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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

screw pickets


mebu
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Visitors to the western front areas often see screw pickets still used by farmers. They all look the same, I was informed some time ago that they were all made in Sweden and sold to both sides alike, so the only way to find out if they were British or German was to look at the invoice! Does anyone know if this is correct? Can they be identified?

Both sides used what seem to be the same patterns in WW2 for coast defences. Peter.

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I`ve always understood that the German ones had a spike on top, whereas the British ones didn`t. Here`s a photo of one I have in my garden (in case of invasion!) which I assume to be German. Phil B

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  • 3 weeks later...

The way to identify whether they are German or English is that if there is a spike as in the photograph above it is German the English is screw picket is rounded on top as a spring.

John

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Thanks for the replies....I am not sure the spiked top is indicative, the reason is that I have seen these in a number of sectors. Whereas in the salient or the Somme, you may expect to find British and German mixed, in some areas, well behind the front, eg poperinge,isbergues, henencourt, or behind Aubers, they are still mixed. I don't know how they are made but I would guess that the spiked top is merely the angle at which the steel bar was cropped.

The "single source" still seems to be most likely.

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I have a bundle of screw pickets from a farm in Australia. It would seem unusual that such a simple device couldn't have been made in any country, and I doubt they were brought back.

The Swedish story would be interesting if it could be substantiated.

The ones in Australia I have are angle cut, but not as sharp an angle as the example in the posted image.

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1 thing i know for sure.

ALL the pickets in Flanders are very old and WW1 made.

Swedish? i assume so. It is a verey common story.

John is right about the differnce.

By the way john, how is my picket doing in your garden? ;)

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Fuel for the fire.

I've seen modern era pigtail/screw pickets in use at some NATO installations in BE & NE. They are of the same design but the metal is thicker. I can't recall if they had spiked tops or looped tops.

I also agree it's a pretty simple design and any country that has any ability to do mass metal working would have no problem making them.

Cheers,

Jon

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Kristof

I have to straighten it first, the people that I have shown it to are amazed how it has stood the test of time, and as for the other things which I brought back they were again suprised that they have survived.

Regards

John

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