12th Engineer Battalion (United States)

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"Dual Prime" "Never Fails!"

The 12th Engineer Battalion was activated 1 July 1940, at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina as an organic element of the 8th Infantry Division In July 1944 the battalion deployed to the European Theatre, landing at Omaha Beach in support of the greatest landing operation in history. Subsequently the Battalion participated in campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe, and Luxembourg

After World War II the Battalion was inactivated on 25 October 1945 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. It was reactivated on 17 August 1950 at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina again as an organic element of the 8th Infantry Division.The Battalion moved with the 8th Infantry Division to Nuremberg, Germany in October 1956. In December 1957 the Battalion was restationed at Anderson Barracks, Dexheim, Germany. Simultaneously with the relocation of the 8th Infantry Division Headquarters to Bad Kreuznach, Germany.

Motto: ID PERFICIEMUS-(We shall consummate the task!)

Full History of Unit.

This is a brief History of the 12th Engineer Combat Battalion, an integral part of the mighty 8th Infantry Division which swept across Germany From the Normandy Beach-Head to fling the Kraut into the corners of his gutted cities.

    This is the story of the men who “cleared the way.” This is the episode of the GI Combat Engineers; of the man who, when asked “Can you place a cable across the Rohr River?” answered, “Sir, it is impossible to get a cable across the Rohr and keep it there, but we will do it somehow!” They did.
    In The Beginning........

The Battalion was organized at Ft. Jackson, S.C. on July 1, 1940, under General orders no. 12, Headquarters, Fourth Corps Area. The cadre was picked from the 1st Engineers at Fort DuPont, Del., and from the 7th Engineers at Ft. Custer, MI. The remainder of personnel was received through voluntary enlistments, and the Selective Service.

    At that time billets consisted of huts in the National Guard area of Fort Jackson. The first Commanding Officer was Major Patrick H. Tansey. Major Charles H.Mason took over the command in August of 1941, and was subsequently followed by Major Edmund M. Fry. This change took place on August 22, 1942, and from December, 1942 until February, 1943, when Major Fry was sent to Engineer School, the command of the Battalion was administered by Major James C. Taylor. However Major Fry returned to the outfit to remain the guiding hand through all the Battalion’s campaigns.
    The usual basic training was given the Battalion while at Ft. Jackson, and it was here that they also received their foretaste of what real combat would be like while they were on Carolina maneuvers in the fall of 1941. However this proved to be a very minute taste of the real thing, although the combat test at the time was very convincing to a majority of the men.
    Completion of the maneuvers Found the outfit on the way back to Fort Jackson Where they were given more intensive training, and then used to supply the cadre for two new divisions. In the fall of 1942 the Battalion moved out amidst of many murmurings on the part of the men as to when in h____ things would really roll. This move involved large scale maneuvers in Tennessee. The Battalion was lodged at Camp Forest, Tennessee in a tent city, While it’s strength was brought almost up to normal. The weather at this time was bitterly cold, And right in the middle of one the worst cold spells, the Battalion moved to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. This move was accomplished by truck, And by the time the organization reached their destination it seemed problematical in the minds of many of the men whether they would ever again resume a semblance of straight posture. The weather remained icy during the whole of their stay at Fort Leonard Wood, and those who returned from the European war claim that even after the fighting on the other side they were last being thawed out from the Paul Bunyan cold.
    The next move was a distinct change. The battalion took to the road again and ended up in the lively and bustling Laguna Desert Camp in Arizona. While at this camp-site “ID Perficiemus”  — “We Shall Consummate the task” — is the motto that has inspired the 12th Engineer Battalion since it was constituted at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina on July 1, 1940. For the past two decades, the 12th Engineers have proven time and time again that it is capable of performing any task, in war or peace. Today the today the 12th engineer Battalion with its headquarters in Dexheim, undertakes Engineer construction throughout the 8th Infantry Division. The battalion is heavily equipped with a vast array of construction machinery capable of supporting any engineer task required to support the 8th Infantry Division. 
    In its roll as the division Engineer Battalion the 12th has the mission of providing general engineer support to the various elements of the division. Four Combat Engineer Companies support the three infantry brigades with the construction of barriers, laying and clearing of minefields, demolition operations and limited construction operations. In addition each of the four companies is equipped with a Combat Engineer vehicle which carries a bulldozer blade and a 165 mm demolition gun capable of destroying enemy barricades,  and fortified positions.
    A bridge company provides the Division with its river-crossing capability. Equipped with Mobile Assault Bridge (MAB) units which can be driven on land, and then launched into water to link up with one another (to form a complete bridge, or a series of ferries) the MAB’s enable the entire division to cross the Rhein River. The bridge company is also equipped with Armored Vehicle Launched Bridges, which can be used to bridge 60-foot streams. 
  The 12th Engineers has a platoon of heavy earth moving equipment, including 5 ton dump trucks, rough terrain cranes, and road graders. In addition an atomic demolition munitions platoon gives the division an added defense capability.
    The 12th Engineers are constantly training in their Engineer Support Role, conducting bridge operations on the Rhein , performing earth-moving tasks in community assistance projects, and constantly demonstrating readiness to live up to their motto.

