Unit Details

2nd Engineer Special Brigade

 

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Engineer special brigade
1EngrBdeSSI.jpg
Engineer special brigade shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1942-46
Country United States
Branch Army
Motto "Put 'Em Across"

 

The 2nd Engineers Special Brigade was not part of the 2nd Division.
This unit was not attached to any Division, although it did operate
with other units wherever small boats, landing craft, (LCM's, Ducks),
were needed. I was in Company B which was the amphibous crafts
Company.

This Company was often divided to assist other units with amphibous
operations.


At the Han River crossing, about a dozen members of my Company were
detailed to the 5th Marine Regt, ferrying tanks across the Han to
attack Sŏul and ferrying ambulances back, until a pontoon bridge could
be completed.

General Twitty was the Brigade Comander.

 

Engineer special brigades were amphibious forces of the United States Army developed during World War II. Initially designated engineer amphibian brigades, the first four brigades were redesignated ESBs in 1943.

Concept and development

At the onset of direct American involvement in World War II, it was obvious that the U.S. military would need a large strategic and tactical amphibious capability. In 1941, the United States' amphibious forces were divided into two corps: one Atlantic; one Pacific. Both amphibious corps were combined Army and Marine Corps commands, administered by the U.S. Navy. The Atlantic Corps consisted of the 1st Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division, and the Pacific Corps consisted of the 3rd Infantry Division and the 2nd Marine Division. As this set-up quickly proved itself unwieldy, the Joint Staff surprisingly appointed the U.S. Army, and not the Marine Corps, to develop doctrine for sustained amphibious operations. On May 20, 1942, the Army activated its Amphibious Training Command at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. Subsequently, the Army also activated the Engineer Amphibian Command.

Initially, the Amphibious Training Command (later, Amphibious Training Center) was tasked to train no fewer than 12 Army divisions (including 1 armored division) in amphibious operations. As the war progressed, the Marine Corps expanded to six divisions and the Army and the Navy began to fight over the procurement and assignment of landing craft and other amphibious assault equipment, resulting in the Army's decision to ultimately close the Amphibious Training Center.

Per its agreement with the Navy, the Army continued to train Engineer Amphibian Brigades, for while the Marine Corps was adept at the initial waves of amphibious assaults, the Marine Corps had yet to create an effective doctrine concerning subsequent support waves. This task fell to the EABs.

Deployment and subordinate units

The 1st, 5th, and 6th Engineer Special Brigades were assigned to the European Theater of Operations, while the 2nd and 4th Engineer Special Brigades were assigned to the Pacific Theater of Operations. The 3rd Engineer Special Brigade was assigned directly to the Amphibious Training Center; responsible for the training of various Army units in amphibious warfare until the dissolution of the Amphibious Training Center. It was then assigned to the Pacific Theater of Operations. The 1st Engineer Special Brigade was the only ESB to fight in both theaters of the war.

The various subordinate engineer boat, engineer amphibian, and engineer shore regiments were all redesignated as engineer boat & shore regiments (EB&SR) by the end of the war.

1st Engineer Special Brigade

1st Engineer Special Brigade was activated on June 15, 1942, at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts as the 1st Engineer Amphibian Brigade. Due to necessity, it was pulled from the Amphibious Training Center early and sent to England, arriving in August 1942. In December of that year, it landed in North Africa, where it was redesignated the 1st Engineer Special Brigade, and subsequently participated in the assaults on Sicily and Italy. In December 1943, the 1st ESB returned to England. In 1944, under the command of James E. Wharton, the 1st ESB participated in the Invasion of Normandy (Utah Beach). The brigade operated as Utah Beach Command until October 23, 1944, when it began its transition to the Pacific Theater of Operations. It participated in the assault on Okinawa and was inactivated in Korea on February 18, 1946.

2nd Engineer Special Brigade

2nd Engineer Special Brigade was activated on June 20, 1942, at Camp Edwards, as the 2nd Engineer Amphibian Brigade. The brigade arrived in Australia on April 17, 1943, where it was redesignated an Engineer Special Brigade. It participated in the assault on Leyte on October 20, 1944, and returned to the United States on December 16, 1945. The 2nd ESB was deactivated the following year.

The 2d Engineer Brigade traces its lineage to the 2d Engineer Amphibian Brigade which was activated at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, on June 20, 1942. The 2d Engineer Amphibian Brigade constituted part of the core of the U.S. Army Engineer Amphibian Command, the U.S. military proponent to develop doctrine to sustain amphibious operations. Its principal units consisted of the Brigade Headquarters, three Engineer Boat and Shore Regiments, a Boat Maintenance Battalion, a Medical Battalion, and numerous support companies.

On April 17, 1943, the brigade was redesignated as the 2d Engineer Special Brigade. It conducted 82 combat landings and landed with 15 different assault divisions, including one Marine Division and three Australian Divisions, and functioned under Navy and Army command. The Brigade was first to employ amphibious trucks and barrage rockets in the Pacific Theater and invented and perfected anti-aircraft defenses in landing craft flak boats, downing no less than fifty Japanese aircraft. Units of the Brigade participated in five official campaigns, to include: East Indies, Northern Solomons, New Guinea, Southern Philippines, Bismarck Archipelago, and Luzon. Eight units received the Presidential Unit Citation, and one Soldier Pvt. Van Noy received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

2d Engineer Special Brigade returned to the United States in December 1945.It was redesignated the 2d Amphibious Support Brigade in 1947.

