There are a number of different types of Pionier Battalions in the German Army. While the typical U.S. Army designations do not exactly follow that of the Heer they are generally as follows.
Divisional Pionier Battalions: those belonging to a division.
Heerstrupp (GHQ): those assigned by the army to Korps and Armies.
Fortress, Construction, Regonal and Railway Pioniers.
The typical organization of a pionier Bn. is three companys of pioniers, and two bridge columns(one B type and one C type). One source states that in 1943 the heavy (B) columns were withdrawn from the Infantry Div. and placed into special Heerstruppen Pionier Bns.
Bridging Columns are a sub unit and may be attached to Battalions or Regements they are designated by a letter that denotes the type of bridge and its use.
While the troops of a Pionier Bn. are pioniers it is not neccesarilly true that the troops of a pionier Plt of a Panzer or Panzergrenadier Bn. are pioniers by branch. These troops are often trained to perform pionier functions but may be of the branch of service of the battalion.
Of the above general groups I will mostly be concerned with Divisional and GHQ units. In each of these two catagories organizations varied considerably over the type of unit that the pioniers belonged to and the units overall mission. Also the manpower shortages forced later reorganizations and so size and strenght also varied over time.
|Division||Personel||LMG||Anti-tank Rifles||HMG||81mm||Flamethrowers||Motor Vehicles||Motorcycles||Horse Drawn Vehicles||Horses||Bicycles|
|Early war Infantry||843||34||9||0||0||20||87||44||19||52||0|
|Late War Infantry Div (3 Reg)||620||31||0||6||6||20||17||19||52||97||0|
|Late War Div. (2 Reg.)||397||22||0||4||4||14||3||7||35||68||0|
|Volks Grenadier Div||442||18||0||4||4||12||12||14||35||68||297|
|Panzer Grenadier Div||873||96||0||6||6||20||171||42||0||0||0|
|SS Panzer Div||984||99||0||6||6||20||212||52||0||0||0|
There are also Pionier units of Company and Platoon strength attached to various Regements and Battalions to assist them in their missions. The soldiers that make up these units are not necessarilly from the pionier branch but have been trained to performs certain pionier tasks.
|Parent Unit||Pionier Unit||personnel||LMG||HMG||81mm||Flamethrower||Motor Vehicles||Motorcycles||Horse Wagons||Horses||Bicycles|
|Late war Inf Reg and VolksG.-HQ Co.||Pionier Plt||73||6||0||0||6||0||0||13||2|
|PzGr Reg (of Pz Div)||Pionier Co.||254||27||2||2||24||20+28 Armored||7||0||0|
|PzGr Reg. Mtz||Pionier Co.||217||12||2||2||18||35||7||0||0|
The above information is from standard TO&E for pionier units. As we all know units in the field rarly have all their equipment or standard orgainizations. I recently found good example of this in a book on 16th Pz Div. The pionier Bn. had one company (the third) which was in half tracks. However the company also had a platoon of tanks. In 1941 it contained 2-Pz II and 10-PzIb, in 1942 all Pz IIs and by 1943-45 it contained 5-Pz IV. These vehicles were used to suppress defensive positons while the pioniers moved in to destroy them.
Note also that there is no listing for 28 cm. Nerbelwerfers listed in the table. I have read that there were 2 of the wooden box type launchers in each Bn. I have also seen photos of the six box type mounted on the sides of an SPW-251 in 1st Pz Div.
Pz.Pi.Btl. 37 (of 1st Pz Div) had it's 2nd company in half tracks. They may also have had other companies in unarmored Opel halftracks.
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