Military engineering can be traced back to its origins in the defensive frameworks in the fort hills constructed in Europe during the late Iron Age. One of the earliest feats of Military Engineering was the Great Wall of China, which was built in the 3rd century B.C. to protect the Chinese against the barbarians to the north.
The ancient Romans were the preeminent engineering people of the ancient western world. They constructed a vast network of roads and aqueducts within their empire and various guard towers and forts to protect their many settlements. The Romans also effectively used siege craft such as catapults, battering rams, and ballistae. As the ages wore on, castles became a commonplace site in Europe, as armies clashed in bigger and more savage conflicts. Many castles were strongholds, allowing the defenders, for the most part, to hold off attackers through the many advantage points the castle provided while the castle itself proved an overwhelming obstacle for the attackers to capture. The castle was steadfast as it contained ton after ton of stone, which was nigh impossible to impregnate without weakening the supports by tunneling underneath the fortifications
As the 16th century opened, the invention of gunpowder came about. Along with that was the mighty siege cannon, allowing attackers to smash through walls with relevant ease. Adjusting to this new machine, engineers used the idea of the “sunken profile,” which protected walls from artillery bombardment. In the 17th century, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban of France perfected the defensive engineering against artillery and his plans were handed down for generations to succeeding military engineers around the world. Following the Napoleonic Wars, military engineers became adapted to more civil matters. During the 19th century, military engineers explored, charted, and built onto new territories. For the Europeans, Africa was the main target and for America, it concentrated on developing its own national transportation and protection systems. American military engineers focused on building forts out west to protect against Native American raids and also building the transcontinental railroad in the latter half of the century.
As World War I broke out, the strategies of warfare was changed dramatically, so military engineering also had to be transformed into a whole new dimension. With the introduction of the trench warfare, engineers were faced with the problem of transporting troops and supplies to the front lines and designing weapons to hit targets inside the trenches. The responsibility and scope of military engineers expanded so rapidly following the end of World War I, that an entirely new branch of engineer corps was formed for military telecommunications. In the 1930’s, France performed an impressive military engineering feat. They built the Maginot line, a seemingly impregnable fortress, as a buffer zone between their homeland and that of Germany and Luxembourg’s. With...