FM 3-1.6 - The Combat Engineer


While the individual rifleman is the most basic unit of the infantry, they cannot conduct their missions effectively without support. One important support for the rifleman is the combat engineer (or sapper), who is a rifleman and a military specialist in using the tools and techniques of engineering under combat conditions, who may perform any of a variety of tasks. Their tasks involve facilitating movement and support of friendly forces while impeding that of the enemy by providing mobility, handling explosive materials, defense, counter mobility, and assault.

This manual discusses the techniques and procedures on how the combat engineer fights. Its intended audiences are the combat engineers and all infantry leaders. Secondary audiences include staff officers and instructors. The manual is organized in separate sections that discuss mining, entrenching, and obstacles. All else is covered in FM 3-1.1 The Rifleman.


Mines are self-contained explosive devices which are placed onto or into the ground, exploding when triggered by a vehicle or a person. There are three main types of mines: anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines, and naval mines. Combat engineers can deal with only anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. Mines are mainly used for defensive purposes by channeling the movement of attacking troops and armor in ways that permit the defenders to concentrate their firepower. It has an added bonus for causing destruction to unsuspecting enemies as well.

On the offensive, friendlies may encounter enemy minefields. A skilled combat engineer is trained to spot evidence of mines (+minefield/search) and clear them (+minefield/clear) in order for the infantry and armor to continue their offensive. To reduce risk, bangalores can also be used to clear minefields without actually having to enter the minefield, but requires knowledge of demolitions. Be warned however, sometimes the enemy keeps observation over minefields and will try to kill the unsuspecting combat engineer as they try to clear the mines (+style stealth, +hide periodically).

On the defense, combat engineers lays mines to channel the enemy provided that mines are available (+minefield/lay <antipersonnel|antivehicular>). This allows a smaller force to be able to concentrate their firepower on the enemy as well as offer flanking protection if needed. However, someone should be left to observe the minefield to prevent enemy sappers or combat engineers from clearing the field. Minefields can also be left unprotected to slow down the enemy and demoralize them when casualties result from detonated mines.


While basic riflemen know how to dig trenches, the combat engineer has more knowledge and equipment when it comes to entrenching. Most trenches begin their life as foxholes (+entrench) and combat engineers work to improve them as time and resources permits (+entrench/improve <place number>). A foxhole becomes a slit trench, which is significantly better than a foxhole. From a slit trench plus further work, it becomes a front line trench, then a reserve trench, followed lastly by a redoubt.

Entire trench systems can be created by connecting trenches together (+entrench/connect <place>=<place>, if in the same room, +entrench/connect <place>=<exit>/<place> if two places are in different rooms). These trenches can be used for offensive or defensive purposes. Artillery may also be emplaced in a fortification so they may gain the benefit of cover (+entrench/emplace <gun dbref> in <place number>, or to remove them, +entrench/unemplace <gun dbref>).


Obstacles can be further emplaced to better fortify a defensive position if the materials and time permit so. Wire represents a mass of concertina or barbed wire (+style stealth, +obstacle/lay <wire or dragonsteeth>=<exit>; note that 10 is the best rating possible). The presence of wire impedes the movement of infantry. Dragon’s Teeth are man sized blocks of concrete, scattered in an area and intended to block the progress of vehicles. These also can be used to channel the enemy into well designed kill zones.

When on the assault, enemy obstacles may be cleared and blown away with bangalores by combat engineers to better enable friendly forces to carry out their missions. Using wire cutters, dragging Dragon’s Teeth away, or using explosives (+obstacle/clear <exit>, +obstacle/bangalore <exit>), engineers can rid of obstacles. Unfortunately, this is usually done under intense enemy fire and may require knowledge of demolitions and an explosive (bangalore).

Encountering enemy trench systems can offer obstacles as well, but the combat engineer can turn the obstacles to suit the advancing forces by using satchel charges and a knowledge of demolitions to isolate enemy troops so they may be easily conquered (+demolish/connection <place>, for same room, +demolish/connection <direction>/<place>, for links in different rooms)

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