A sapper, also called pioneer or combat engineer, is a combatant or soldier who performs a variety of military engineering duties such as breaching fortifications, demolitions, bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, preparing field defenses, as well as working on road and airfield construction and repair. They are also trained to serve as infantry personnel in defensive and offensive operations. A sapper's duties are devoted to tasks involving facilitating movement, defence and survival of allied forces and impeding those of enemies. The term "sapper" is used in the British Army and Commonwealth nations, Polish Army and the U.S. military. The word "sapper" comes from the French word sapeur, itself being derived from the verb saper (to undermine, to dig under a wall or building to cause its collapse).

The sappers ("sapeurs") of the French Foreign Legion traditionally sport large beards, wear leather aprons and gloves in their ceremonial dress, and carry axes.

Historical origin


No.2 Company, Bombay Sappers and Miners, China 1900
Soldiers of No 2 Field Company, Bombay Sappers and Miners on duty in China in 1900. The mule carries the tools required for field engineering tasks.

A sapper, in the sense first used by the French military, was one who dug trenches to allow besieging forces to advance towards the enemy defensive works and forts, over ground that is under the defenders' musket or artillery fire. This digging was referred to as sapping the enemy fortifications. Saps were excavated by brigades of trained sappers or instructed troops. When an army was defending a fortress with cannons, they had an obvious height and therefore range advantage over the attacker's guns. The attacking army's artillery had to be brought forward, under fire, so as to facilitate effective counter-battery fire.

This was achieved by digging what the French termed a sappe[1] (derived from the archaic French word for spade or entrenching tool).[2][3] Using techniques developed and perfected by Vauban, the sappers began the trench at such an angle so as to avoid enemy fire enfilading the sappe by firing down its length. As they pressed forward, a position was prepared from which cannon could suppress the defenders on the fort's bastions. The sappers would then change the course of their trench, zig-zagging toward the fortress wall. Each leg brought the attacker's artillery closer until the besieged cannon would be sufficiently suppressed for the attackers to breach the walls. Broadly speaking, sappers were originally experts at demolishing or otherwise overcoming or bypassing fortification systems.


The fort of Ghazni which fell as a result of mining by a mixed contingent of the Bombay and Bengal Sappers during the First Afghan War on 23 July 1839.

An additional term applied to sappers of the British Indian Army was "miner". The native engineer corps were called "sappers and miners", as for example, the Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners. The term arose from a task done by sappers to further the battle after saps were dug. The saps permitted cannon to be brought into firing range of the besieged fort and its cannon, but often the cannon themselves were unable to breach the fort walls. The engineers would dig a tunnel from the forward-most sap up to and under the fort wall, then place a charge of gunpowder and ignite it, causing a tremendous explosion that would destroy the wall and permit attacking infantry to close with the enemy. This was dangerous work, often lethal to the sappers, and was fiercely resisted by the besieged enemy. Since the two tasks went hand in hand and were done by the same troops, native Indian engineer corps came to be called "sappers and miners".

Specific usage

Commonwealth of Nations

Sapper (abbreviated Spr) is the Royal Engineers' equivalent of private. This is also the case within the Indian Army Corps of Engineers, Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers Royal Canadian Engineers, Royal Australian Engineers,[4] South African Army Engineer Formation, Jamaica Defence Force Engineer Regiment, and Royal New Zealand Engineers. The term "sapper" was introduced in 1856 when the Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners was amalgamated with the officer corps of the Royal Engineers to form the Corps of Royal Engineers.


Benat Yakub bridge
Jisr Benat Yakub repaired (September 1918)

During the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I Australian sappers repaired a bridge at the historic crossing of the Jordan River at Jisr Benat Yakub (also known as Jacob's Ford). Here the retreating Ottoman and German rearguard had blown up the bridge's central arch which was repaired in five hours by sappers attached to the Australian Mounted Division. While the light horse brigades forded the river, continuing the Desert Mounted Corps' advance to Damascus, the sappers worked through the night of 27/28 September 1918, to repair the bridge to enable the division's wheeled vehicles and guns to follow on 28 September.[5][6][7]


