Warwood Tool is proud of our history of supplying our US Armed Forces with various tools to meet their campaign objectives. During both WWI and WWII, the US military leveraged our experience making quality forged hand tools to bring our soldiers the Warwood Tool Trench Mattock. The impact this tool had on our soldiers is illustrated through the stories of “Earning a Warwood”.
In WWI and WWII, trench warfare was common on the battlefields. Front-line soldiers often dug “foxholes”, or trenches by hand. Trench warfare commonly consisted of crawling hundreds of meters, only to climb into miles and miles of trenches, barely wider than a hallway. Most soldiers at the time were issued bolt-action rifles, meant for warfare at a distance. Because of the close quarters, rifles were relatively ineffective inside the trenches, so soldiers often used knives, small shovels, clubs, or bats. During these battles, soldiers often used whatever they had access to at the time.
Part of the soldiers’ kits, often included the Warwood Tool trenching mattocks that would be used primarily to dig trenches. The trenching mattock had a forged steel head weighing approximately 3-4 pounds, with a pickaxe on one side and a trenching head on the other. It came with a detachable, slip-on, hickory handle between 24 and 36 inches long (depending on the model). The handle was tapered which allowed the head to slide down the handle and come off easily, making the tool packable and easier to transport. The unique shape of these solid, hickory handles made them perfect for use as a club if needed.
The Warwood mattock quickly became a symbol of pride, strength, and tenacity on the battleground. When someone was forced to defend themselves with their Warwood Tool at hand, this became known as “Earning a Warwood”. This phrase became a tradition to help units instill camaraderie, as squads in training would compete for the honor of earning their Warwood, even having different units decorate their mattocks to personalize them.
As combat tactics changed, and the trench mattock faded, we remain proud that our Warwood Tool mattock earned its place in history. These are pictures of an original Warwood Tool trench mattock which were deployed US troops in Europe.