Pioniere

In addition to the standard infantry troops that make up a division, there were several specialized units assigned to the division to support the goals of the division

One such specialized unit was the Combat Engineer or Pioniere.  Each Pioniere completed the same training as the standard Infantryman and upon completion of his basic training received additional specialized training.

 

Deutsch Pionieren were tasked in many diverse specializations such as: Assault Engineers, Construction Engineers, Fortress Engineers, and Railway Engineers.

 

The Assault Engineers were in reality Combat Infantrymen, first in action clearing obstacles both natural or man made, creating a bridgehead for advancing troops, clearing minefields, destroying bunkers, setting demolitions, creating minefields, to name a few of the duties of the Combat Engineer.

 

The Pioniere component for the 353rd Inf. Div. consisted of a Battalion Headquarters of 620 men and 3 Engineer Companies of 179 men each.

 

Combat Engineers were issued specialized equipment not normally used by infantry troops, such as long or short  handle shovels, long and short handle wire cutters, engineer hand saw, assault packs-front and back, explosive tool kit, explosives, detonator.

 

In addition to the standard wool uniforms, most non-assault engineers were issued white cotton work uniforms.  These could then be washed at the end of the day, if conditions permitted, providing a clean uniform for the next day's work.  

This section was written by George Reinke and most of these photographs were taken from a number of photo albums of German Pioniers owned by him as well. Other images were taken from a number of books,  online sources, and auction sites.  The photos are presented here for educational purposes.