What Was the 1288 Engineer Combat Battalion in World War II?


Quick Answer

The 1288th Engineer Combat Battalion was a U.S. military unit deployed to Europe during World War II. It was deactivated at the end of the war in 1946. Among other tasks, the battalion built floating bridges and other constructions to aid in the war effort.

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Full Answer

The 1288th Engineer Combat Battalion built floating bridges across rivers such as the Rhine so that Allied forces could cross. During World War II, engineer combat battalions had several tasks among which was to destroy bridges and create obstacles to halt the approach of the Germans. The destruction of key constructions delayed the enemy long enough for the Allies to organize counteroffensives, especially during important battles. Furthermore, engineer combat battalions also fought as an infantry. These men supported soldiers during D-Day and helped to clear mines and repair roads.

Some engineer combat battalions were renowned for their efforts during the war. For instance, the 254th played an important role at the Battle of the Bulge, an unexpected German offensive toward the end of the war. As the American soldiers retreated from the attack, the engineer combat battalion destroyed several bridges to prevent the Germans from crossing. This bought the Allies enough time to launch a counteroffensive.

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