In the ten months from July 8, 1944, when they disembarked on Utah Beach, to May 13, 1945, four days after the war in Europe ended, the 145th Engineer Combat Battalion built and maintained bridges, cleared minefields, built drinking water supply systems, cleared debris from roads and streets, and repaired buildings for use as military facilities. They cleared snow from roads and filled potholes, and removed damaged and abandoned vehicles, ammunition, and other military hardware.
The Battalion was indeed an engineer combat battalion, serving at times as infantry on the front line. They were shelled, bombed, and strafed. They lost two men killed in action, 16 wounded in action or injured, and four missing in action.
The Battalion built at least 85 bridges, with a total length of at least 5,571 feet. On average, they built one 70-foot bridge every 3 1/2 days, an amazing achievement. And these are the ones that are documented – it’s likely that there were more, given the understandable gap in the unit logs as the 145th filled the needs for engineer and combat support during the chaos of the Battle of the Bulge.
The 145th ECB was commended multiple times for their work to keep supply routes open to the flow of soldiers, vehicles, ammunition, food, water, clothing, and everything else needed to fight the war.
Below are links to more information about
- The route followed by the 145th across France, into Luxembourg and Belgium, and into Germany
- The bridges built by the Battalion and, where the information is known, the location of those bridges and what the location looks like today
- Photographs of places and conditions experienced by the 145th
- The commendations received by the Battalion for their work