In the Canadian Forces, sappers exist both in the regular force and reserve force. The rank of sapper is used instead of private trained to signify completion of the Engineer DP1 course. Canadian sappers have been deployed in many major conflicts in recent history including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the War in Afghanistan. The roles of a sapper entail: Bridge building with the ACROW, Bailey, or Medium Girder Bridge bridging systems; explosive ordnance disposal; operating the advanced reverse-osmosis water purification unit, used mainly in domestic operations; maintaining roadways and airfields; combat diving; tactical breaching; and erecting and tearing down friendly living spaces. Ultimately, the objective of the sappers is to facilitate the living, moving, and fighting for friendly troops on the battlefield, and denying the same to enemy forces. The motto of the Canadian Military Engineers is Ubique (Latin: everywhere) a motto shared with the Royal Canadian Artillery. The patron saint of combat engineers is Saint Barbara, and 4 December is the corps' day of celebration.

Indian Army

The term "sappers", in addition to the connotation of rank of engineer private, is used collectively to informally refer to the Engineer Corps as a whole and also forms part of the informal names of the three combat engineer groups, viz. Madras Sappers, Bengal Sappers and the Bombay Sappers. Each of these groups consist of about twenty battalion-sized engineer regiments and additional company-sized minor engineer units. The three sapper groups are descended from the sapper and miner groups of the East India Company and later the British Indian Army of the British Raj.


In the Israel Defense Forces a sapper (in Hebrew: פלס, palas) is the military profession of a combat soldier who went through basic combat engineering training. Most of the sappers are soldiers of the Combat Engineering Corps, but there are also infantry sappers, who are part of the infantry brigades and are organized in engineering companies called פלחה"ן (palchan). These companies are integral part of the infantry brigades. Combat engineering corps sappers are arranged in battalions.

Each sapper goes through high level infantry training, which qualifies him as rifleman 06 (רובאי 06). Combat engineering sappers are qualified as "sapper 06" (פלס 06). They are skilled in infantry combat, basic sabotage, landmine planting and demining, use of explosives, breaching and opening routes, trench warfare, and operating the IDF Puma combat engineering vehicle. Combat engineering commanders are qualified as "sapper 08" while combat engineering officers are qualified as "sapper 11". Both go through additional advance training to gain the skills needed for high level sapper profession.

The Israel Police also maintains a bomb disposal specialist unit. All police sappers must graduate from a 10-month training program at the bomb disposal training center in Beit Shemesh, which includes operational exercises, theoretical studies, and fieldwork.[8]


Insignia of the military sappers
Lawrence Alma-Tadema 12.jpeg
French sappers during the Battle of Berezina in 1812

In France, sapper (sapeur) is the title of military combat engineers and firefighters, both civil and military, (sapper-fireman or sapeur-pompier). Military sappers fall under the umbrella of the Engineering Arm or Arme du Génie. A related title is pioneer (pionnier), used only in the French Foreign Legion.


Sapeurs du génie de la Garde impériale, 1810 crop
French Imperial Guard sappers, 1810

The French Corps of Engineers was created under the command of Marshall Vauban during the late 17th century. Its members were called sappers if their function was to destroy enemy fortifications by using trenches or sape and miners if they engaged in tunnel warfare or mine. The Corps of the Engineers was suppressed during two short periods (1720-1729 and 1769-1793) and sappers and miners were part of the Artillery regiments. In 1793, the Corps was reorganized into companies of miners and battalions of sappers, each assigned to a particular division.

Eventually, as the missions of the Corps grew more diversified, additional titles were used by combat engineers, such as Conductor (sapeur-conducteur) in 1810, entrusted with the logistics of the Corps, Firefighter (sapeur-pompier) in 1810 or telegraph sapper (sapeur-télégraphiste). In 1814, the companies of miners were integrated into the sapper battalions, themselves organized in Engineers Regiments (régiments du génie). In 1875, the distinction between miners and sappers was abolished and all members of the Corps of Engineers were titled sappers-miners, though only sapper was used in common usage. In 1894, the pontonniers or bridgemakers were transferred from the Artillery Corps to the Engineers, thus creating the title sapeurs-pontonniers. In 1909, the Engineering Arm of the Army Staff was entrusted the burgeoning Air Service (Aérostation militaire), its personal was titled sapper-airman (sapeur-aérostier). The titled was disused in 1914 when the Air Service took its independence from the Engineering Arm.


