10: 40
        +10
        And by the way, yes. There, in general, a good review can turn out because not only ours, there is also Japanese

        Artem, did the Japanese have mortar shovels? I heard about a small grenade launcher. That, they say, the Americans incorrectly translated its name as "knee mortar", and some especially keen ones tried to shoot from it from the knee, which ended in serious injuries. laughing typical illustration from the wiki. how not to do:

        My friends, I am a sinful deed by name, at first I thought that this was another portion of "Mr. Kharaluzhny's knowledge", and was pleasantly surprised that the article belongs to Sergei Yuferev. It is written simply, concisely, but informative and unobtrusive. With respect, Nicholai drinks
        1. NDR-791
          NDR-791 22 January 2021 11: 53
          +7
          Artem, did the Japanese have mortar shovels?
          Taki, yes !!! Something has become with my memory. However, I remember exactly that there were exactly two such samples !!! Climbed into literature, dug: Mid-70s sapper shovel "Option" designer V. Rebrikov. Fired a VOG-25 grenade. Tested in the army, not accepted for service.
          1. Pane Kohanku
            Pane Kohanku 22 January 2021 11: 56
            +6
            Tested in the army, not accepted for service.

            A logical decision, given that the first grenade launchers have already been developed! drinks Although the sample is undoubtedly interesting.
            1. NDR-791
              NDR-791 22 January 2021 12: 02
              +4
              The grenade launcher turned out to be more accurate, they were also not taken immediately - they checked the effect on the machine for a long time. And from this it was possible to shoot even from the ground, even from an emphasis on the shoulder, even from hands. However, give each soldier such a unit along with grenades soldier instead of the good old MPL-50 it would be a number !!!
        2. vladcub
          vladcub 22 January 2021 15: 17
          +4
          Nikolay, there were enough gifted people everywhere. I remember that the site had material about grenades and it was said that some "smart guy" tried to juggle a grenade when testing a grenade
          1. Pane Kohanku
            Pane Kohanku 22 January 2021 15: 25
            +4
            on testing a grenade, tried to juggle it

            That's for sure, smart guy! laughing
      2. Undecim
        Undecim 22 January 2021 12: 01
        +8
        because not only ours, there is also Japanese
        Such a miracle weapon as a combination of a shovel and a mortar was in service only with the Red Army.
        In the rest of the armies, moreover in many, the mortar, intended for use by one person, was not crossed with any entrenching tool. Usually such weapons are designated by the English term "Commando mortar".
        Since the thirties of the last century, there will be about two dozen types of such.
        If we take the period of the Second World War, then one of the most successful is the British Two-inch mortar.
        1. vladcub
          vladcub 22 January 2021 15: 22
          +6
          VN, I once saw this illustration, but had no idea what it was?
    4. vladcub
      vladcub 22 January 2021 15: 01
      +6
      Namesake, I heard from the front-line soldiers a continuous obscenity at this scapula. I don’t remember now, but the range of her shot was not significant and the Caliber was some kind of 'pindyurshny. ”It seems that they were not really produced, at least they were not widespread
      1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
        Kote Pan Kokhanka 22 January 2021 18: 43
        +2
        Quote: vladcub
        Namesake, I heard from the front-line soldiers a continuous obscenity at this scapula. I don’t remember now, but the range of her shot was not significant and the Caliber was some kind of 'pindyurshny. ”It seems that they were not really produced, at least they were not widespread

        Hi Vladislav!
        I have heard and read similar opinions. But the fact remains that it was, and the story of its appearance would only adorn Sergei's article!
        1. vladcub
          vladcub 22 January 2021 18: 45
          +2
          I won't argue here
  5. Crowe
    Crowe 22 January 2021 07: 57
    +17
    Quote: svp67
    "armor plates" to cover the belly during an attack,

    An irreplaceable thing! Not only for defense, but also for attack - the instructions on how to conduct hand-to-hand combat by the soldiers of the Red Army first of all pointed out: you should at all costs seize the initiative, impose your will on the enemy, if possible. then a blow was struck at the most open place of the enemy, covered with a sapper blade like a shield, repulsing the enemy's blow in order to chop the attacker on the neck, on the shoulder, on the limb. For combat in confined spaces, the shovel was indispensable. Sharp, well-sharpened shoulder blades cut through the cervical vertebrae, arms and legs, broke the skulls in two. The wounds inflicted by this weapon amazed German doctors.

