Special units


The sapper troop of the Monarchy was created by the reorganization of the technical troops in 1912. Previously, pioneer battalions performed all technical tasks for the ground forces. The task of the sappers was all fortification, fortification (blasting) work, construction of emergency bridges, construction of roads and railways and telephone lines. Unlike before, sappers were no longer involved in general pioneer training. In addition to the 14 battalions originally set up in 1912, an additional stone drilling unit was organized during the Great War. In February 1916, the 61st Sapper Battalion was formed to handle flamethrowers and prepare for gas attacks.

The sapper battalions operated directly under corps level, therefore they were constantly near the front lines, ready for deployment. Their officers were engineers from a technical universities. The 4th (Budapest), 5th (Komárom), 6th (Pola-Komárom), 7th (Szeged), 12th (Gyulafehérvár) sapper battalions were stationed in the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary.

The two postcards used for the entry picture show the equipment of sapper soldiers. One of them has earthmoving equipment and the other carpentry equipment. The two cap badges show soldiers digging. In the background of one of the badges is a detail of a trench. This representation may be misleading. The sappers did not dig and build the trenches. The simple earthwork was done by the building companies added to the infantry units. The beautiful wicker trenches were the work of their hands. The task of the trenchers during the construction of the trenches was much more to create fortified combat positions. In the same way, in road and railway construction, earthworks were carried out by building companies and, in many cases, prisoners of war.

The letter seal presented from the collection of my friend Gábor Csiszér was made for the cadre battalion of the Szeged sappers. It shows the moment of the explosion of an underground mine.

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