Assault pioneer

Assault pioneer

An Assault Pioneer is a trained infantry soldier who is responsible for:

* The construction of tools for infantry soldiers to cross enemy terrain and natural obstacles
* Supervising the construction of military defence installations
* The use of demolitions, land mines and booby traps

Assault Pioneers normally form a Platoon in infantry regiments, and such platoons can be found in a number of British Army and Commonwealth regiments. Members of the Assault Pioneer Platoon can be identified by a trade badge of two crossed axes sewn on their uniforms.

Canadian Forces Assault Pioneers were distinguished by their permission to wear beards. On formal parades they wore white leather aprons and gloves over their ceremonial scarlets, carried axes, and lead the battalion onto the parade square.

British and Commonwealth armies also have Engineer units but the purpose of having Assault Pioneers is to provide the infantry battalion with 'organic' engineer support in the same sense as the Mortar Platoon provides 'organic' fire support. In operations Assault Pioneers often work separately in small detachments providing specialist skills, tools and advice to the infantry companies and platoons with those sub-units providing the bulk of the labour.

The term 'Assault Pioneer' is misleading for those who have no experience of Commonwealth infantry units. From a commanders perspective it would be a misuse of valuable limited resources for Assault Pioneers to be used in the forefront of a deliberate attack on a defended position.

ee also

* Pioneer Sergeant


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