BSPP section Bastille Day 2008
Sapeurs-pompiers de Paris (Paris Fire Brigade) on parade

The first fire company created by Napoléon I was a military sapper company of the French Imperial Guard, created in 1810. This company was tasked with the protection of the Imperial palaces after the tragic fire of the Austrian embassy in Paris on July 1, 1810. The Paris Fire Service (gardes-pompes), a civilian institution, was re-organized as a military unit in September 1811, becoming the Paris Sappers-Firefighters Battalion. Other cities kept or created civilian firefighters services but used the military ranks and organization of the Paris Battalion. In 1831, National Guard engineers companies became the reserve components of the Fire Services and kept their military organization even after the disappearance of the National Guard in 1852. Sapper-firefighter is the common title of the civilian and Paris firefighters in France, but the other military firefighters units, such as the Marseille Naval Fire Battalion, do not use the sapper title, as they had no military engineers lineage.


Since the 18th century, every grenadier battalion in the French Army had a small unit of pioneers, sometimes called sappers-pioneers (sapeurs-pionniers). They had the mission to advance under enemy fire in order to destroy the obstacles drawn by the enemy and to clear the way for the rest of the infantry. The danger of such missions resulted in pioneers having short life expectancies. Because of this, the army allowed them certain privileges such as the authorization to wear beards. In addition to their beards and axes, they traditionally wear leather aprons and gloves.

The pioneers units disappeared during the mid-20th c. century, their last appearance being the short-lived Pioneers Regiments of 1939-1944, a military public works service using the older draftees in the army. Only the Foreign Legion kept using a pioneer unit, mainly for representation duty. The current pioneer unit of the Legion reintroduced the symbols of the Napoleonic pioneers : the beard, the axe, the leather apron, the crossed-axes insignia and the leather gloves. If the parades of the Legion are opened by this unit, it is to commemorate the traditional role of the pioneers "opening the way" for the troops. The pioneer unit is made up for parades of selected men taken in both the Infantry and the Engineers regiments of the Legion.


In the Hellenic Army, there is the "mechanic" or "Corps of Engineers" (μηχανικό; michaniko).


The Italian Army uses the term "Guastatori" for its combat engineers, "Pionieri" for its construction engineers, "Pontieri" for its bridging engineers, and "Ferrovieri" for its railroad engineers.


In Portugal, the term "sapper" is used both in the military and in the civilian environment.bIn the Portuguese Army, a sapador de engenharia (engineering sapper) is a soldier of the engineer branch that has specialized combat engineer training. A sapador de infantaria (infantry sapper) is a soldier of the infantry branch that has a similar training and that usually serves in the combat support sapper platoon of an infantry battalion. A sapador NBQ (NBC sapper) is an engineer branch soldier specialized in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare.

The bombeiros-sapadores ("sapper-firefighters") are the civil municipal professional firefighters that exist in the main cities of the country. The largest unit of this type is the Regimento de Bombeiros Sapadores ("sapper-firefighters regiment") maintained by the Lisbon municipal council. The sapadores florestais (forest sappers) are the professionals maintained by the government, local authorities and large private forestry companies, who cleans and maintain forests and prevents and fights forest fires.

Pakistan Army

In the Pakistan Army, sapper officers perform combat and normal engineer duties. The Corps is led by Engineer-in-Chief who is a Lt Gen. The current Engineer-in-Chief is Lt Gen Khalid Asghar. The Frontier Works Organization, Military Engineering Service and the Survey of Pakistan is part of the corps. Initially part of the Indian Corps of Engineers, it dates back to 1780 but came to its modern form in 1947 following the Independence of Pakistan. Since then it has taken part in all wars including 1965 War, 1971 War and Kargil War. It has completed the Pakistan portion of Karakoram Highway. The corps is taking part in Operation Zarb-e-Azb

United States Army

US combat engineer setting a charge in World War II

In the United States Army, sappers are combat engineers who support the front-line infantry, and they have fought in every war in U.S. history. For example, after the Battle of Yorktown, General Washington cited Louis Lebègue Duportail, the Chief of Engineers, for conduct which afforded "brilliant proofs of his military genius."