(Full History Ref:) The previous information was provided to me during orientation upon arrival at Anderson Barracks 12th Engineer Battalion (Combat) around September of 1977. It was put together by the currently deactivated information office at the 8th Infantry Division Headquarters, and as far as I am aware it was used solely for orientation purposes, and was not copy written, or available through any public publishing. I may have the only copy in existence that I know of. In order to preserve its historical information and accuracy I have transcribed it here. If any information is incorrect, or not allowed please feel free to edit this page. Disclaimer: This information is solely produced for historical preservation, and is not available thru any internet website, or historical publication as far as I am aware of, and contains no copy-write information on the material. (SP4 David Thompson, Delta Company, 12th Engineer Battalion, Anderson Barracks, Dexheim, West Germany. 1977-1980)

Decorations and timeline[edit]

  • Training for deployment Sept 1942 to November 1943
  • December 1943 arrived in Ireland.
  • 4 July 4 1944 landed at Normandy across Utah Beach and/or Omaha Beach (have found differing references)( 8th Infantry Division Wikipedia page has the Division landing at Utah Beach, citing U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as a source)
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered HURTGEN FOREST (12th Engr Cbt Bn cited for period 21-28 Nov 1944; WDGO 21, 1947
  • World War II distinguished Unit Streamer embroidered Hurtgen Forest.
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation, Streamer embroidered EUROPEAN THEATER 1944 (12th Engr Cbt Bn cited for period 8 Jul-8 Sept 1944; GO 166 Hq, 8th Inf Div, 25 May 1945)
  • World War II Meritorious Unit Streamer embroidered European Theatre, 9 June 1945.
  • World War II Meritorious Unit Streamer embroidered European Theatre, 10 June 1945.
  • Headquarters and Service Company awarded Meritorious Unit Streamer embroidered European Theatre.
  • Campaign Streamers for: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe, and Luxembourg
  • Redesignated as the 12th Combat Engineer Battalion 15 June 1954.
  • Luxembourg Croix de Guerre, Streamer embroidered LUXEMBOURG (8th Inf Div cited; DAGO 59, 1969)Luxembourg Croix de Guerre, Streamer embroidered LUXEMBOURG (8th Inf Div cited; DAGO 59, 1969)
  • Itschner Award 1979 - A Company, 12th Engineer Battalion - For the most outstanding engineer company in the USArmy.


  • Phillip A. Connally Award 1979 for the best field mess in USAREUR and Runner-up in the RA
  • Liberation and Defense of Kuwait

REf: These Awards and Decorations were obtained by getting a copy of a document posted on a bulletin board at D.Co. 12th Engineer Battalion during my assignment there.(SP4 Thompson)