Bailey Bridges

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Gerry Chester, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    This was fun? Pegasus was out of bounds for tanks. Orders of Tiger Urquhart Colonel RE. The story being if the bridge collapsed, it would be dangerous for the Paras and Airborne the other side. Then there was a Sudden panzer attack on the Airborne, and we had to get tanks across fast. Captain Edwards RE got under to make sure it would not fall apart.

    For he had Sherman's waiting to go across, and forbidden to do so! When he assured the Armour that it was safe to cross, they were not very keen to do so. Then Captain Edwards volunteered to sit on the leading tank... And off the went.

    Returning later with the hessian camouflage smoldering after beating off the Panzer's,
    Later tanks were crossing regularly!

    Some of our action stunts were so "Way out" That folk would look at you sideways, thinking what a load on rubbish... So i bought the Company war Diaries, (£76) and its all there, including when I got clobbered

    If I had the patience (I do not!) I would count bridges built... Its a fair number al all types Assault, floating, canvas boat (FBE) including the Kapok infantry assault floats. (Overloon) Molen Beek!
    Somewhere I have a great description of a bailey we built out of sight of the enemy, then towed it by dragging it along the ground into position with an AVRE (because of under constant heavy fire) and shoved it across in one go. it was built much longer "to retain its balance" as it was pushed into place.

    The rest of took up the length of the street (counterweight)
    Stop me nattering about baileys! or I shall be here all night!

    Just one final thought, The floating pontoons, for bridges were full of empty gerry cans, So when a mortar landed in one, it would not sink completely, and could be pulled out and replaced. Where if it had sunk? we would have to raise it first.....Or blow it up! All clever stuff!
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    We're you glad you were not the driver, Mr. Canning?
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Slipdigit -
    Not much good you trying your sarcasm on me - I have been insulted by experts - of course I was glad not to be the transport driver - all he had to do was take us there, drop us off, then return to his base whereas we went on to have fun beating up Panthers and Tigers with the odd MKv1's - you know - the ones with the special 75mm's and 19' long barrels.....with the shots that went through your turrets like an express train......
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    With respect, I don't believe slipdigit, Jeff, was being sarcastic at all.
    It's not in his nature.
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  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Owen - then I shall respect your more extensive knowledge of the man - but the use of the term MR Canning had me fooled as I supect he is still smarting at my condemnation of his favourite General as being disobedient at the Bulge !
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Tom, Jeff usually has that 'Old World', rather formal way of addressing Veterans, (Or, I'm sure, anyone he has genuine respect for). Ask Ron, it's taken him ages to get Jeff to stop referring to him as 'Mr Goldstein'.

    If a thread were started relating to that General you would find that Jeff is no teenage Computer gamer and knows full well how to have a polite discussion, even when there may be disagreements.

  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Von Poop - no use asking Ron - he is on his way to Prague shortly and is busy packing - as I responded to Owen - I shall respect both your more extensive knowledge of "Slipdigit" and act accordingly - thank you both for your advice !
    Trooper Tom
  8. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Mr. Canning, or Tom if you prefer,

    I was raised and currently live in the Southern United States, where salutations such as I used when addressing men of your stature is expected. I greet and refer to all men who are worthy of the honor in such a manner, men who have served their countries honorably or are many years my senior. I was taught to do so by my parents and I instruct my daughters in the same manner. It is the way of life here. Men I know well, such as my parent's close friends, or older members of my church or neighborhood are referred to "Mr" followed their first name. If I had known you for a long time, I would call you Mr Tom, otherwise, I use Mr. Canning.

    I can assure you that no sarcasm was intended and I apologize if my genteel ways were misconstrued on your part. I meant no harm.

    As Adam intimated, it has taken much cajoling on Ron Goldstein's part to dissaude me from referring to him as "Mr. Goldstein." I now call him Ron only because he has repeatedly asked me to so. I do not like it, but out of respect for him, I acquiesce to his wishes. He is worthy of greater honor than just being called Ron by someone young as I, as you are also, which is why I addressed you as Mr. Canning. If you prefer "Tom", I will use that name without the honorific title. I also refer to Sapper as Mr Guy, but most here do not know his surname and may not realize who I am referring to when I use Mr Guy, so I more regularly use Sapper instead.

    As far as experiencing irritation in the discussion of General Collins, no not at all. Good discussion is good discussion, even where there is disagreement. There was no name calling or verbal attacks by either of us. The one thing I have noticed is that there is much rivalry between our countries on the conduct of the war. It is to be expected, I guess, as we are both proud of our respective nations. But short of calling me an idiot, I'm not going to get riled up over discussion, even when I disagree.

    Adam and Owen, thanks for pleading my cause.
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  9. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    If there's no other contenders (?), then 'First 'active service' Bailey Bridge' is quite a significant event... I like it.
    The first of how many thousand feet/miles of the stuff? I know we've had the statistic here somewhere.


    It was last discussed here.

    The book I mentioned 'A Bridge to Victory, the untold story of the Bailey bridge' by Brian Harpur is a Ministry of defence HMSO publication. An excellent history of this iconic piece of equipment.

