1945 US Army Entrenching Tool

We have a 1945 US Army Entrenching Tool in our History of Medicine Collection. 

These were digging tools used by the military for a variety of purposes, including digging latrines (trench toilets) and graves, as well as as weapons. In World War One, these were generally two part designs, with a metal head and separate wooden handle. in World War Two, a folding design, like the one in our collection, became increasingly popular.

Trench toilets were usually pits which were about five foot deep. There were two people assigned at any time to keep the latrines in good condition. In many units, officers gave this duty as a punishment for breaking army regulations. Before a change-over in the trenches, the out-going unit was supposed to fill in its latrines and dig a new one for the new arrivals.