Photo from Ralph R. Hotchkiss Archives. Engineers assist displaced Italian locals on a makeshift ferry.
During the Italian Campaign of WWII, Combat Engineers were tantamount to the failure or success of every confrontation. Stories of their heroic efforts can be viewed at winterlinestories.com.
The Engineers unofficial song sums up their role in war:
“We lay down all their rolling roads, we cut down all their trees
And if the orders ever come, we’d forge the raging seas.
Whenever they want to sleep a while, we put them up a town,
And we build the blasted bridges so the Infantry won’t drown!
We put them over rivers and across the mountains streams,
Do everything but tuck them in, and wish them pleasant dreams.
When the going’s really tough, and bombs do burst their ears,
The whole division’s quick to say, “GOD SEND THE ENGINEERS!”
We build and blow your bridges and fix your roads up, too.
There aren’t too many things in life an Engineer can’t do.
You never seem to need us till your minds are full of fear,
Then the first thing that you call for are the Combat Engineer
We build and guard your barriers, we build your bunkers too.
And each and every way we prove what Engineers can do.
For in the thick of every fight, the cry has been for years,
Come clear the path, save our ass, you Combat Engineers!!!”
Lyrics by Cpl. Miller