Korean War

Units of the 2d Amphibious Support Brigade were stationed at Fort Worden, Washington, until the beginning of the Korean War when the Brigade moved to Yokohama, Japan, from which it supported the initial amphibious invasion at Inch'ŏn on September 15, 1950. The Brigade was subsequently cited for highly successful operation of the Ports of Suyong and Ulsan, from July 31, 1953 to December 15, 1953.

The 2d Amphibious Support Brigade relocated to Camp McGill, Chigasaki, Japan, in December 1953 where it was inactivated in August 1955.

2d Engineer Brigade will be reactivated on September 16, 2011 , and stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The unit carries on the proud tradition first begun by the 2d Engineer Amphibian Brigade in World War Two and proudly claims to official motto: "ARCTIC TRAILBLAZERS."

 

3rd Engineer Special Brigade

Commanded for almost the entire war by David Ayres Depue Ogden, the 3rd Engineer Special Brigade was activated on August 6, 1942, at Camp Edwards, as the 3rd Engineer Amphibian Brigade. It was transferred to Fort Ord, California, where it was redesignated an Engineer Special Brigade. The 3rd ESB landed on New Guinea on February 24, 1944; Biak Island on September 30; and the Philippine Islands on July 24, 1945. It returned to the United States on December 20, 1945, and was inactivated two days later.

4th Engineer Special Brigade

4th Engineer Special Brigade was activated on February 1, 1943, at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, as the 4th Engineer Amphibian Brigade. In 1943, the brigade was redesignated an Engineer Special Brigade and transitioned to Camp Stoneman, California. The 4th ESB arrived in New Guinea on May 18, 1944, and participated in the assaults on Morotai Island, Netherland East Indies (September 15, 1944) and Lingayen Gulf, Luzon (January 9, 1945). The brigade was inactivated in Japan on April 15, 1946.

5th Engineer Special Brigade

5th Engineer Special Brigade was formed from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1119th Engineer Combat Group on November 12, 1943, at Swansea, Wales. 5th ESB participated in the Invasion of Normandy (Omaha Beach) and operated Omaha Beach until November 19, 1944. On January 4, 1945, the brigade was transferred to the Seine section of Paris, where it supervised construction activities. It returned to the United States on July 11, 1945, and was inactivated at Camp Gordon Johnston, Florida, on October 20 of that year.

6th Engineer Special Brigade

6th Engineer Special Brigade was formed from HHC, 1116th Engineer Combat Group on May 15, 1944, in England. The brigade participated in the Invasion of Normandy (Omaha Beach) and operated Omaha Beach until Christmas Eve, 1944. 6th ESB moved into France on New Year's Day, 1945, and remained there until redeploying to the United States on July 14, 1945. The brigade arrived in the United States on July 23, 1945, and was inactivated at Camp Gordon Johnston on October 20 of that year.

Engineer Special Brigade (United States)
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Engineer special brigade
1EngrBdeSSI.jpg
Engineer special brigade shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1942–46
Country United States
Branch Army
Motto(s) "Put 'Em Across"

Engineer special brigades were amphibious forces of the United States Army developed during World War II. Initially designated engineer amphibian brigades, the first four brigades were redesignated ESBs in 1943.

Concept and development[edit]

At the onset of direct American involvement in World War II, it was obvious that the U.S. military would need a large strategic and tactical amphibious capability. In 1941, the United States' amphibious forces were divided into two corps: one Atlantic; one Pacific. Both amphibious corps were combined Army and Marine Corps commands, administered by the U.S. Navy. The Atlantic Corps consisted of the 1st Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division, and the Pacific Corps consisted of the 3rd Infantry Division and the 2nd Marine Division. As this set-up quickly proved itself unwieldy, the Joint Staff surprisingly appointed the U.S. Army, and not the Marine Corps, to develop doctrine for sustained amphibious operations. On 20 May 1942, the Army activated its Amphibious Training Command at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. Subsequently, the Army also activated the Engineer Amphibian Command.

Initially, the Amphibious Training Command (later, Amphibious Training Center) was tasked to train no fewer than 12 Army divisions (including 1 armored division) in amphibious operations. As the war progressed, the Marine Corps expanded to six divisions and the Army and the Navy began to fight over the procurement and assignment of landing craft and other amphibious assault equipment, resulting in the Army's decision to ultimately close the Amphibious Training Center. Per its agreement with the Navy, the Army continued to train Engineer Amphibian Brigades, for while the Marine Corps was adept at the initial waves of amphibious assaults, the Marine Corps had yet to create an effective doctrine concerning subsequent support waves. This task fell to the EABs.

