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Summary information on Engineer Combat BattalionsEdit

Following is summary information on Combat Engineer Units with Army Ground Forces for an Engineer Combat Battalion serving with an infantry division (paragraphs 65- 77), and an Engineer Combat Battalion serving nondivisional directly under corps or army (paragraphs 78- 83).

Source: United States Government War Department Engineer Field Manual FM-5-5, Engineer Troops 11 October, 1943, available at:



  • 65. MISSION.-The mission of the engineer combat battalion

of the infantry division is to increase the division's combat effectiveness by means of general engineer work. It is often reinforced when the division acts independently, and may be reinforced as required when the division operates with larger units.

  • 66. ORGANIZATION-The battalion consists of headquarters,

a headquarters and service company, three lettered companies, and a medical detachment. Organization is shown in figure 8. (For details see T/O 5-15.)

  • 67. EQUIPMENT.-Organic equipment consists of engineer

tools and machinery necessary to execute the ordinary engineer work required by the division. Most of the tools are integral parts of basic squad and platoon sets such as carpentry, demolition, and pioneer. Stream-crossing equipment, includes assault boats, pneumatic reconnaissance boats, and pneumatic floats. The battalion has a few items of mechanical equipment, including motorized air compressors and medium tractors.

  • 68. TRANSPORTATION.-Enough transportation is provided for

simultaneous movement of all personnel and equipment. Vehi- 48 ENGINEER TROOPS cles include light trucks for command and reconnaissance, light cargo trucks and trailers for transportation of tools and equipment, and 2 -ton dump trucks for engineer work.

  • 69. ARMAMENT.-Individual weapons include the bayonet,

Carbine, rifle, and pistol. Supporting weapons include caliber .30 and caliber .50 machine guns, caliber .45 submachine guns, antitank rocket launchers, and antitank rifle grenades.

  • 70. TRAINING.-Basic and unit training. are in accordance

with principles outlined in chapter 4. Tactical training is allied with engineer field training. In an emergency, the combat battalion fights as infantry. Training for combat includes general tactical disposition of the entire battalion.

  • 71. PLATOON.-a. Organization.-The platoon consists of

platoon headquarters and three squads of 13 men each. (For details see T/O 5-17.) b: Platoon headquarters.-The platoon headquarters conducts reconnaissance, plans the work of the platoon, initiates supply arrangements, assigns tasks to the squads, and exercises general supervision over the execution of engineer work. a. Squad-The squad performs the principal tasks assigned to the platoon. A squad may be assigned a separate task under its leader; or, the three squads may work under the platoon sergeant. The squad may be divided into two groups, one under the squad leader and one under the corporal. However, the normal work party is one squad with its own tool sets: a carpenter set, a pioneer set, and a demolition set, all transported in a 2%-ton dump truck. The normal duty of the squad leader is to supervise the work of the squad, but he will do actual work when necessary and when it does not detract from proper supervision. The squad operates and cares for transportation and equipment assigned to it. d. Duties.-(l) The platoon is a highly mobile unit for executing general engineer work. Its duties include digging, clearing, and grubbing; rigging; carpentry: construction; demolitions; wrecking; and care of tools. (2) When the platoon is reinforced with equipment and specialists from company headquarters, or from headquarters and service company, it can perform tasks for which its organic personnel and equipment are inadequate. (3) The platoon is armed with the weapons listed in paragraph 69. With this firepower, and its mobility, the platoon 49 ENGINEER FIELD MANUAL can participate in defense against air and ground attack, and in offense when fighting as infantry.

  • 72. COMPANY.--a. Organization.-The company consists of

company headquarters and three platoons. (For details see T/O 5-17.) b. Company headquarters.-(1) Company headquarters directs, controls, and assists the operations of the three platoons. It includes personnel and equipment for administration, messing, and routine supply; for engineer reconnaissance, supply, planning, and estimating; and for execution of special engineer tasks. (2) The company commander divides company tasks into platoon tasks, preferably keeping platoons intact. He may assign company headquarters personnel and equipment to assist platoons. His duties are to- (a) Analyze the task, divide it into its components, and allot work and available means to his subordinate commanders, making as full use as possible of platoon organization. (b) Supervise execution of work, seeing that tasks are carried out properly, that correct methods are used, that supply of material is maintained, that difficulties are anticipated and provided for, and that platoon commanders are given all possible facilities in executing their work. (c) Train his company in all its functions, (d) Lead his company in combat. (e) Make engineer reconnaissance rapidly, accurately, and continuously; and submit information properly and promptly. (3) Engineer work done by the company is the same as that done by platoons. Company headquarters can furnish its mechanical equipment and engineer tool sets to assist platoons.