    "Beat and hit with a shovel quickly, together and sharply. Simultaneously with the capture of the enemy's rifle with your left hand, quickly approach and hit the head with a shovel on the right or left" - this is how the hand-to-hand combat manual recommended to the soldiers.
  6. Cowbra
    Cowbra 22 January 2021 08: 49
    +1
    Except. that it is actually a copy-paste with inosmi ...
    https://inosmi.ru/military/20210112/248893446.html
    El Mundo (Spain): Russian special forces shovel for snow fighting
  7. faterdom
    faterdom 22 January 2021 12: 41
    +10
    Thing!
    I still remember the first "pleasures" from the pre-conscription training: at the age of 15 in the roasted Rostov steppe lying (!) To dig a trench for prone shooting with this device, disguising the parapet with turf ... In 22, in my opinion, minutes for "five" !
    And after that you still want to go to the military!
    Who wants to - can try to get an idea!
    Moreover, the weight of a 15-year-old boy of less than 60 kg does not help much to push the sod - you have to swing while lying on the handle.
    But then, when you get used to it - as an extension of your hand, at least chop wood for kindling, at least take the head of a viper ... In short, a must have, definitely, an automatic machine, a spoon and an MPL!
  8. xomaNN
    xomaNN 22 January 2021 13: 23
    +6
    And what did our infantry do in hand-to-hand combat with these paddles during the war! am
    1. Jager
      Jager 22 January 2021 20: 44
      +3
      I have met not only in memoirs that the most terrible fight is hand-to-hand.
      When a meeting with the enemy ends with the complete destruction of the enemy in brutality. It is impossible to command or even somehow control people in such a meat grinder. Only the one with the most strength and training wins.
  9. Konnick
    Konnick 22 January 2021 15: 16
    +10
    On the splash screen of the photo "Sergeant Pekhov Fyodor Akimovich shows his student Vladimir Mikheev how to properly disguise himself." Sniper Pekhov F.A. destroyed at least 342 enemy soldiers and officers.
    Each such military photo should have the names of the heroes.
    1. agond
      agond 22 January 2021 16: 52
      +5
      Someone has a story that in the seventies, in addition to the scapula, they also had like flat mini "crowbars" (about 0.5 m long) intended for loosening hard soil when digging a trench.
      1. vladcub
        vladcub 22 January 2021 19: 40
        +3
        I have not heard of such.
      2. Gato
        Gato 23 January 2021 01: 19
        +2
        in addition to the scapula, there were also, as it were, flat mini "crowbars" (about 0.5 m long)

        Maybe they were alpeshtoks, I saw at mountain shooters, but they look little like flat crowbars. Although they were also used when digging in rocky ground.
    2. Jager
      Jager 22 January 2021 20: 47
      +3
      SVT-40, binoculars and a "finca" behind a belt - oh, this sergeant was not easy!
  10. Alex013
    Alex013 22 January 2021 21: 20
    +3
    Mads Linnemann is certainly a genius. As the saying goes, the simpler the better. By the way, due to the fact that real steel is armored, the fried eggs on it are no worse than on cast iron)
  11. mmaxx
    mmaxx 23 January 2021 02: 08
    +3
    In training and in the troops, our youngest shovel was in 1917. And so the 13-14th. How much they have seen even trumpetly imagine
    1. agond
      agond 23 January 2021 11: 44
      0
      For a long time I heard the story of one person how he served in the infantry as a machine gunner somewhere in 1970 and, in addition to a shovel, they were given a tool for loosening the soil in the form of a flat crowbar at one end, sharpened by a prism from the other with a chisel, the length is like a blade, in a supine position, working with one hand it was possible to loosen solid ground, .. I myself did not have to dig in a supine position, I served in a construction battalion and we dug while standing, and about the usual construction scrap I will add, if you hold it vertically, you can work effectively for a long time without getting tired, but how can you hammer in lying it's not clear at all
      1. mmaxx
        mmaxx 23 January 2021 13: 33
        +3
        You can dig the Trans-Baikal steppe. The top is firm, but then normal. It is very difficult to fulfill the standard of 22-25 minutes. And in Mongolia, they didn't even try to dig. There the soil is not very different from the asphalt. In the exercises, the trenches for the cars were used old. They cleared away the sand. But someone dug them before belay
  12. Al_lexx
    Al_lexx 24 January 2021 02: 47
    +2
    Last summer I decided to plant a BSL on the stalk, which had been lying in my barn since the beginning of the 90s (then I got into my hands a completely new one, from the factory). Firstly, it practically did not rust in thirty years, with the exception of those places where it came into contact with ordinary garden tools (cleaned with sandpaper, again like new). And secondly, I broke about five Chinese drills while I drilled in order to fix it with a screw (the handle was thin). In the end he won by digging out a Soviet-made drill. Steel of amazing quality! This shovel really has no demolition!
  13. Growlers
    Growlers 24 January 2021 16: 36
    +9
    Such a "training", like that of the Americans, would have ended sadly for an ordinary motorized rifle company of the Soviet Army, the sergeant would at least "frolic". Only lying down, the soil is thrown in front of him onto the parapet, between the fighters 1,5-2 meters. And this herd is on vacation ...
  14. combat192
    combat192 28 January 2021 00: 15
    0
    In fact, in the report card to the state of the military unit, this entrenching tool is called "small shovel" without any additions like "infantry" and certainly not "MPL-50".
  15. Azis
    Azis April 15 2021 16: 05
    0
    Can anyone answer? The small infantry shovel is pentagonal, and the sapper shovel is quadrangular. Why is that?