    Very well illustrated it includes a different shot of the first bridge built under active conditions.
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It was last discussed here.
    I've merged that thread into this one, as it doesn't disturb the flow and concentrates stuff on this most fascinating device.

    It seems such an apparently simple thing to throw a bridge across a gap like the one above, but in fact it's the most tremendous military advance to have this standardised system, deserves a museum in it's own right.
    It's another infrastructure area that the German's just don't seem to have kept up with. Surely they copied the Bailey? It's just too sensible an idea. They'd have killed for a few thousand feet of it as they retreated across the Seine.
    Hmmm, a shufti at the books reveals I'm seriously deficient on detailed info on Military Bridges other than vehicle launched ones.

    The (Excellent) RE Museum has a good section on Baileys and a nice page on their website devoted to military bridging in general:
    Royal Engineers Museum - Article - Military Bridging
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Owen - Adam - I have tried on three occasions to respond to Slipdigits message this a.m. but find that I am informed that I have used 44 - 42 - now 38 images where I am curtailed at 25 images - I have cut my response to - 38 by cutting swathes out of my response - If I should cut any more - I am liablle to finish up with "dear Slipdigit" ??? Can you advise please
    Tom Canning
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Aha, Tom I'm guessing that you're cutting and pasting the response having pre-prepared it in a word processor such as word?
    The Difficulty is that these programs use invisible format marks to lay out the page properly, so when they're copied across to the 'Plain text' editor used on the forum it treats all these marks as just more characters.
    As the marks can be the same as the shortcuts used for entering smilies here ( ':' & ')' = :) etc.) the software then thinks you're flooding it with smilies.
    (Hope that makes some sense.)

    If it's word being used then I know that the document can be 'saved as' a plain text page which will then (hopefully) just slot right in.

    It can be a real pain... as many of us must know.

    The format marks can be pre-edited by pasting the text into 'notepad' on Windows, which uses the same plain text format as here. If that seems like a lot of bother (quite tedious sometimes) then if you email the original document to me I'm happy to excise them manually and return a 'postable' version to you.

  13. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Adam - that makes a great deal of sense - hadn't come across that before - very odd ! - I try sending in clear later .....
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Slipdigit - I have not forgotten my response to you but after labouriously re typing my message - it somehow disappeared - now and again my PC has trouble with me !
  15. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Thank you for your explanation of your personal ethics – highly commendable I would say – but your use of the “MR” Canning did throw me as I seldom am addressed by that title – in the past I often heard it from employees seeking a raise ! Tom will be good enough for me.
    Living as I do within ten miles of the Washington State Border – I have many American friends some of whom address me as “Sir” – others “hi’ya’ll and even others who say “hey buddy” so to read “Mr” canning was a bit unexpected !
    I suspect that you were anxious of my inclusion of Gen Collins of the 25th Division on my list of dis-obedient Officers – the dis-obedience of US gen. Mark Clark has been acceptedby many American Historians as being a fact – but many more have been forgotten for reasons unknown to many.
    What surprised me so much was the fact that Collins had a tremendous reputation in the Pacific for doing things to the extent that MacArthur nicknamed him “ Lightning Joe “ on being transferred to Europe and promoted to V11 Corps he did an equally great job in landing and pushing forward on Utah beach on D day plus later capturing Cherbourg.
    The n to find at the Bulge that he disobeyed his new Army group commander – Monty in becoming involved in attacking both 5th and 6th panzer Armies with three depleted divisions – was to say the least – surprising from a
    Tactical point of view !
    With sincere regards
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  16. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    I think Bailey Bridges are a brilliant piece of equipment.
  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon


    I guess I need to change my ways when posting in this forum. We are more formal here in rural Alabama than other parts of the world and old habits die hard. It is difficult to convey tone and inflection of the spoken word in typewritten messages as "Mister" also can be used derogatorially here and is so indicated by how the word is said. Again, I assure you that it was not intended in that manner.

    I will call you Tom henceforth since you request it of me, but by doing so, it doesn't mean I like it.

    I was merely inquiring as to whether or not you were thankful that you didn't have to run the risk of falling into the gorge if the bridge were to collapse, since you were not the driver and could be off of the bridge while the vehicle was on it?
    Gerard likes this.
  18. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Slipdigit -
    Not wishing to fall into the gorge was the primary consideration - but it did'nt dawn on us until later that we might have become P.O.W.'s as we were only armed with our hand guns ! Fortune smiled however and we were able to proceed to make the other side P.O.W.'s - The astonishing thing was that The Bailey Bridge exceeded ti's limts by some 15 tons or thereabout a truly remarkable performance.
  19. Franek

    Franek WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The bridge that your Dad told you about was at Remagan. The RR bridge(LUDENDORFF) was heavily damaged and it was a matter of time before it collapsed. The 9th armored division took that bridge and established a bridgehead on the east bank.. To keep reinforcements coming. A pontoon bridge was built just north of the LUDENDORFF. It is true. Many engeneers were lost due to fire from German 88s. They even fired V! rockets in attempt to knock it out. I know. I was there
  20. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Took this photo a couple of days ago in Museum near Best, Holland. Thought 1 or 2 might like the half track too.!!!

    Attached Files:

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