Patch
Unit Details

Strength
Battalion
 
Type
Support Unit
 
Existing/Disbanded
Deactivated

Description
The Combat Engineers during World War II had principal responsibility for construction and wide-ranging operational support but also served as infantry when necessary.  Serving in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) after extensive training, the 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion undertook every form of mission and performed with distinction.  The unit served front-line duty during the Battle of the Bulge and excelled at bridge construction to enable the Allies’ advance across Europe.  After meeting Russian forces at the Elbe River the battalion joined the Army of Occupation in Germany until receiving orders to embark for the Pacific Theatre.   Short-lived, the unit continued occupation duties into 1949 when it was inactivated, and later, reactivated for a brief period during the Korean conflict.
 
The 252nd Battalion arrived in Normandy on 19 September 1944 through Omaha Beach, with elements of the battalion having been transferred to form a provisional unit that landed on D-Day.  Mine-clearing duties in Normandy presented uncommon hazards and resulted in four engineers killed-in-action, twelve wounded and two Letters of Commendation from XVI Corp for heroism.  Subsequent to this, the unit undertook support missions through December but proximity to the front-line meant even routine assignments were conducted while under artillery fire or engaging the enemy.  From time-to-time the battalion assisted in clearing towns of enemy rear-guard and snipers.  Then, for ten days in January 1945 (the Bulge) the battalion was ordered to relieve the 102nd Infantry Division at Lieffarth and Wurm, Germany, resulting in five engineers killed and fifteen wounded.  Later, elements of the battalion were again transferred to support assault and crossing of the Rhine River.
 
Construction duties began almost immediately in the ETO, alongside support for the Red Ball Express to safe-guard Allied supply lines, clearing mines and booby-traps, road repair, saw-mill operation, material transport, light demolition, water purification and other support missions.  Soon, the Allied advance created unprecedented demand for bridges; spanning January to July, 1945 the 252nd Battalion built eight bridges at strategic locations including the Maas, Rhine and Elbe rivers.  In the earliest of these, the battalion seized on innovation and constructed a bridge directly beneath an existing structure, requiring only forty-five minutes to make it fully operational.  For the Venlo and Roosevelt bridges, the 252nd partnered with the 250th Combat Engineer Battalion in record-setting performance for size and speed, both units earning Letters of Commendation from the British 21st Army Group and US Ninth Army.
 
Code Name: CLOUDBURST
 
Motto: Igni Ferroque (translates to FIRE AND IRON)
 
Command Structure (23 July 1943):
Lt. Col. Thomas W. Wommack- Commanding / Later Maj. David H. Woods
                                                                                 Lt. Col. Robert N. Anderson
                                                                                 Lt. Col. Alexander H. Miller
Capt. Seton H. Grim- XO
Company A- 1st Lt. Paul B. Ward- CO / Later Capt. Gilbert Markarian
Company B- 1st Lt. Paul O. McKeown- CO / Later Capt. Frank G. Maguire
Company C- Capt. Withers G. Birdsong- CO / Later Capt. Milton E. Staben
Hdqtr/Service- 1st Lt. Kenneth A. Nehring- CO
 
Unit Formation/Assignments:            
Unit activated (Camp Gruber, Oklahoma)- 23 July 1943
Assigned to Third Army
Assigned to X Corp- 10 August 1943
Assigned to Ninth Army- 15 April 1944
Assigned to XVI Corp- 2 February 1945
Reassigned to Ninth Army- 8 February 1945
Assigned to Seventh Army- 15 June 1945
Redesignated 252nd Engineer Construction Battalion- January 1947
Redesignated 252nd Engineer Service Battalion- 1 September 1948
Unit inactivated (Swetingen, Germany)- 1 May 1949
Unit reactivated (Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri)- 22 March 1951
Unit inactivated (Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri)- 15 August 1952
 
Unit Strength:
At the time of formation on 23 July 1943 the battalion was comprised of four subordinate units (Headquarters/Service Company, Company A, Company B and Company C) consisting of 27 officers, 3 warrant officers and 63 enlisted men. The battalion grew to 29 officers, 2 warrant officers and 740 enlisted men by 31 December 1943 and maintained this strength through February 1944; beginning in March and through the end of World War II the battalion total averaged 630.
 