Designation as a sapper nowadays is earned as an additional proficiency. The U.S. Army authorizes four skill tabs[9] for permanent wear above the unit patch on the left shoulder (Army Regulation 670-1 Chapter 29-13, Sub-Paragraph f). Along with the Sapper Tab, the Special Forces Tab, the Ranger Tab, and the President's Hundred Tab identify soldiers who have passed a demanding course of military instruction and demonstrated their competence in particular specialities and skills.

To wear the Sapper Tab, a soldier must graduate from the sapper leader course which is operated by the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The sapper leader course is a 28-day course designed to train joint-service leaders in small unit tactics, leadership skills, and tactics required to perform as part of a combined arms team. The course is open to enlisted soldiers in the grades of E-4 (P) (in the army, specialist on the list for promotion to sergeant) E-5, and above, cadets, and officers O-3 (army captain) and below. Students can come from any combat or combat support branch of the service, but priority is given to engineer, cavalry, and infantry soldiers.[10]

PAVN and Viet Cong

Sapper formation- PAVN/Viet Cong

PAVN (People's Army of Vietnam) and Viet Cong sappers, as they were called by US forces, are better described as commando units. The Vietnamese term đặc công can be literally translated as "special task". Thousands of specially trained elite fighters served in the PAVN and Viet Cong commando–sapper units which were organized as independent formations. While not always successful due to lack of appropriate personal weapon types for combat and assault like other special forces, at times they inflicted heavy damage against their enemies. They have been armed with various types of bombs, mines, explosive charges, grenades and even steel-pellet mines which were much more devastating than the U.S. M18 Claymore and are still the main weapons of the đặc công.

These elite units served as raiders against American/ARVN troops, and infiltrated spearheads during the final Ho Chi Minh Campaign in 1975, where they seized key road and bridge assets, destroyed installations, attacked command and control nodes located deep inside enemy territory, planted explosives on U.S. water craft, and otherwise helped the PAVN's rapid mobile forces advance. A typical PAVN/VC đặc công organization is shown in the diagram. The raiding force was usually grouped into assault teams, each broken down into several 3–5 man assault cells. Overall, there were generally four operational echelons.[11]

An instance of a successful sapper attack conducted by the Viet Cong was the during the Battle of Fire Base Mary Ann. A small number of sappers, through surprise, conducted a successful attack on a superior US force. The battle was described as a "rampage of VC who threw satchels at the command bunker, knifed Americans in their sleep and destroyed all communications equipment. [12]

Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire had an infantry corp named Lağımcılar Ocağı (Tr: [13]) (literally: Sapper Corps). These infantries were used in most of the Empire's sieges, demolishing enemy fortifications and defences.


Sapper Island, St. Joseph Channel, Algoma District, Ontario was named in honour of sappers, especially those who graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada.[14] 46°18′56″N 83°57′29″W / 46.31556°N 83.95806°W

In fiction

In the 1978 song by Australian rock band Cold Chisel, "Khe Sanh", the narrator (a fictional Australian army Vietnam War veteran) says "I left my heart to the sappers round Khe Sanh". However, the only sappers or combat engineers present at the historical Battle of Khe Sanh belonged to US, South Vietnamese and (opposing) North Vietnamese units.

