One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A soldier responsible for tasks such as building and repairing roads and bridges, laying and clearing mines, etc.
- ‘In September, South African sappers began work demining hundreds of kilometers of piste road from the Kenyan border to the rebel-held town of Rumbek.’
- ‘During the Peninsular War in 1812 a permanent company of sappers and miners was established in the British army for the first time, and miners brought the siege of San Sebastian to a successful conclusion in 1813.’
- ‘When daylight comes, 20 teams of sappers patrol the city's streets as they do every morning, clearing mines laid by rebel fighters the night before.’
- ‘The MGS platoon, task organized with an infantry squad, a sapper squad, and an MEV, are tasked to standby with the first sergeant for CASEVAC.’
- ‘Union sappers literally dug their way through the minefield using traditional siege warfare techniques.’
- ‘U.S. sappers use a high-tech metal detector to hunt down hidden explosives.’
- ‘Army sappers detonated the device in a controlled explosion.’
- ‘This is extremely significant when you consider the reduction of the number of sappers in combat engineer companies.’
- ‘The BCT, like the divisional brigade, is built around its maneuver battalions and direct support by sappers and artillery.’
- ‘Once again the combined arm concept of the engineer group was confirmed when a section of sappers and a section of pioneers combined to clear the obstruction with chainsaws and heavy plant.’
- ‘The bridge was destroyed five days later by enemy sappers, but too late.’
- ‘A day before, a lorry carrying gasoline overturned and burst into flames, near a bridge where army sappers and technicians had already wired the leads to the dynamite.’
- ‘The talks followed a deadly Israeli night raid into the southern Gaza strip town of Khan Yunis, when tanks and helicopters blazed a way for army sappers to enter the bullet-scarred refugee camp and dynamite two tall buildings.’
- ‘A handful - their numbers are not known - served as bomb disposal sappers, working to disarm the weapons of destruction, not to inflict them on the innocent.’
- ‘Kazakhstan is at the forefront of the international fight against terrorism and a team of our sappers in Iraq has cleared more than three million land mines since they were deployed there.’
- ‘They serve in a variety of roles: infantry shock troops, raiders, sentries, spies, sappers, and porters.’
- ‘Without tackling these issues, we will not see the necessary synergy between several seemingly disparate Army cultures: the sapper, the topographic engineer, and the MP.’
- ‘Six of those commandos - the green beret, the sniper, the diver, the sapper, the driver, and the spy - are back from the original game, but three are new.’
- ‘Common features to both types of regiment would include an organic sapper / pioneer platoon at the battalion/squadron level for mobility, countermobility, and survivability tasks.’
- ‘This results in at least one silly scenario that requires catching an enemy tank crew's attention while sneaking a lone sapper in with a shaped charge, Private Ryan style.’
- 1.1British A private soldier in the Corps of Royal Engineers.
private soldier, common soldierView synonyms
- ‘According to the SOE files, Major Court was a civil engineer before World War One, and enlisted into the Divisional Engineers as a sapper.’
- ‘Chris, 21, said he was happy to be back in his home town after a long stint in Iraq as a sapper with his Germany-based Royal Engineers unit.’
- ‘The boats will be operated by sappers from the Combat Engineer Regiments in Darwin, Townsville and Brisbane, with some boats located at the School of Military Engineering for training purposes.’
- ‘Later, when the former Royal Engineers sapper was finally diagnosed with an aggressive cancer of the prostate, which has since spread to his pelvis and lymph glands, he discovered that the hospital at Maralinga had ‘lost’ his records.’
- ‘But for those young sappers - as soldiers of the Royal Engineers are known - there was one big difference.’
- ‘A typical task organization for route clearance would be two ATGMs with a section of infantry, including the rifle platoon sergeant and forward observer, and a sapper squad in the engineer squad vehicle under the MGS platoon leader.’
- ‘In Britain private soldiers in the Royal Engineers are styled sappers, and the term is applied generally to any military engineer - what would in America be termed a combat engineer.’
- ‘Because engineer subunits had a shortage of sappers to provide engineer support to motorized rifle subunits, it was necessary to prepare a non-T / O sapper section of seven to eight men in each company.’
- ‘The 22-year-old sapper in 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers was killed when youths hurled a lump of rock at his vehicle.’
Early 17th century: from the verb sap + -er.
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