An engineer combat battalion was a designation for a battalion-strength combat engineering unit in the U.S. Army, most prevalent during World War II. They are a component of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
Also known as "combat engineer battalions" (CEB), they were typically divided into four companies: A, B, C, and Headquarters and Service (H&S).
Best known for pontoon bridge construction, their duties also included serving as sappers deploying and deactivating explosive charges and unexploded munitions, mapmaking, camouflage, and a wide variety of construction services supporting frontline troops. They also fielded defensive .30 cal. and .50 cal. machine gun squads, anti-tank rocket and grenade launchers, and were required to fight as infantry when needed.
Combat engineers played important roles in numerous World War II battles, especially breaching the heavily fortified Seigfried Line protecting the German border and numerous defensive lines established by the Wehrmacht in Italy, including the Gustav Line. Among the most familiar for their heroism and contributions to establishing key bridgeheads in the European Theater was at the Ludendorff Bridge at the Battle of Remagen.
Their construction equivalent U.S. Navy Seabees played a crucial role establishing beachheads and airstrips in the Pacific Command's island hopping strategy of defeating Japan.
A World War II era combat engineer battalion possessed both combat and combat support capabilities. These included, but were not limited to:Bridge (mobile, floating, fixed), rail, & road construction and maintenance
Conducting river crossings by pontoon/raft, motor-powered assault boats
Placing/de-arming munitions, including mines
Port & harbor maintenance and rehabilitation, including beachheads:
Laying roads and unloading/loading supplies, vehicles & personnel from transport and cargo ships
Water supply and sanitation
Establishing/maintaining supply and ammunition dumps
Building barracks, depots, and similar structures
Rescue & road patrols, bridge and road reconnaissance
Clearing of debris and wreckage
Unit defense and intelligence
Fighting as infantry when needed
Combat Engineer Battalions in the U.S. military include:1st Engineer Combat Battalion
2nd Engineer Combat Battalion
9th Engineer Combat Battaltion
14th Engineer Combat Battalion
15th Engineer Battalion
16th Engineer Battalion
31st Engineer Combat Battalion
114th Engineer Combat Battalion
244th Combat Engineers
248th Engineer Combat Battalion
249th Engineer Combat Battalion
289th Engineer Combat Battalion
291st Engineer Combat Battalion
311th Engineer Combat Battalion, 8th Blackhawk Div (United States)European Theater864th Engineer Battalion
1269th Engineer Combat Battalion