See also


  1. ^ James, Charles (1816). "Sape". An Universal Military Dictionary, in English and French: In which are Explained the Terms of the Principal Sciences that are Necessary for the Information of an Officer. T. Egerton. p. 781. Archived from the original on 26 July 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018. Sappe not only signifies the opening which is made but also the act of sapping. Richelet, Boyer, and others write the word with one p, Trevoux and Belidor with two; but the mere spelling of a word seems not to have been much attended to, even by the best French writers.
  2. ^ Brachet, Auguste (1882). "Sape". An Etymological Dictionary of the French Language: Crowned by the French Academy. Clarendon Press. p. 352. Archived from the original on 26 July 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018. Image of p. 352 at Google Books
  3. ^ "Roman military entrenching tool". Museum of London Prints. Archived from the original on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  4. ^ Jobson 2009, p. 96.
  5. ^ Preston pp. 261–2
  6. ^ Carver 2003 p. 242
  7. ^ Falls 1930 Vol. 2 p. 568
  8. ^ Efraim, Omri (20 September 2011). "Israel Police get 1st female sapper". Israel News. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  9. ^ AR 670-1: Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine U.S. Army, revised: 11 May 2012.
  10. ^ Sapper Course, US Army, archived from the original on 9 September 2006
  11. ^ Ott 1975, pp.1–42.
  12. ^ Nolan, Keith William (2007). Sappers in the Wire: The Life and Death of Firebase Mary Ann. Texas A & M University Press. ISBN 9781585446438.
  13. ^ "Lağımcı Ocağı - Vikipedi" (in (in Turkish)). 18 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  14. ^ Ontario History, Papers and Records, Vol. X, Ontario Historical Society, 1913. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  • Carver, Michael, Field Marshal Lord (2003). The National Army Museum Book of The Turkish Front 1914–1918: The Campaigns at Gallipoli, in Mesopotamia and in Palestine. London: Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-283-07347-2.
  • Falls, Cyril; A. F. Becke (maps) (1930). Military Operations Egypt & Palestine from June 1917 to the End of the War. Official History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence. 2 Part II. London: H.M. Stationery Office. OCLC 256950972.
  • Jobson, Christopher (2009). Looking Forward, Looking Back: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Army. Wavell Heights, Queensland: Big Sky Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9803251-6-4.
  • Ott, David Ewing, (1975). Vietnam Studies, Field Artillery, 1954–1973. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History.
  • Preston, R. M. P. (1921). The Desert Mounted Corps: An Account of the Cavalry Operations in Palestine and Syria 1917–1918. London: Constable & Co. OCLC 3900439.

External links

1st Combat Engineer Regiment (Australia)

The 1st Combat Engineer Regiment (1 CER) is a combat engineer regiment of the Australian Army. Based in the Northern Territory and attached to 1st Brigade, it is a Regular Army unit of the Royal Australian Engineers and is tasked with providing mobility and counter mobility support.

3rd Belorussian Front

The 3rd Belorussian Front (Russian: 3-й Белорусский фронт) (alternative spellings are 3rd Byelorussian Front and 3rd Belarusian Front) was a Front of the Red Army during the Second World War.

The 3rd Belorussian Front was created on April 24, 1944, from forces previously assigned to the Western Front. Over 381 days in combat, the 3rd Belorussian Front suffered 166,838 killed, 9,292 missing, and 667,297 wounded, sick, and frostbitten personnel while advancing from the region some 50 kilometers southeast of Vitebsk in Russia to Königsberg in East Prussia.

Operations the 3rd Belorussian Front took part in include the Belorussian Offensive Operation, the Baltic Offensive Operation, and the East Prussian Offensive Operation. Although costly, the advance of the 3rd Belorussian Front was in great part victorious, with one of the few defeats occurring during the Gumbinnen Operation in October 1944.

3rd Belorussian Front was formally disbanded on August 15, 1945.

Alessi (Italian company)

Alessi is a housewares and kitchen utensil company in Italy, manufacturing and marketing everyday items authored by a wide range of designers, architects, and industrial designers — including Achille Castiglioni, Richard Sapper, Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass, Wiel Arets, Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito, Tom Kovac, Greg Lynn, MVRDV, Jean Nouvel, UN Studio, Michael Graves and Philippe Starck.

Battle of Mount Tumbledown

The Battle of Mount Tumbledown was an engagement in the Falklands War, one of a series of battles that took place during the British advance towards Stanley.

Bulldog Drummond

Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond is a British fictional character, created by H. C. McNeile and published under his pen name "Sapper". Following McNeile's death in 1937, the novels were continued by Gerard Fairlie. Drummond is a World War I veteran who, fed up with his sedate lifestyle, advertises looking for excitement, and becomes a gentleman adventurer. The character has appeared in novels, short stories, on the stage, in films, on radio and television, and in graphic novels.

Cayoosh Pass

Cayoosh Pass (1,275 m / 4,183 ft) is a mountain pass in the Lillooet Ranges of the Pacific Ranges of the southern Coast Mountains in British Columbia, Canada. It lies just west of Duffey Lake on BC Highway 99 between the towns of Lillooet and Pemberton, formed by the headwaters of Cayoosh Creek to the east, flowing to the Fraser River at Lillooet, and Joffre Creek to the west, flowing steeply downhill to Lillooet Lake just southeast of the Mount Currie Indian Reserve.

