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Old December 30th, 2017, 04:59 PM   #1
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US Army engineers in post-world war ll Italy


Can anyone tell me if any engineering units remained in Italy to assist in rebuilding/mine removal, etc after May, 1945? I am working on a novel and my engineer has been with the 10th Mountain division, but I know that engineering unit shipped home almost immediately. I am wondering if my character might realistically transfer remain in Italy until the summer or fall of 1946 before shipping home. Many thanks for any info provided.
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Old December 30th, 2017, 05:18 PM   #2

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92nd Infantry Division were in Italy until mid to late 1946 at least. Not sure what they were doing other than waiting. Their engineers were the 317th.
The Division was made up of black men.

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Old December 30th, 2017, 06:04 PM   #3
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Is be surprised if there are not still engineer units in Italy today. I know there were in the mid 1990s.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 07:19 AM   #4
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After May '45 I'd go with mine clearance rather than rebuilding. The US didn't get interested in rebuilding Italy or any place else in Europe until the Marshal Plan in 1947 or '48, and then, the rebuilding wasn't done by the US Army. During the fighting, engineers would rebuild road and railroad bridges to keep the advancing US soldiers supplied, but as soon as the fighting stopped, so did the bridge repairs. Troops would have used existing supply lines rather than build/rebuild new ones.

You'd be most likely to find land mines in places where the two armies were static for extended periods. In southern Italy that would be along a line crossing the penninsula passing through Monte Casino. Also at Anzio. In northern Italy that would be along the Gothic Line which ran from north of Pisa and Florence to and along the Foglio River south of Rimini.

If your character is a white officer, he could have been transferred to a black unit like the 92nd Infantry Division. If he was a white enlisted man then he would have never served in a black unit. The US Army was not desegregated until 1948, but black units almost always had white officers. I'm sure there were other units that didn't leave Italy until 1946.

A transfer out of the 10th Mountain Division was possible, especially if he was an officer and if he had a strong desire to stay in Italy.

Last edited by Chlodio; December 31st, 2017 at 07:26 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 08:50 AM   #5
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Engineers in Italy post WW2


Well, he's white and enlisted... so all this info is helpful, thanks. I think I can work with these details. I did read about the Marshall plan timeline after posting but the reminder is good. The delay for US rebuilding/involvement will actually tie in well with the character's later motivation.
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 08:59 AM   #6

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Let me understand, are you looking for a person? A US Army engineer who served in Italy after 1945?
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 09:10 AM   #7

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To be more clear: in Italy Americans have built a lot [US have invested here billions of US$ and Italians have been welcoming American military infrastructures, bases, troops, ships ...].

So, an easy way to put a US military engineer in Italy in those years is to put him in the construction site of an American NATO base in our country [I suggest Naples ... great climate].
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 09:12 AM   #8

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Or ... and this is the question [before I make some researches] ... you are going to write a novel about an American military engineer who took part to the "Reconstruction" of this country?

I mean, taking part to works to rebuild civilian infrastructures [Italian infrastructures, like streets, bridges, aqueducts ...].
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 09:20 AM   #9

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To allow you to understand the context: the Americans advanced from South to North with the support of the Italian population [fed up with Fascists] until they met the defensive lines of the Germans [who had invaded and occupied North - Central Italy]. In those regions the Americans [and the co-fighting Italians] enjoyed the aid of the Partisans. Usually when Americans destroyed a bridge which was useful for the local population they were enough kind to rebuild it. This can sound odd, but Italy is still full of bridges rebuilt by American troops [from Acerna on ...].
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 04:46 PM   #10

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It seems as though most American units pulled out in 45.
I see the 92nd Division stayed until 46.

Looks as though from 1952 the US and Italy made an arrangement to build several US bases in Northern Italy.
The British and US troops co garrisoned Sicily but again looks as though they were withdrawn around 44/45 and Italian authorities took over.
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