Panzer pionier bataillon 209

The 209th Panzerpionier Battalion in the 11th Panzer Division.

The engineers of the German army were called Pioniere. The German army had many types of Pionier units divided in categories. These categories were Pioniertruppen, Bautruppen, Eisenbahntruppen and Technische Truppen. Pioniere were soldiers first and construction workers second. 

They got the same training like regular troops but after this was finished they got extra training focused on handling explosives, breaching barbed wire and other obstacles, destroying enemy fortifications, effective use of smoke and handling support weapons like the machinegun and flame thrower.

Because of this they were called “Mädchen für alles”. They were the jack of all trades amongst the troops. Pioniere had both offensive and defensive capabilities.

In a defensive role they were building fortifications like trenches and laying mine fields. These positions were also camouflaged by the Pioniere.

In the offensive they were paired up with regular infantry. The Pioniere served as specialised units who were trained with explosives and flame throwers. These guys were the real storm troopers of the Wehrmacht, rushing into the action to blow up enemy bunkers and defensive positions.

During an attack the troops were divided in 3 groups called Truppen.
The first one is the Deckungstrupp. This group consisted of regular infantry. They were tasked with providing cover for the second group, the Stosstrupp.
The Stosstrupp consisted almost entirely of Pioniere. This group had to push forward and face the enemy head-on, clearing any obstacles in their path.
The last group is the Nebeltrupp who had to provide smoke cover for the Stosstrupp using smoke grenades and smoke candles (Nebelkerze).