We continue our study of the MTP PLCE set this week with the entrenching tool cover. This is perhaps the most unusual component of the set as the entrenching tool was the component most consistently removed from the olive green and DPM PLCE sets as being superfluous to requirements. That is not to say that there are not times where it is still used and needed, however operationally many troops chose to drop this component and use the belt space for another utility pouch. Regardless of this, it seems the army did see a need for it and it was produced in MTP, the design is the same at the DPM version though:
Unlike the other components of the PLCE set, the entrenching tool cover does not use the T-Bar connectors to hold it to the belt, rather it has a pair of loops secured with khaki Fastex clips that wrap around the belt allowing the entrenching tool cover to be easily detached:
The cover itself is shaped to carry the plastic entrenching tool cover and is ‘shield’ shaped in profile. A single loop is sewn to the rear to allow a piece of paracord to be threaded through to secure the base of each PLCE component and reduce ‘pouch bounce’ when running:
A label sewn into the cover shows that this piece dates to 2015:
One amusing story about the entrenching tool comes from an ex-soldier:
The one and only time my Entrenching Tool was of any use to me was late one Sunday evening in a Gunner Officers’ Mess bar out in the wilds of Rutland. There was I propping up the bar having just had the good news that my boss had cancelled her visit so it didn’t really matter if I had an extra scoop as there were no courses running in the Education Centre and I could always shut the office door and drink coffee all day. Sudden commotion and in comes one of the YOs. Turns out he is about to depart for his All Arms Commando Course. He couldn’t find his ET and I am the only officer left in the Mess as all the Gunners have gone off on exercise to do whatever is that Gunners do. Apparently if you turn up on AACC without ALL the kit listed it is something of a Bad Thing so he needed to borrow mine. I was about to say Yes, but it’ll cost you another GnT when he blurted out “Give this man a bottle of whisky on my chit – no make it two!!” I never even noticed that he never gave it back – nor did the QM when I de-kitted a 5 years later. Useless piece of kit.