Sapper

From Academic Kids

This article is about the military vocation. For the pseudonymous author, see H. C. McNeile.

A sapper, in the sense first used by the French military, was one who sapped another's fortifications. A sapper is an individual in military service, often called a military engineer nowadays, who may perform any of a variety of tasks under combat conditions. Such tasks typically include bridge and road construction, mine laying, or detection and clearing. In other words, the sapper's tasks now involve facilitating movement of allied forces and impeding movement of the enemy's.

When castles served a military purpose, one of the tasks of sappers was to weaken the bases of castle walls to enable them to be breached--before means of thwarting these activities were invented. Broadly speaking, sappers were originally experts at demolishing or otherwise overcoming or bypassing fortification systems.

Sapper (abbreviated Spr) is the Royal Engineers' equivalent of Private. This is also the case within the Royal Australian Engineers, where referring to a Sapper as a Private is considered an insult and can result in disciplinary charges being laid.

In France, the civil firefighters and the military firefighters of the Paris Fire Brigade are called "sappers-pumpers" (sapeurs-pompiers, SP): the first fire company created by Napoléon I was a military sappers company.

See also

he:פלס sv:Sappör

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