Deployment and subordinate units[edit]

The 1st, 5th, and 6th Engineer Special Brigades were assigned to the European Theater of Operations, while the 2nd and 4th Engineer Special Brigades were assigned to the Pacific Theater of Operations. The 3rd Engineer Special Brigade was assigned directly to the Amphibious Training Center; responsible for the training of various Army units in amphibious warfare until the dissolution of the Amphibious Training Center. It was then assigned to the Pacific Theater of Operations. The 1st Engineer Special Brigade was the only ESB to fight in both theaters of the war.

The various subordinate engineer boat, engineer amphibian, and engineer shore regiments were all redesignated as engineer boat & shore regiments (EB&SR) by the end of the war.

1st Engineer Special Brigade[edit]

1st Engineer Special Brigade was activated on 15 June 1942, at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts as the 1st Engineer Amphibian Brigade. Due to necessity, it was pulled from the Amphibious Training Center early and sent to England, arriving in August 1942. In December of that year, it landed in North Africa, where it was redesignated the 1st Engineer Special Brigade, and subsequently participated in the assaults on Sicily and Italy. In December 1943, the 1st ESB returned to England. In 1944, under the command of James E. Wharton, the 1st ESB participated in the Invasion of Normandy (Utah Beach). The brigade operated as Utah Beach Command until 23 October 1944, when it began its transition to the Pacific Theater of Operations. It participated in the assault on Okinawa and was inactivated in Korea on 18 February 1946.

2nd Engineer Special Brigade[edit]

2nd Engineer Special Brigade was activated on 20 June 1942, at Camp Edwards, as the 2nd Engineer Amphibian Brigade. The brigade arrived in Australia on 17 April 1943, where it was redesignated an Engineer Special Brigade. Over the next ten days the 2nd Engineer Special (Amphibious) Brigade made its way to the Capricorn Coast, a part of the Central Queensland Coastline. Camp Keppel had been established in March for the 24th Division on the both sides of Cowooral Road, Cowooral (known as Area B) between the township of Rockhampton and the small coastal village of Keppel Sands.

Within a week of their arrival "Tokyo Rose" had broadcast a welcome to "the three new amphibian regiments and service units in Australia"

The 2nd Engineer Special Brigade set up in Area B and also in Area A, which extended from Limpus Avenue in Keppel Sands to Pumpkin Creek where the original small boat launch was located until the 1990's. In the late 1970's Camp Keppel became a recreational park and in the mid 1990's the area along Pumpkin Creek became a small housing estate. Until then one could dig any part of the area and find remnants of the camps.

Cottages and beach front houses were leased as officers quarters, particularly at the southern end. The 24th Division built a DWCK Shed [image coming] and pens and a launch ramp at the southern end of the peninsula into Pumpkin Creek, remnants of which are still visible today at low tide. Mesh was laid over a saddle cut into the headland so vehicles could access the small enclosed beach. Several fox holes were established along the southern headland ridge, also clearly visible today among the native Xanthorrhoea's grass trees also known at the time as Black Boys. Four Divisions including the Division that encompassed The 2nd ESB remained in the area for several months.

On 20 October 1944 the 2nd ESB participated in the amphibious assault on Leyte.

On 16 December 1945 the Division returned to the United States and the 2nd ESB was deactivated in 1946.

3rd Engineer Special Brigade[edit]

Commanded for almost the entire war by David Ayres Depue Ogden, the 3rd Engineer Special Brigade was activated on 6 August 1942, at Camp Edwards, as the 3rd Engineer Amphibian Brigade. It was transferred to Fort Ord, California, where it was redesignated an Engineer Special Brigade. The 3rd ESB landed on New Guinea on 24 February 1944; Biak Island on 30 September; and the Philippine Islands on 24 July 1945. It returned to the United States on 20 December 1945, and was inactivated two days later.

4th Engineer Special Brigade[edit]

4th Engineer Special Brigade was activated on 1 February 1943, at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, as the 4th Engineer Amphibian Brigade. In 1943, the brigade was redesignated an Engineer Special Brigade and transitioned to Camp Stoneman, California. The 4th ESB arrived in New Guinea on 18 May 1944, and participated in the assaults on Morotai Island, Netherland East Indies (15 September 1944) and Lingayen Gulf, Luzon (9 January 1945). The brigade was inactivated in Japan on 15 April 1946.

5th Engineer Special Brigade[edit]

5th Engineer Special Brigade was formed from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1119th Engineer Combat Group on 12 November 1943, at Swansea, Wales. 5th ESB participated in the Invasion of Normandy (Omaha Beach) and operated Omaha Beach until 19 November 1944. On 4 January 1945, the brigade was transferred to the Seine section of Paris, where it supervised construction activities. It returned to the United States on 11 July 1945, and was inactivated at Camp Gordon Johnston, Florida, on 20 October of that year.

6th Engineer Special Brigade[edit]

6th Engineer Special Brigade was formed from HHC, 1116th Engineer Combat Group on 15 May 1944, in England. The brigade participated in the Invasion of Normandy (Omaha Beach) and operated Omaha Beach until Christmas Eve, 1944. 6th ESB moved into France on New Year's Day, 1945, and remained there until redeploying to the United States on 14 July 1945. The brigade arrived in the United States on 23 July 1945, and was inactivated at Camp Gordon Johnston on 20 October of that year.