The following is provided courtesy of Marion J. Chard -
VI Corps Combat Engineers
Thank you, Marion!
Who They Were and What They Did...
I am asked all the time, "What did combat engineers do?"
Here is a brief, yet concise picture of "our boys" and the
part they played in the war.
By WWII the Army Corps of Engineers had almost 150 years of
experience in national wars and non-military civil works
projects. But when faced with the events in Europe in the
spring of 1940, it became necessary for the engineers to
adapt to the ever-changing technology and the new tactics
employed by the German Army. This was made easier at this
point in time by Congress' appropriation of more funds for
our national defense that allowed the army along with the
engineers to expand their growth and prepare for a new and
accelerated kind of warfare.
The primary mission of combat engineers is to KEEP THE
ARMIES MOVING TO ATTACK, AND IMPEDING THE ENEMY. The
engineers' functions included, but weren't limited to:
Bridge (mobile, floating, fixed),
rail, & road construction, maintenance and yes,
River crossings by ponton/raft, motor-powered assault boats
Port & harbor rehabilitation (clearing, re-opening)
Landing & maintaining a beachhead on a hostile shore
laying beach roads for vehicles
unloading/loading supplies, vehicles & personnel from
transports & liberty ships
Specialized work on camouflage
Water supply and sanitation
Maintenance of vehicles
Mine warfare (laying and removing/diffusing)
Administrative work necessary to support combat forces
Establishing & maintaining supply/ammunition dumps
Building barracks, depots, and similar structures
To function as infantry when and where needed
Rescue & road patrols, bridge and road reconnaissance
Clearing of rubble, debris/wreckage &