  • 73. BATTALION HEADQUARTERS.-Battalion headquarters consists

of the unit (division) engineer and his staff, with duties and functions explained in detail in chapter 2. T/O 5-16 shows its organization. Battalion headquarters directs, controls, and assists headquarters and service company and three lettered companies in executing engineer work and in combat.


service company is composed of company headquarters and sections designated as division engineer, administrative, intelligence, operations, reconnaissance, supply, and repair. For 50 ENGINEER TROOPS details see T/O 8-16. For functions and duties of the company see chapter 2. a. Company headquarters.-Company headquarters consists of the company commander, an administrative officer, and personnel for handling routine administrative, mess, and supply functions for headquarters, and headquarters and service company. b. Division engineer section.-The division engineer section is supervised by the assistant division engineer. Duties of the section conform to duties outlined for an assistant division engineer in chapter 2. Enlisted personnel assigned to this section prepare sketches, plans, designs, and graphical reports for general use. Additional personnel from other sections of headquarters and service company is required from time to time to assist in this work. Standard topographic map work is not a normal duty. c. Administrative section.-Duties of the administrative section are in accordance with duties of the adjutant (S-l) outlined in chapter 2. In general, this section is charged with handling all battalion administrative matters and operating the message center, and signal communication equipment at battalion headquarters. d. Intelligence section-The intelligence section is supervised by S-2, who also is camouflage officer for the battalion. Functions of the section conform to duties of S-2 outlined in chapter 2. It does miscellaneous surveying, drafting, camouflage inspection, and photography, but extensive tasks of this nature are not expected of the unit. Surveying is an occasional job, limited to simple field work. e. Operations section.-The operations section is supervised by S-3, with duties as outlined in chapter 2. In general, this section is charged with formulating plans, specifications, and detailed orders for all operations of the battalion, preparation of training programs and schedules, training inspections, and engineer reconnaissance., f. Supply section.-The supply section supervised by S-4, has duties in accordance with those of S-4 outlined in chapter 2. It operates the portable water supply equipment of the battalion. It transports and cares for tools and equipment assigned to the section. Supplementary equipment and supplies for reinforcing lettered companies are transported by this section. g. Repair section.-The repair section operates under the commander of headquarters and service company, and super- 51 ENGINREER FIELD MANUAL vises the second-echelon maintenance of all battalion motor transportation and engineer mechanized equipment. Responsibility for maintenance is a command responsibility of the commander of the unit to which the vehicle or equipment is assigned. The section's equipment includes a motorized maintenance shop, welding, equipment, a 4 -ton wrecking truck, and miscellaneous tools. Part or all of the battalion's transportation may be pooled under this section for operation under battalion control.

  • 75. ECHELONS.-In many cases it is, desirable to split battalion

headquarters and headquarters and service company into forward and rear echelons. Composition of each echelon is decided by the battalion commander to fit each situation.

  • 76. ATTACHED MEDICAL.-O. The medical detachment consists

of two officers, one a dentist, and enlisted men. (For details see T/O 5-15.) The detachment provides two company aid men for each lettered company; however, it does not have strength to provide litter bearers. Personnel for this purpose must be drawn from engineer elements of the battalion, or obtained from the division medical battalion. b. Organic transportation includes a light truck for command and reconnaissance, and for transporting personnel, medical equipment, and supplies. c. The medical officer is battalion surgeon and a member of the special staff of the battalion commander. His duties and functions are explained in chapter 2. d. Duties of the medical detachment in the field are outlined in chapter 2. In general, the medical detachment contributes to the health and hence to the general efficiency of the battalion.

