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Friday, November 11, 2005

2 and a 1/4 Centuries

The Madras Sappers celebrate 225 years of service this year. Think about that, I mean, that's a hell of a long time to be around man. There are houses and trees that aren't as old as that!!! So, good for them, you're saying. But what, or who is a "sapper"? Well it turns out that they're basically combat engineers. Well, a combat engineer is how they'd be known in the US. In the UK and Europe, specifically France, they're known as sappers...because it comes from the French sapeur, which means to pioneer. Their function, so it seems, is to clear the way ahead as appropriate, so that the main forces can move ahead unimpeded. And the other cool thing about them is that they are equally capable in amphibious scenarios as well as on land. The Madras Sappers have seen action in Afghanistan and Egypt as far back as the 1880's, several theatres of war in The Great War and World War II.

I just thought it was amazing that they've managed to be around for so long; not like I'm saying they've always had trouble and were going to break up like some rock band or something. I think 225 years is a sizeable chunk of time in terms of average life spans and stuff. Wow! Hats off to these boys. Here in Bangalore you see them in action in and around Ulsoor lake...and you'll see them setting up, or retying the pontoon bridge once in a while.
Good on ya mates!

- - - - -
1) Madras Sappers in Rewind Mode
2) Madras Sappers completes 225 years(pic)
3) "We need to project a correct image of the army"
4) Queen Victoria's own Madras Sappers and Miners
5) Sapper
6) Combat Engineering
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