Campaigns:
Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, Central Europe
 
Deployments:
European Theatre of Operations (ETO)- 24 August 1944
France, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany (Occupation thru 1 May 1949)

Principle
Bridge Constructions:
Wood bridges- Valkenburg, Holland/11-44
Trestle Bridge- Geilenkirchen, Germany/1-45
Trestle Bridge- Holland/2-45
Venlo Bridge (Maas)- Venlo, Holland/3-45
Trestle Bridge- Munchen-Gladbach, Germany/3-45
Roosevelt Bridge (Rhine)- Wesel, Germany/4-45
Weser-Elbe Canal Bridge (Elbe)- Magdeburg, Germany/5-45
Railway Bridge- Jossa, Germany/7-45


Reports To
Engineer Units
 
Active Reporting Units
 
Inactive Reporting Unit
None
 
Unit Documents
 Travel Maps
 252nd Unit History- Dave Kaufman
 Operations Report (3 Jul-8 Aug 45)
 Battalion Journal (Feb-May 45)
 After Action Report (Jan Apr May 45)
 History (1944)
 After Action Report (Nov Dec 44)
 Special Orders (Jul 43-27 Dec 43)


6 Members Who Served in This Unit


 
  • Harrison, Walter, S/Sgt, (1943-1946)
 
If you served in this unit, reconnect with your service friends today!
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Unit Citations - Display as Table
 
Associated Patches
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Associations
 
Unit History
 
Battle/Operations History
 
Unit Timeline
Unit Inactivated
The 252nd Service Battalion (formerly the 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion) was deactivated in Swetingen, Germany.
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1949
Unit Redesignated
The 252nd Construction Battalion (formerly the 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion) is redesignated to the 252nd Service Battalion.
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1948
Europe/African/Middle Eastern Campaign
Criteria
The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, ... More
Description
Northern France Campaign
1945
Europe/African/Middle Eastern Campaign
Criteria
The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, ... More
Description
Central Europe Campaign
1945
Europe/African/Middle Eastern Campaign
Criteria
The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, ... More
Description
Rhineland Campaign
1945
World War II Victory Medal
Criteria
The World War II Victory Medal commemorates military service during the Second World War.
1945
Army of Occupation Medal 1945-1990
Criteria
The Army of Occupation Medal is a military award of the United States military which was established by the United States War Department on 5 April 1946. The medal was created in the aftermath of the ... More
Description
Germany
1945
Battalion assigned Battle of the Bulge defense
The 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion moved into the line for active defense in the Battle of the Bulge. The battalion relieved elements of the 102nd Infantry Division and were deployed as follows: Com ... More
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1945
Battalion reassigned
The 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion was reassigned from Ninth Army to Seventh Army.
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1945
Change of Station for Maneuvers
The 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion relocates from Camp Gruber, Oklahoma to Simpson and Mora, Louisiana for maneuvers.
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1944
Battalion reassigned
The 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion was reassigned from X Corp. to Ninth Army.
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1944
Unit changes station for continued training
The 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion relocates its CP from Louisiana to Camp Howze, Texas for garrison and continued training.
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1944
Battalion prepares to emmbark for Europe
The 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion relocates from Camp Howze, Texas to Camp Shanks, New York (POE) in preparation to embark for Europe.
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1944
Battalion embarks for the European Theatre of Operations (ETO)
The 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion sailed from Camp Shanks, New York (POE), arriving at Liverpool, England on September 1, 1944. Once landed, the battalion moved from Liverpool to Twyford, Berks and ... More
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1944
252nd Combat Engineers arrive in France
The battalion sailed from Southampton, England and arrived in Normandy, France through Omaha Beach.
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1944
Combat Engineer Battalion activated
The 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion was activated on July 23, 1943 at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma and initially attached to Third Army.
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1943
Battalion reassigned
The 252nd Combat Engineer Battalion was reassigned from Third Army to X Corp.
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1943
Basic training begins
252nd Combat Engineer Battalion officially begins basic training at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma where the unit was activated.
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1943
 
Unit Photos Member Photos
 


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