  • 77. DUTIES.-a. Duties the battalion is most commonly called

upon to perform are- (1) Removal and passage of enemy obstacles, including mine fields and booby traps. (2) Preparation of obstacles by demolitions and other means, including laying mine fields and setting booby traps. (3) River-crossing operations to include use of assault boats, preparation of fords, and other stream-crossing expedients; and construction of vehicle ferries, portable bridges, and, in emergencies, ponton bridges -capable of sustaining combat team loads. (See ch. 5, sec. VIII.) 52 ENGINEER TROOPS (4) Emergency repair and maintenance of roads, and reinforcement, repair, and maintenance of bridges. (5) Engineer reconnaissance. (6) Providing local security for own working parties. b. Important duties less common than those given above are- (1) Rapid general lay-out of rear positions, signs for marking routes, and guiding units to sectors. (2) Construction of fixed bridges and roads. (3) Construction, improvement, and maintenance of advance landing fields. (4) Defense of mine fields and other obstacles. (5) Combat as infantry. (6) In a stabilized situation, construction of the more elaborate defensive installations requiring the use of special engineer equipment, (7) Tank hunting. c. Duties performed by specialists or other small groups of the battalion are- (1) Advising division commander on technical matters. (2) Supply of engineer tools, equipment, and materials. (3) Water supply. (4) Map supply. (5) Camouflage inspection. d. For modification of normal organization of engineer units for combat see FM 5-6.



  • 78. GENERAL.-Engineer combat battalions, nondivisional, are

attached to corps and army. The number of battalions attached at any one time varies according to the situation.

  • 79. MiSSION.-a. When attached to corps, these units do general

engineer work in the forward part of the corps area, and such engineer work in the division service areas as may be taken over by corps. They reinforce divisional engineers or relieve them of engineer tasks so they may work farther to the front. b. When attached to army, they do general engineer work in the army area as far forward as possible. 53 ENGINEER FIELD MANUAL

  • 80. ORGANIZATION AND EQUIPMENT.--Organization and equipment

are identical with those of the engineer combat battalion described in section I of this chapter. Organization is shown in figure 8. For details see T/O 5-15.

8-Engineer combat battalion, infantry division, or nondivisional (T/O 5-15).

  • 81.TRAINING.-Since engineer combat battalions, nondivisional,

have missions similar to those of combat battalions of the infantry division, their training is the same.

  • 82. EMPLOYMENT.- . This unit, when attached to corps, is

employed under the tactical command of engineer combat group headquarters, assigned to corps. They follov closely behind the infantry divisions and take over the maintenance of roads to relieve the division engineer troops; replace the temporary bridging expedients with more substantial structures capable of carrying the heaviest military loads; and take over the engineer dumps released by the division engineers. b. When attached to army, the unit is employed under the direction and supervision of engineer combat group headquarters assigned to army. It is used in preparation for, during, and after an attack, principally upon the maintenance of routes of communication in rear of the several corps. ENGINEER TROOPS

  • 83. DUTIES.-a. When attached to corps.-(1) Most common

duties are: (a) Improvement and maintenance of roads, bridges, and landing fields, mainly in the corps service area. (b) Construction of or extension of barrier zones. (c) Engineer assistance to corps troops and to troops attached to the corps. (d) Engineer reconnaissance. (e) Reinforcement of divisional engineer units either by taking over engineer work in division rear areas or by attachment of subordinate units, to divisional engineer units. (f) River-crossing operations to include use of assault boats, preparation of fords and other stream-crossing expedients, and construction of vehicle ferries, portable bridges, and ponton bridges capable of sustaining combat-team loads. (yg) Providing local security for own working parties. (h) Removal and passage of enemy obstacles, including mine fields. (2) Important duties less common than those given above are: (a) General construction, including construction of roads and bridges. (b) Operation of utilities to a limited extent. (c) Defense of mine fields and other obstacles. (dJ Rapid general lay-out of rear positions, marking routes, and guiding units to sectors. (e) In a stabilized situation, construction of the more elaborate defensive installations requiring the use.of special engineer equipment. (If) Combat as infantry. (g) Tank hunting. (3) Duties performed by specialists or other small groups of the battalion are: (a) The supply of engineer tools, equipment, and materials, to a limited extent. (b) Water supply. b. When attached to army.-Most common duties are: (1) Construction, improvement, and maintenance of roads, bridges, and landing fields; and construction of railways. (2) Engineer assistance to corps when necessary. (3) Engineer assistance to army troops and troops attached to army. (4) Construction of army depots and other installations. (5) Installation and operation of water supply facilities. 55 6) Engineer reconnaissance. (7) Provision of engineer materials for use of corps and divisions. (8) Operation of utilities in army area. (9) Provision of local security for own working parties. (10) Construction of deliberate field fortifications including concrete structures.