The humble British Army entrenching tool, a short, squat, folding standard NATO issued 3-way shovel, pick and close combat weapon, has surged in popularity amongst British frontline troops as the piece of kit you can’t do without.

In years and wars past, the entrenching tool wasn’t always an infantryman’s favorite tool. If the choice of going into the field was carrying more ammo or the entrenching tool, the tool got left behind.

Digging in mud or rock or root-laden soil was always going to be a hopeless task with a 23 inch shovel, whereas another 100 rounds of ammunition just might save your bacon.       But suddenly all that has changed, according to Staff Sergeant Liam Meanashell.

“Now the entrenching tool is the piece of kit no self respecting soldier would be seen without,”said Sgt. Meanashell, a Rochdale born veteran of twenty years in the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.

“A lot of the boys now carry the tool at the ready with the SA80 A2 IW (individual weapon) or the LSW (Light Support Weapon) slung over their backs,”said Sgt. Meanashell.

“Since the top brass decided it was okay for women to do the dirty jobs like killing people and they have joined the boys in the frontline, it seems the lads can hardly wait for someone to shout ” okay lads let’s get those f#*#*#g foxholes dug and get laid up for the night.”

“You can’t believe how fast some of these lads can dig,”he said.

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