There are relatively few sources of information about the 145th ECB. The two most important are the unit history compiled by Robert Greenwalt, who served as commander of Company C during much of the Battalion’s time in Europe, and the booklet of photographs taken by Benedetto Ballone, the unit photographer. These are the two primary sources of information, which for the basis for the two formal studies related to the Battalion’s history prepared by officers at the Army Command and General Staff School. The copies I have of the Greenwalt and Ballone documents are both reproductions and are difficult to interpret in places, but provide a tremendous amount of information.
The two Master’s Theses extend the information in Greenwalt’s history. “First on the Line,” by Major Shawn Umbrell, is relevant to the period before the 145th was formed from the 2nd Battalion of the 35th Engineer Regiment, during construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942. “Unit Heritage: Lost and Found” is a very nice resource by Major David Snodgrass. Major Snodgrass undertook this study as a consequence of his assignment to “stand up” the 70th Engineer Battalion in 1992, and began looking into the heritage of the unit to provide the Battalion with a sense of the unit’s history and accomplishment. The 145th ECB was the “ancestor” unit of the 70th, leading Major Snodgrass to dig into the unit’s history. For anyone interested in the 145th ECB, it’s a worthy read.
There are a few items on this site that have not been published before to my knowledge. I received a scrapbook kept by my grandfather, John McGaughey, who was commanding officer of the 145th from at least the Battalion’s arrival in England until early February 1945, when he became ill and had to leave the unit. His scrapbook contained numerous photos and drawings. Nearly all of the photos were from those taken by Corporal Benedetto, but the drawings were different, and showed more of the personality of the Battalion.
I’ve also added a few links to other sites that discuss combat engineers in World War II Europe, both of which are much more thorough. The 300th Combat Engineer site in particular provides a wealth of information about combat engineers and their training.
- Arsicaud, Thierry (2003). “Notes on the Modified British System of coordinates used on the European Theatre of Operations during the WWII.” https://www.echodelta.net/mbs/eng-welcome.php
- Ballone, Benedetto F. (undated). WWII Bridge Pictures. pdf document (15.4 MB): WWII Bridge Pix
- Greenwalt, Robert J. (1988). 145th Engineer Combat Battalion, U.S. Army Military History Institute, 106 pp. pdf document (14.5 MB): 145th_ECB_History
- Snodgrass, David B. (1995). Unit Heritage: Lost and Found. Master’s Thesis, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS. pdf document (11.0 MB): Snodgrass 95 – Unit Heritage – Lost and Found
- Umbrell, Shawn M. (2009). First on the Line: The 35th Engineer Combat Battalion in World War Two and the Evolution of a High-Performance Combat Unit. Master’s Thesis, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS. pdf document (146 kB): First on the Line
- The WWII 300th Combat Engineers. Very nice site with a lot of information about WWII combat engineers in general. Includes an in-depth discussion of training at Camp White, Oregon, where the 145th ECB also trained.
- 284th Engineer Combat Battalion. Full of good information about the 284th ECB, which operated in some of the same areas in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. Includes documents from the U.S. Army III Corps, to which the 145th was attached in late 1944 and early 1945.
- VI Corps Combat Engineers of WWII. This site has some interesting forums for exchanging information and is kept up to date.