[Barlow’s] European Theater 1340th Engineer Combat Battalion


A personal relic from one of the war’s most distinguished engineer battalions.

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This map of Europe and North Africa tells a story unlike many other similar commemorations that were produced by Allied units in the days and weeks immediately after V-E Day. A two-color base map identifies in red the route of the 1340th Engineer Combat Battalion and its predecessor unit between October of 1942 and May of 1945. Black ink is used to identify prewar international borders, cities, and a brief campaign chronology.

The simplified image and nondescript text belies the action undertaken by the unit during the North African and European campaigns. A line across Morocco and Algeria represents a grueling 1,100+ mile march across the Atlas Mountains to be forged in the first fires of the conflict. “Landed near St. Laurent su Mer, France” is an understated way to inform the audience the unit landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day. Overall, the battalion was engaged in eight distinct campaigns; including the spearhead at Sicily and Normandy, and received the Presidential Unit Citation. There are no glamorous illustrations, tables of POW statistics or flashy unit insignia typical of other unit history maps celebrating wartime accomplishments. The official record and extensive territory covered by the unit was enough to do the talking.

What truly sets this map apart is the dozens of signatures and addresses from the friends and peers of Robert Barlow, the original owner of the map whose signature is faintly visible at the top. Hailing from across the United States, these individuals were likely from the same platoon or company as Mr. Barlow, making this map a unique personal relic of the war.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1945

Author: Robert Barlow

Sheet Width (in): 21.00

Sheet Height (in): 23.25

Condition: B

Condition Description: Chipping and minor loss to the sheet in the corners from where the map was previously hung. Two 2" tears in the top and bottom have been repaired on the verso. Moderate soiling and a few spots visible within the sheet. However, given its history and age, the wear isn't so severe and the map remains eminently presentable.