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Indian Army Corps of Engineers


Indian Army Corps of Engineers

Indian Army Corps of Engineers
The logo of the Corps of Engineers
Active 1777-Present
Country  India
Branch  Indian Army
Garrison/HQ New Delhi, India
Motto sarvatr (Everywhere)
Colours Gold, red and black
Engagements Second Anglo-Afghan War
First World War
Second World War
Burma Campaign
Sino-Indian War
Indo-Pak War-1947
Indo-Pak War-1965
Indo-Pak War-1971
Kargil War
Lt Gen Jatinder Sikand
Lt Gen Premindra Singh Bhagat

The Indian Army Corps of Engineers has a long history dating back to the mid-18th century. The earliest existing subunit of the Corps (18 Field Company) dates back to 1777 while the Corps officially recognises its birth as 1780 when the senior most group of the Corps, the Madras Sappers were raised.

The Corps consists of three groups of combat engineers, namely the Madras Sappers, the Bengal Sappers and the Bombay Sappers. A group is roughly analogous to a regiment of Indian infantry, each group consisting of a number of engineer regiments. The engineer regiment is the basic combat engineer unit, analogous to an infantry battalion.

Besides the combat engineers, the Corps mans and operates major engineering organisations such as the Military Engineering Service (MES), the Married Accommodation Project and the Survey of India.[1]


  • History 1
  • Combat Engineers 2
  • Military Engineer Services 3
  • Border Roads Organisation 4
  • Decorations 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Corps of Bengal Sappers and Miners guarding their sector of the Sherpore Cantonment, outside the city boundary of Kabul, Afghanistan, during the Afghan War 1878-9

The Corps of Engineers is one of the oldest arms of the Indian Army. The origin of the Corps dates back to 1780 when the two regular pioneer companies were raised in the Madras Presidency Army. Subsequently, the Group of Madras, Bengal and Bombay Sappers were formed in their respective presidencies. These Groups came together when the British Indian Army was formed after 1857 and were later merged on 18 November 1932 to form the Corps of Indian Engineers. Engineer Groups initially consisted of field companies (a sub-unit organization that exists to this day).

Till 1911, the Sappers also had the duty of passing battlefield messages. Between 1911 and 1920, they handed this task to a batch of their own kinsmen who then formed the Corps of Signals. The Sappers also contributed the first batch of airmen when the Indian Air Force was raised in 1932. From 1942-1945 officers of the Indian Railways were recruited into this Corps to participate in Britain's Burma Campaign.

Combat Engineers

In war, Combat Engineers provide mobility to own forces by constructing bridges, tracks and helipads; on the other hand the Corps denies the same to the enemy by creating obstacles such as laying mine-fields and demolition of bridges. The need for accurate survey arose before combat engineering. Vast holdings had to be carefully delineated and mapped out, to plan the correct form of commercial extraction. By 1780, serious attention began to be given to the art of sapping and mining.

Forts abound in the subcontinent, and to the forts the main defences withdrew for a protracted stand. On being invested, the siege (heavy) artillery including trench mortars or bombards went at it. The real work, not for the faint-hearted, went to the sappers who had to do the 'sapping' or mining. Sapping is the technique of accurately digging trenches, usually covered or zigzag, to cover one's approach to the point of assault.

Military Engineer Services

The Military Engineer Services, or the MES, are responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of all works, buildings, airfields, dock installations, etc, together with accessory services such as military roads, water and electricity supply, drainage, refrigeration, furniture, required by the Army, Navy, Air Force & Coast Guard in India.[2]

It is one of largest construction and maintenance agencies in India with a total annual budget to the tune of INR 6,500 crores. It has a large number of units and sub units spread across the entire country to provide engineering support to various formations of Army, Air Force, Navy and DRDO. MES is a military organisation but has both Army and Civilian component of officers and other subordinate staff.

Border Roads Organisation

The Himalayas, Rajasthan and North East States have contributed significantly to their economic development.


Kashmir soon after Independence, Major Rama Raghoba Rane was awarded the Param Vir Chakra for making a passage through enemy mine fields while crawling in front of a tank. Engineer units have been deployed abroad as part of UN Missions.

The Corps of Engineers has to its credit one Param Vir Chakra, one Ashoka Chakra, one Padma Bhushan, 38 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, two Maha Vir Chakras, 13 Kirti Chakras, three Padma Shris, 88 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 25 Vir Chakras, 93 Shaurya Chakras, six Yudh Seva Medals and many other awards.

9 Engineer Regiment became one of the youngest Engineer Regiment in world history to enter the battlefield and got as many as 12 decorations including 01 Mahavir Chakra, 03 Vir Chakra, 04 Sena Medal, 04 Mention in Dispatch at the "Battle of Basantar" in 1971.[3] 107 Engineer Regiment gained an Indian Institute of Bridging Engineers award for constructing a bridge in Himachal Pradesh in 2001.[4] 268 Engineer Regiment was raised in 1964.[5] As of 2009 it is based 'somewhere in the western sector'. 69 Engineer Regiment was raised in 2005. As of 2006 it is based at Chandigarh.[6]

Engineer regiments that served with the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka included the 3, 4, 8, 16, 51, 53, 110, 115 and 270.[7]


  1. ^, Indian Corps of Engineers
  2. ^, Military Engineer Services
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ 107 Engineer Regiment bags technical excellence award - Times Of India
  5. ^ The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Chandigarh Stories
  6. ^ 69 Engineer Regiment celebrates 1st Raising Day
  7. ^ Indian Peace Keeping Force 8 September 2002

External links

  • Indian Army, Army Engineers
  • Royal Engineers Museum Indian Sappers (1740–1947)
  • Royal Engineers Museum The Corps in the Second World War (1939–45)- Indian Engineers in the Western Desert, Italian and Burma Campaigns
  • Royal Engineers Museum Biography of Lord Kitchener
  • 9 Engineer Regiment during 1971 war
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