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Combat engineering


Combat Engineering is the military doctorine of using theknowledge, tools and techniques of engineering in the battle field.

A combat engineer is a military specialist in using the tools and techniques of engineering under combat conditions, who may perform any of a varietyof tasks. Such tasks typically include bridge and road construction; and mine laying, or detection and clearing. In otherwords, the combat engineer's tasks involve facillitating movement of allied forces, and impeding movement of the enemy's.

Usually, a combat engineer is also trained as infantry rifleman and has generalcombat-engineering training as well as special experties.



A general combat enigneer is often called " Sapper " (the word itself derived from the French and British armies). In some armies- the term Sapper is a professional term and indicating on specific military rank and level of training.

For example:

  • Sapper (abbreviated Spr) is also the Royal Engineers ' equivalentof Private.
  • This is also the case within the Royal Australian Engineers, where referring to a Sapper as a Private is considered an insultand can result in disciplinary charges being laid.
  • In the Israeli Defence Forces , Sapper 07 (פלס 07 ) is a professional-rank denoting a combat engineer who graduate basic general engineeringtraining.

Also to note is that the term combat engineer is different than a field engineer . The last isusually denotes a mechanic of the Ordenance Corps which is skilled infield maintainence of equipment, weapons and armoredfighting vehicles .

Military engineer is an engineer specializing in military applications such as construction , fortification design, weapons design andmore. The difference between a military engineer to a combat engineer is that a combat engineer usually operates during battle and under fire, while a military engineer is mostly not directlyinvolved in the fighting.




In Ancient times, combat engineers were responsible for siege warfare and building field fortifications , temporary camps and roads. The bestengineers of the ancient times were probably the Romans, who constructed huge siege-machines ( catapults , battering rams and siege towers ) as well as constructing fortified wooden camps and paved roads fortheir legions . Many of these Romanroads are still in active use two thousand years later.

In the Middle Ages combat engineers focused mainly on siege warfare. Theyplanned castles and fortresses. When laying a siege, they planned and oversaw the efforts to penetrate through the castle'sdefences. When castles served a military purpose, one of the tasks of sappers was toweaken the bases of castle walls to enable them to be breached--before means of thwarting these activities were invented. Broadlyspeaking, sappers were originally experts at demolishing or otherwise overcoming or bypassing fortification systems.

When the first cannons appeared, combat engineers were responsible for maintainingthe cannons while planning counter- artillery fortifications .

For more information about combat engineering before the modern era, see: Military engineer .

During the 20th century , combat engineers gained vast knowledge andexperience in explosives . They are in charge for planting bombs, landmines and dynamites . More over, they arethe only one with clearance to detonate enemy's explosive charge or handle live ammunition that failed to explode. They are incharge of the EOD department and they train specialist to difuse bombs.

Modern combat engineerings still retain the Roman role of building field fortifications , pave roads and breach through terrain obstacles. Notable combatengineerings were, for example, the breaching of the Suez canal during Yom Kippur War .

Combat Engineering Corps in the armies of the world

United States

In the United States Army , the three tasks of the combatengineer are mobility, countermobility, and survivability.

  • Mobility: improving your own force's ability to move around the battlefield and transport supplies. Caninclude constructing bridges , roads , airfields , seaports and other facilities. Seealso logistics . May include removing and disarming landmines and booby traps .
  • Countermobility: building obstacles to prevent the enemy from movingaround the battlefield. Destroying bridges, blocking roads, cratering airstrips, digging trenches, etc. Can also include planting landmines and booby traps although this is controversial under international law .
  • Survivability: building structures which enable one's own soldiers to survive on the battlefield. Trenches, bunkers, shelters, fighting positions.

Plastic explosives are heavily used in combat engineering , which also includes explosive ordnance disposal.


See main article: Israeli EngineeringCorps .

In the Israeli Defence Forces the combat engineersare organized under the Israel Engineering Corps חיל ההנדסה הקרבית . In addition to IECsappers, each infantry brigade has an engineering company trained with basic engineering and EOD skills. IEC sappers are oftenattached to other units (such as armored divisions or infanty) in order to help them breach through obstacles and handleexplosive threats. The IEC operates advance engineering tools such as Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer, IDF Puma armored CEV , EOD robots and electromagnetic mine-detectors. Their main role are enabling Israeliforces to advance (breach through enemy's obstacles), stop the enemy's movement, handle explosive, and perform construction anddestruction under fire.

Royal Engineers of UK and Australia

Sapper (abbreviated Spr) is also the Royal Engineers ' equivalentof Private.

This is also the case within the Royal Australian Engineers, where referring to a Sapper as a Private is considered an insultand can result in disciplinary charges being laid.

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