Cayoosh Pass and the valleys of Cayoosh and Joffre Creeks form the southern boundary of the Cayoosh Range, a subrange of the Lillooet Ranges. Long known to the St'at'imc and Lil'wat peoples whose territories include it, the pass was first traversed by a non-indigenous person when James Duffey, a.k.a. "Sapper Duffy" of the Royal Engineers, investigated the route in 1859–1860 during a resurvey and reconstruction of the Douglas Road, the route of which passed the Joffre Creek foot of the pass and followed the northern perimeter of the Cayoosh Range. Cayoosh Pass was reported by Sapper Duffey to be too steep for wagons and any thought of a road by that route was shelved until the later 20th Century. Newer engineering techniques in the 1970s saw a surge in logging road construction in the Pemberton area, which came over the summit of the pass into valleys south of Duffey Lake. Logging roads from the Lillooet side eventually linked up with the Pemberton-side roads by the late 1970s and this route was ultimately chosen for the extension of Highway 99 northwards from Pemberton, over the other available routes were one via Railroad Pass and the Hurley River, to the north of Pemberton, and another via Anderson and Seton Lakes, the route followed by the railway.

Combat engineer

A combat engineer (also called field engineer, pioneer or sapper in many armies) is a soldier who performs a variety of construction and demolition tasks under combat conditions.

The combat engineer's goals involve facilitating movement and support of friendly forces while impeding those of the enemy. Combat engineers build fighting positions, fortifications, and roads. They conduct demolitions missions and clear minefields using specialized vehicles. Typical combat engineer missions include construction and breaching of trenches, tank traps and other fortifications; bunker construction; bridge and road construction or destruction; laying or clearing land mines; and combined arms breaching. Typically, a combat engineer is also trained as an infantryman, and combat engineer units often have a secondary role fighting as infantry.

H. C. McNeile

Herman Cyril McNeile, MC (28 September 1888 – 14 August 1937), commonly known as Cyril McNeile and publishing under the name H. C. McNeile or the pseudonym Sapper, was a British soldier and author. Drawing on his experiences in the trenches during the First World War, he started writing short stories and getting them published in the Daily Mail. As serving officers in the British Army were not permitted to publish under their own names, he was given the pen name "Sapper" by Lord Northcliffe, the owner of the Daily Mail; the nickname was based on that of his corps, the Royal Engineers.

After the war McNeile left the army and continued writing, although he changed from war stories to thrillers. In 1920 he published Bulldog Drummond, whose eponymous hero became his best-known creation. The character was based on McNeile himself, on his friend Gerard Fairlie and on English gentlemen generally. McNeile wrote ten Bulldog Drummond novels, as well as three plays and a screenplay.

McNeile interspersed his Drummond work with other novels and story collections that included two characters who appeared as protagonists in their own works, Jim Maitland and Ronald Standish. He was one of the most successful British popular authors of the inter-war period before his death in 1937 from throat cancer, which has been attributed to damage sustained from a gas attack in the war.

McNeile's stories are either directly about the war, or contain people whose lives have been shaped by it. His thrillers are a continuation of his war stories, with upper class Englishmen defending England from foreigners plotting against it. Although he was seen at the time as "simply an upstanding Tory who spoke for many of his countrymen", after the Second World War his work was criticised as having fascist overtones, while also displaying the xenophobia and anti-semitism apparent in some other writers of the period.

Italian Front (World War I)

The Italian Front or Alpine Front (Italian: Fronte alpino; in German: Gebirgskrieg, "Mountain war") was a series of battles at the border between Austria-Hungary and Italy, fought between 1915 and 1918 in World War I. Following the secret promises made by the Allies in the Treaty of London, Italy entered the war in order to annex the Austrian Littoral and northern Dalmatia, and the territories of present-day Trentino and South Tyrol. Although Italy had hoped to gain the territories with a surprise offensive, the front soon bogged down into trench warfare, similar to the Western Front fought in France, but at high altitudes and with very cold winters. Fighting along the front displaced much of the civilian population, of which several thousand died from malnutrition and illness in Italian and Austrian refugee camps. The Allied victory at Vittorio Veneto, the disintegration of Austria-Hungary and the Italian capture of Trento, Bolzano and Trieste ended the military operations.

