Bailey Bridge across the Po, where was it exactly?

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Owen, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Anyone know exactly where this is , please.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
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    28 April 1945 British Eighth Army traffic crossing the first pontoon Bailey bridge, constructed by the Royal Engineers, over the River Po. The remains of the previous bridge are seen alongside.
     
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Pontelagoscuro according to Joiner's One More River to Cross. He has a different (and not very good) photo but you can see the double landing bay and the old bridge in the background.

    He goes on to say that the South African sappers later built a class 40 high level Bailey - Springbok Bridge - utilising the piers of the demolished bridge. Not only were the design calculations approved by Donald Bailey himself, they did a complete dry run of the bridge to carry out loading tests. The bridge was 990 ft long and the shortest span was 222 ft.
     
  3. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Will check the REs in Italy history I have.
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just GoogleStreetViewed the Po just north of Ferrara & think I found the rail bridge.
    ferrara - Google Maps

    EDIT: Yup Idler that's it!
    Pontelagoscuro
     

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  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Springbok Bridge

    South African Military History Society - Journal - WITH THE SAPPERS

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    Burrage, 'Springbok Bridge' on the River Po
    (SANMMH, Cat No 1271)

    Contemporary note by artist:
    'Designed from recce photographs taken from the air while the River Po was still in enemy hands, this bridge was built and tested at Consentico a month before the Po area fell before the advance of the Allies. Constructed of triple-double, reinforced Bailey, it had a continuous length of 1 010 ft, being pinned at one end, floating at the other and running on rollers on all three piers. The spans measure 220 ft, 275 ft, 275 ft, and 220 ft, and it was built by two field companies and one field park company SAEC, using two Italian pioneer companies as labour, in the remarkably short time of eight days. The SAEC officer responsible for the design flew to England to consult with Mr Bailey regarding the special reinforcing needed by exceptionally long spans. It is classified as Class 40; restricted and very careful control is exercised on the spacing of vehicles using it. At the time this drawing was made, heavy rains in the Turin area had raised the river level at Ferara by 17 ft, making the pontoon bridge upstream unusable, and so the Springbok Bridge was carrying both the north and southbound traffic at this busy centre.'
    (Official World War II Art Catalogue, Cat No 1271, SANMMH)
     
  7. Tilford

    Tilford Junior Member

    Owen, this may also be of some interest. It is taken from the Official History of the NZ Divisional Cavalry.


    The Divisional Cavalry spent the first night about seven miles north of Bologna, a night enlivened by a visit from an enemy plane which dropped butterfly bombs, wounding four men; it then moved on again on the 23rd to near the bank of the Reno River, taking care this time to disperse more widely. This was becoming increasingly possible as the country of the Romagna, so intensely planted with its pollarded trees and its thousands of rows of grape vines, gradually gave way to open fields and the stately poplars of Lombardy.
    The further the advance went the more evident were the signs of urgent retreat by the enemy, the route being marked increasingly by his discarded equipment. At one crossroads there was a Tiger tank, genuinely knocked out. All along the way there were burnt-out cars, burnt-out lorries, guns rolled in the ditches and blown up, and the hated nebelwerfers destroyed for ever by their owners. There were carts and wagons up-ended in the fields and their horses let loose to roam. For a happy hour or two near the village of Bondeno, beyond the Reno River, the men of Div Cav, if only in their imagination, became genuine cavalry again. Everybody found himself a horse to ride about in the cool of the evening after a hot dusty day.
    While this was going on, the forward brigades, the 5th and 6th, had reached the Po and were preparing to force a crossing. It was 24 April. By dawn on Anzac Day a crossing had been made and, as the reserve brigade lazed gratefully in the warm sun, the bridgehead was enlarged and a pontoon bridge was built behind it. The 9th Brigade began to cross on the 26th, Div Cav being the last to go. At midday the whole battalion packed up and marched across country to the river, where it came upon an impressive sight, two hundred yards of water with its long row of pontoons to the far bank. By the late afternoon every squadron was across and everybody had been found billets for the night with the willing and friendly villagers on the north bank. The whole division was well past the goal which had tantalised every man since the day the New Zealanders landed at Taranto.
    The New Zealand Division's last Italian offensive fully demonstrated the tremendous weight and the smashing hammer blows that this efficient fighting team could deliver. Four brigades (including the Gurkhas) of veteran infantry and a brigade of their own heavy tanks; a divisional artillery trained to a degree of superb accuracy and capable of bringing down, and sustaining, a rain of deadly high explosive; all these went to make up what Churchill had termed ‘this ball of fire’. With it, and in matching efficiency, went the best that could be trained in administration, Intelligence, medical and signal services, and an Army Service Corps, all of which worked as dedicated men. But in this last offensive those of the Division's men who stood head and shoulders above them all were the Engineers, the men who, with their bulldozers and their bridging trains, came forward with each first wave of infantry to carve away the approaches and build the bridges to let the full weight of the support come on. And when that was done, they rolled forward with the advance, like men possessed, to do it again and again. The advance across the rivers was triumph and victory to the Engineers.
     
  8. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    Just GoogleStreetViewed the Po just north of Ferrara & think I found the rail bridge.
    ferrara - Google Maps

    EDIT: Yup Idler that's it!
    Pontelagoscuro

    I seem to have missed this post. Sadly im in italy at the moment, but at home I have a 58th Div war diary map with all the crossings marked and the coordinates of the above bridge at Ferrara.
     
  9. Drose1980

    Drose1980 New Member

    My grandad was at the po valley, he was a royal engineer, does anyone know much about this? How do I post a pic? sketch-1450780242094.jpg
     

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  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  11. Drose1980

    Drose1980 New Member

    Thank you, but there is no attach file button?
     
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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