Dig in or Deploy?

When I did this first time around back in the late 80's early 90's we used to carry a full size shovel or pick as part of our CEFO so we could dig in on the objective before we got hit with the enemy's FPF.

This was phased out in favour of the folding entrenching tool that is the functional equivalent of the one carried during the Second World War.

In my TA Inf unit now I seem to be the only person who actually carries an ET on my belt kit. Others either don't bother or put it in the bergan.

Now it strikes me that although it's not massively important for COIN ops the ET is a pretty important bit of kit for conventional infantry work and should be carried as standard on CEFO

Thoughts on this?
Stow it according to preference, yours or that of your superior officer. Options range from having it 'at the ready' in your hands at all times and secured to your person by a lanyard to leaving it in an MFO box in your in-laws garage. You decide.
For a while we where told to carry it everywhere on our belt kit. If I rememeber correctly the pouch was a semi hard plastic sheath affair. For someone like myself, a racing snake, it meant that my belt kit did not fit as I had to lengthen my belt.

As time went on it was realised that most folk had the pouch but ditched the ET at the earliest oppurtunity so we were allowed to remove them and carry in our Bergens if needed.

Really does seem to depend on which unit you are with and how much experience of the field the powers that dictate what you take have.

Ahhh..this is the thing..horrible..then that went in a dpm pouch...


it is indeed but digging a shell scrape with one could be a challenge!

What I'm driving at is: "Is digging in now irrelevant?"

I can't see that it is as long as any enemy has anything from mortars upwards...
its too small to dig with all its good for is clearing branches from the track plan, and any wat sections get issued proper shovels and picks that are carried with the bergans.
ditch it and wait till you section kit is being handed out and end up with a shovel or pick etc etc with regards to clearing tracks. I could never understand whilst we do this when in a rifle company, loads of ground sign to let the enemy know were you have been, how big your area was, loads of noise stabbing away at branches etc
Once had a TA plt sgt tell me how important it was and how he enjoys seeing a perfect track around his position, to me its better to leave no sign and let the lads get some extra gonk time
Except that when moving from the stag position to your pit ( or vice versa ) you'll have no idea where the track is, where either position is and you'll blind yourself when you walk into a branch.

So, you'll be lost, blinded and screaming with pain as you traipse around the ulu.

Bloody TA, what do they know?
I was not having a dig at the TA, just stating he was a TA platoon Sgt!

Use comms cord and discreet use of mine tape is much better and dont forget whoever comes and gets you for stag should do a proper hand over and not just **** off to basha so you shouldnt get lost


My entrenching tool lives in the pouch on the back of my bergan and only comes out when I'm off for shovel recce.

On exercise you're normally issued a shovel or pick if you'll be digging in, of course this all depends on the scaling of the unit your in, how tight your CQMS is and other factors such as if you're on a course.

I never dug in in Afghan, but we didn't generally hang around for long after search/strike Ops. I did see some units digging in when in laeggers(sp?) in the desert, but we never did.
Anyone ever tried digging with the folding ET?

Exactly, that's why nobody carries them.

Put them with your resi (I know at least Bravo Bravo knows what I mean).
Only time I ever used an ET during my career was to either smash open locks after losing locker keys on the piss, and I think I remember using one as a paddle to baboon some bloke arrse after finding him guilty in a Kangeroo court.

Complete and utter waste of energy carrying it on your belt kit. You could carry at least another few mintues worth of ammo or another water bottle instead.
At best, stick it in your bergen if you haven't already sourced the just as light but twice as effective long shovel/ pick axe.

As for digging in on the reorg, (In my own humble experience) blokes seem more than happy to occupy cleared enemy positions which will more often than not offer you better protection than a hastily dug shell scrape or just use the nearest available natural cover.

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