Karl Sapper

Karl Theodor Sapper (6 February 1866 – 29 March 1945) was a German traveller, explorer, antiquarian and linguist, who is known for his research into the natural history, cultures and languages of Central America around the turn of the 20th century.

Sapper spent over twelve years (1888–95) traveling through much of Central America, and in the process published a number of scientific works on aspects from vulcanology to Mesoamerican languages to descriptions and maps of Maya archaeological sites.Sapper's contributions to the study of Mesoamerican languages include his initial proposal, made in a 1912 paper, which surmised that the highland regions of Chiapas and Guatemala was the location from which the Mayan languages and the Maya peoples later diversified. The assessment of a number of modern linguists places the likely home of the Proto-Mayan language as being centered on the Cuchumatanes highlands of Guatemala, with a subsequent early occupancy of the Chiapas highlands proper.Sapper is commemorated in the scientific names of two Central American snakes: Amastridium sapperi and Micrurus diastema sapperi.

List of works by H. C. McNeile

Cyril McNeile, MC (born Herman Cyril McNeile; 1888–1937) was a British soldier and author. During the First World War he wrote short stories based on his experiences in the trenches with the Royal Engineers. These were published in the Daily Mail under the pseudonym Sapper, the nickname of his regiment, and were later published as collections through Hodder & Stoughton. McNeile also wrote a series of articles titled The Making of an Officer, which appeared under the initials C. N., in five issues of The Times between 8 and 14 June 1916; these were also subsequently collected together and published. During the course of the war, McNeile wrote more than 80 collected and uncollected stories.McNeile continued writing after he left the army in 1919, although he stopped writing war stories and began to publish thrillers. In 1920 he published Bulldog Drummond, whose eponymous hero became his best-known creation. The character was based on McNeile himself, his idea of an English gentleman and his friend Gerard Fairlie. McNeile wrote ten Bulldog Drummond novels, as well as three plays and a screenplay.McNeile interspersed his Drummond work with other novels and story collections, including two characters who appeared as protagonists in their own works, Jim Maitland and Ronald Standish. McNeile was one of the most successful British popular authors of the inter-war period, before his death in 1937 from throat cancer, which has been attributed to being caught in a gas attack in the war.

Richard Sapper

Richard Sapper (30 May 1932 – 31 December 2015) was a German industrial designer based in Milan, Italy. He is considered as one of the most important designers of his generation, his products typically featuring a combination of technical innovation, simplicity of form and an element of wit and surprise. He received numerous international design awards, including 11 prestigious Compasso d'Oro awards and the Raymond Loewy Foundation's Lucky Strike award. His products are part of the permanent collections of many museums around the world, with over 15 designs represented at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), as well as London's Victoria and Albert and Design Museums.

Royal Engineers

The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers (RE), and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army.

It provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces and is headed by the Chief Royal Engineer. The Regimental Headquarters and the Royal School of Military Engineering are in Chatham in Kent, England. The corps is divided into several regiments, barracked at various places in the United Kingdom and around the world.

Sapper Tab

The Sapper Tab is a military badge of the United States Army which was authorized on June 28, 2004 by the Army Chief of Staff, General Peter Schoomaker.

To be awarded the Sapper Tab, a service member may or may not hold the military occupation specialty code (MOS) designation as a Combat Engineer (Sapper), but must have graduated from the Sapper Leader Course (SLC), that the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, operates. The school falls under the 169th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade. The tab was approved retroactively to the graduates of the first SLC on June 14, 1985.The Sapper Leader Course is a 28-day course designed to train joint-service leaders in small unit tactics, leadership skills, and tactics required to perform as part of a combined arms team. The course is open to enlisted soldiers in the grades of E-4 (P) (in the Army, Specialist on the list for promotion to Sergeant) E-5, and above, cadets, and officers O-3 (Captain) and below. Students can come from any combat or combat support branch of the service, but priority is given to engineer, cavalry, and infantry soldiers.The full color tab is 2 3/8 inches (6.03 cm) long, 11/16 inch (1.75 cm) wide, with a red background and a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) red border and the word "SAPPER" inscribed in white letters 5/16 inch (.79 cm) high. The woodland subdued tab is identical, except the background is olive drab and the word "SAPPER" is in black letters. The desert subdued tab has a khaki background with the word “SAPPER” in spice brown letters.

