INTRO :"Heavy Ponton Bridge"There are three levels of military units: Combat, Combat Service, and Combat Service Support. Combat is Armor, Infantry, Artillery, those whose job is to fight. Combat service is those who directly service combat units: Medical, Engineers, Military Police, ect. Combat service support are the logistics train that keeps the machine running. A survey after WWII showed it took 20 men to keep one combat soldier in operation. Engineer Bns in WWII were in classed in groups of Combat Engineers, Construction Engineers, Bridge Building Units, Heavy Construction, and Facilities Engineers. Combat Engineers served directly with Infantry & Armor Units as an integral part, generally one Battalion per Division. They put in and took out minefields, built and cleared obstacles, blew bridges, direct combat utilization. Construction Engineers built roads, housing, provide water, ect. Bridge units build Bailey Bridges (pre assembled parts), pontoon (floating) bridges, and timber trestle, all while under direct fire. Facilities Engineers basically rebuild town essential functions such as power, water, ect. The Engineers stopped the German advance by blowing essential bridges at the Battle of the Bulge, they kept the Bridge at Remagen up long enough for essential units to develop a bridgehead. If the infantry/armor units come to a place where they cannot proceed, they immediately call on the engineers.
180TH ENGINEER HEAVY PONTON BATTALION
MOTTO : « IT SHALL BE CROSSED »
17 February 1942, 180th Engineer Heavy Ponton Battalion was redesignated from the Second battalion 103rd Engineers. During the period from redesignation to departure from the United States, 11 February 1944, the Battalion trained for its primary mission at Plattsburg Barracks, New York and Camp Maxey, Texas. The Battalion participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers in February and March 1943. The Unit departed from the New York Port of Embarkation on 11 February 1944 on the Duchess of Bedford bound for England. It docked at Greenock, Scotland on 22 February 1944. During the time in England from 24 February 1944 to 20 July 1944, the Battalion was stationed at Congleton, Cheshire, assigned to the Third U.S. Army and trained at Chester, England on the River Dee in the construction of the floating Bailey Bridge, Fixed Bailey Bridge and the Heavy Ponton Bridge."Bailey Bridge"
CHRONOLOGY ETO :
The Battalion landed on Utah Beach, France on 22 July 1944 Assembled and prepared for future operations.From 24 July 1944 to 14 September 1944 the Battalion was utilized by Third Army to haul and move Engineer Supplies and equipment needed during the rapid advance across France.
16 September 1944
Company B built Heavy Ponton Bridge at Pagny, France over the Moselle River. Length of Bridge 200 feet.
20 September 1944
Company A built Fixed Bailey Bridge at Thiaucourt, France.
1-5 October 1944
Company B built two fixed bridges at Auboue, France.
5-13 November 1944
Storm Boats of H&S Company and outboard Motor Operators from A and B Companies participated in assault crossings and ferrying operations on the Moselle River at Uckange, Malling and Cattenom, France.
14-15 November 1944
Company A constructed Floating Bailey Bridge over the Moselle River at Thionville, France. Length of bridge 580 feet.
14-17 November 1944
Company B constructed Floating Bailey Bridge on Moselle River at Cattenom, France. Length of bridge 506 feet.
20 November 1944
Company A constructed Heavy Ponton Bridge on Moselle River at Metz, France. Length of bridge 630 feet.
3-20 December 1944
Storm Boat Operators from H&S Company and outboard motor operators from A and B Companies participated in assault crossings and ferrying operations on the Saar River in the vicinity of Dillingen, Germany.
14 December 1944
Company B commenced construction of Heavy Ponton Bridge over Saar River in the vicinity of Wallerfangen, Germany. Bridge not completed due to extreme enemy artillery and small arms fire.
18 December 1944 to 11 January 1945
H&S Company repaired assault boats, converted Bailey footwalks to duckwalks for footbridge and constructed snowplows for XX Corp. Engineer Units.
14-15 January 1945
Company B with personnel from A and H&S Companies constructed Floating Bailey Bridge at Uckange, France over the Moselle River. Length of bridge 560 feet.
6 February 1945
Battalion was relieved of assignment to Third Army and assigned to Ninth Army.
27-28 February 1945
Company A constructed Heavy Ponton Bridge at Kivit, Germany over the Roer River. Length of bridge 190 feet
24 December 1944, to 15 January 1945
The Battalion was engaged in several hauling missions for Third Army to depots at Bastogne and Arlon, Belgium and Esch, Luxemburg. A reconnaissance of the Moselle River in the vicinity of Remich, Luxemburg was also made on 15 January 1945 for the location of a suitable site for a bridge.
CENTRAL EUROPE CAMPAIGN :
24 March 1945
H&S Company made initial assault crossings of Rhine River in Ninth Army's big push.
24-25 March 1945
Battalion with two Companies of 554th Engineer Heavy Ponton Battalion and 171st Engineer C Battalion built Heavy Ponton Bridge over the Rhine River at Wallach, Germany. Code Name Operation : « DEBONAIR »
31 March to 1 April 1945
Companies A and B built Heavy Ponton Bridge over the Rhine at Orsoy, Germany. Length of bridge 1,080 feet.
12-13 May 1945
Companies A and B built Heavy Ponton Bridge over the Elbe River, at Magdeburg, Germany. Length of bridge 680 feet.
Sgt.Vincenti Annazone H&S Co.180th "fraternising" with russian soldiers...Magdeburg, May 1945
AFTER...The 180th Engineer Battalion received credit for occupation duty in Germany for the period 2 May to 5 July 1945. At the end of the war, they were in Osterberg, Germany (which may or may not be where they performed their occupation duties) The Battalion returned to the U.S. on 26 Nov 1945.
Special Thanks to DENNIS CROWLEY for infos/pictureshttp://graywolf1.home.pipeline.com/joebegin.htmlCopyright bloodybucket.be© 2008