Now, a shovel has been used as an infantry combat weapon (we once knew a man who’d won the Medal of Honor, in part, with the stout old Korean War entrenching tool) and more than a handful of unfortunates have been murdered with one. But thanks to Ian at Forgotten Weapons and translator Boris Karpa we have an English translation of A. A. Tarasov’s 1941 manual, Destroy the Enemy in Hand-to-Hand Combat, which contains a small chapter of real no-kidding Soviet shovel doctrine.
The book not only provides some instruction in shovel combatives, it even distinguishes between the large shovel (like the one in your engineer kit) and the small shovel (the Russian e-tool, a copy of the German type). It even illustrates the shovel moves (they seem completely unrelated to Giduck’s spastic shovel opera, which needs to be performed to the Benny Hill Theme).
An experienced fighter can defeat the enemy in hand-to-hand combat using not only a rifle with a bayonet, but one without a bayonet, or even a shovel. The ready position for a rifle without a bayonet or a large shovel is shown in Fig. 52-53.
In the hands of an experienced fighter, the small infantry shovel also becomes an awe-inspiring weapon. Learn to fight with the small shovel. Carry out all deflections and blows with the shovel rapidly,
Tarasov, A. A. (2012-08-13). Destroy the Enemy in Hand-to-Hand Combat (An Authentic Field Manual of the Red Army) (Kindle Locations 237-243). Di Lernia Publishers. Kindle Edition.
The Kindle edition’s cheap and easy (if you don’t have a Kindle, you can get an app that mimics one on Mac, Windows and iPad/Phone etc). Because we aren’t affiliated with Amazon, why don’t you go through Forgotten Weapons to check out, and if you’re interested, buy, this book? Buying through Ian’s link doesn’t cost you a dime more, and provides a small commission to Forgotten Weapons so that they can keep bringing us good and interesting content.
And it’s interesting to see, that in 1941 as the Russians prepared this manual, they still had a partnership with their then-ally, Adolf. And their “bad guy” in illustrations, even though he’s nought but a silhouette, is dressed in what appears to be a British helmet, gaiters, and pack.
Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S). His focus was on weapons: their history, effects and employment. He started WeaponsMan.com in 2011 and operated it until he passed away in 2017. His work is being preserved here at the request of his family.