The Sapper Tab is one of four permanent individual skill/marksmanship tabs (as compared to a badge) authorized for wear by the U.S. Army. In order of precedence on the uniform, they are the President's Hundred Tab, the Special Forces Tab, the Ranger Tab, and the Sapper Tab. Only three may be worn at one time (not including tabs that are part of the shoulder sleeve insignia such as Airborne or Mountain).

Sapper army

A Sapper Army (Russian: сапёрная армия) was a multi-brigade military construction engineer formation organized by the Soviet Union's Red Army during World War II. Formed to construct large-scale defensive works, sapper armies were used from late 1941 until mid-1942 when the Red Army opted to organize smaller and more flexible construction engineer formations. Although the organization of military construction engineers into an army-level echelon was unusual, the use of dedicated troops for military construction was common to many armies of World War II.

Sappers Divers Group

The Sappers Divers Group (Portuguese: Agrupamento de Mergulhadores Sapadores) is the combat divers unit of the Portuguese Navy. It was created in 2004, to group under a single unit, the already existing sappers divers detachments (DMS), Divers School and Diving Service.

Tabs of the United States Army

In the United States Army, "tabs" are small cloth and/or metal arches displaying a word or words signifying a special skill that are worn on U.S. Army uniforms. On the Army Combat Uniform, the tabs are worn above a unit's shoulder patch and are used to identify a unit's or a soldier's special skill(s) or are worn on shoulder patches as part of a unit's unique heritage. Individual tabs are also worn as small metal arches above or below medals or ribbons on the Army Service Uniform.

Tabs are valued uniquely in the U.S. Army because images rather than words are traditionally used for the symbolism of the shoulder patch worn to identify a soldier's unit. It is only to identify an individual soldier's or a whole unit's special skill that an additional shoulder patch is worn that uses words rather than images to symbolize this skill. For example, while any member of a special forces unit will wear the unit identifying patch that includes an arrowhead, sword, lightning, and Airborne Tab, only soldiers who have completed special forces training will have been awarded and wear an additional tab containing the words "SPECIAL FORCES" (i.e. the Special Forces Tab).

Some tabs are awarded to recognize an individual soldier's combat related skills or marksmanship and are worn by a soldier permanently. These tabs are also considered special skill badges and have metal equivalents that are worn on the soldier's chest if their uniform does not have a place for shoulder patches (e.g. the Army Service Uniform). Other tabs recognize a whole unit's special skill and are considered to be part of a specific unit's shoulder sleeve patch and are worn by a soldier only while they belong to that unit. The Jungle Expert Tab is unique in that while it is awarded to recognize an individual soldier's skill, it is only worn by soldiers while they belong to certain units. Similarly, tabs awarded at the state level by the US Army National Guard can only be worn by soldiers while they are on state-level orders.


ThinkPad is a line of business-oriented laptop computers and tablets designed, developed, and sold by Lenovo, and formerly IBM. ThinkPads are known for their minimalist, black, and boxy design which was initially modeled in 1990 by industrial designer Richard Sapper, based on the concept of a traditional Japanese Bento lunchbox revealing its nature only after being opened. According to later interviews with Sapper, he also characterized the simple ThinkPad form to be as elementary as a simple, black cigar box, and with similar proportions that offers a 'surprise' when opened.

The ThinkPad line was first developed at the IBM Yamato Facility in Japan, led by Arimasa Naitoh, who is now dubbed the "father" of ThinkPad. The first ThinkPads were released in October 1992. Considered innovative, it became a large success for IBM during that decade.

ThinkPads are especially popular with businesses. Older models are revered by technology enthusiasts, collectors and power users due to their durable design, relatively high resale value, and abundance of aftermarket replacement parts. ThinkPads have received a somewhat cult following and a small but loyal fanbase throughout the years. Aftermarket Parts have been developed for some of these models, with custom motherboards with current processors being created for the X60 and X200. ThinkPad laptops have been used in outer space and, by 2003, were the only laptops certified for use on the International Space Station.

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