In an age of increasingly high technology warfare it is interesting that centuries old skills are still relevant.
The MoD reported this week on sappers from 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers repairing a bridge in Afghanistan. Using nothing but hand tools, sweat and the natural skill of the Sapper they repaired a local bridge.
Soldiers from 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers (RE) carried out the repairs on the bridge after being alerted to the damage and resulting problems by soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA), who regularly patrol the area.
Following an initial assessment of the damage and the work required to make the crossing capable of carrying tractors once again, the necessary materials for the job were transported to nearby Checkpoint Perkha by the Paras.
To do this, they made several journeys by quad bike – the only vehicle capable of getting through the series of narrow tracks running between irrigated fields.
A team of six engineers, led by Lieutenant Keith McDougall, then began the task of building the new bridge.
Firstly the abutments were shored up with pickets and corrugated iron sheeting, then a deck was constructed, consisting of timber baulks held together with a giant iron staple and resting on sandbags.
Basic combat engineering in action.