The Army wanted a shovel for its men to use. But not any ordinary shovel would do. It had to be small enough to fit on a backpack and versitile enough to chop wood and second as a paddle as well. The result was the entrenching tool. The older model folded in half and had a wooden handle. In recent years it has been replaced with a tri-fold all metal design. Like any multi-purpose tool, it performs many tasks okay and does nothing superbly. Digging with this quasi-shovel is one of the most painful things you may ever do, as at its fully extended length it is only about two and a half feet long. Much crouching is required to operate it.