Bailey Bridges

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

  1. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    I don't know if anyone is still reading this but if they are...
    (I came across it while searching about Baileys in context of this thread of mine -

    I have at home in Scotland (where I will be in a few weeks), a large format (bigger than A4) book called, if I recall, "Bridging - Normandy to Berlin", with some 200 pictures or so of various bridges right through the campaign, by 21 Army Group. I will dig it out on my return...might be good resource for a lot of folks :) (although there are some copies on Abebooks).

    Separately, continuing the theme of Baileys in strange places...I took this photo in the Chinese city of Hefei, Anhui province, in 2005...:) not that unusual, actually, you see a lot in China being used as (usually) temporary bridges around construction sites etc...there are various Chinese companies making them...I cannot comment on whether they are doing so on the right side of the law or not ! :)

    Attached Files:

    von Poop likes this.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    There's a really nice Bailey Bridge in Notts/Lincs at Beckingham Ranges.
  3. Franek

    Franek WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Dad told me once that they attempted to bridge the Rhine three times and each time the bridge was distroyed. The fourth time he said they built it and swung it in place, then rushed troops across. Have you ever heard of this?

    This sounds like the Baily bridge built just north of the Ludendorff at Remagan In Early March 1945. In an attempt to get more troops on the opposite bank at the Erpel. A bridge was built under extreme enemy fire from the high ground.. They even fired a V! rocket.. Many engineers died that day.. I was one of the first men that crossed under enemy fire in trucks. I still recall how swift the current was.
  4. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    China Hand
    You mention the book "Bridging - Normandy to Berlin". I would be very interested to see a few scans from this book. I have been aware of this book for some time but don't think I could justify the £60-£80 asking price - perhaps you can persuade me otherwise.
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Caption from Life is 'Battle of Arnhem' so I'm guessing XXX Corps somewhere along the way.
  6. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Bailey Bridge, near to the Allenbanks suspension bridge over the River Allen in Northumberland. Bailey developed the steel bridge so it could be assembled quickly by soldiers. It comprises lightweight steel units which clip together. The bridge has a timber deck. Note the clips. Bailey and John Knapton were both pupils at Rotherham Grammar School.




    Source : Google Image Result for
  7. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    China Hand
    You mention the book "Bridging - Normandy to Berlin". I would be very interested to see a few scans from this book. I have been aware of this book for some time but don't think I could justify the £60-£80 asking price - perhaps you can persuade me otherwise.

    Hi Noel sorry I have only just noticed your post, must have missed it on the day. My apologies ! :( I will post some photos shortly (will have to be digital photos as I do not yet have a scanner...)
  8. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    I have this HMSO book

    it seems to be quite rare if the internet prices are any guide
    Brian Harpur: a bridge to victory - AbeBooks

    Very good history of the Bailey with many IWM photographs and first hand accounts.

    Cover price is £14.95, I paid £5.95.:)
  9. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    Here you are - pics of index listing the bridges covered, and a random selection of pics of pages...hope this is helpful !

    Attached Files:

  10. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    There is a Bailey bridge in situ and still open in Cheshunt, Herts, crossing the River Lea.

    We used to call it the Tank Bridge.

  11. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    The Americans had their own bridge system, there was no welding involved with the Baily Bridge System, all the panels and componentswere ready to go, decking..the lot, building a Bailey needed no lifting equipment, everything was designed to be built at speed by Sappers.

    These bridges were absolute simplicity. and could be built as required;
    single, double single, fixed, or tidal on pontoons, as at Pegasus. some of the war time bridges I am told, are still in place. the simplicity and the lack of any welding or any other fixing, other than that supplied, made it possible to bridge an area in hours.

    The success of the Bailey speaks for itself, for they can be found around the world.
    We have built a bridge in bours under fire, and seen the armour go charging across immediately. In my opinion one of the greatest inventions in military Engineering. Mind you, damned hard work, but no equipment needed other than man power.

    Absolutely Brian, the testament to the Baily Bridge is evidenced by the number still in use around the UK and the rest of the world.

    By all accounts building Amazon Bridge in Italy was another Dantes Inferno.

  12. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    Wow thats impressive
  13. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member


    Who does the maths for all this , how does it work.

    The sappers arrive at an obsticle, someone gets out the book of prefered BB designs, they pick one. Then someone sites down with a slide rule and book of Bending moment equations (while some Jerry takes pot shots at hime) and works out what weight the bridge can carry?

    I found the maths hard enough and no one was trying to kill me.

  14. andybelcher

    andybelcher Junior Member

    Bailey Bridges. Now there is a subject I can talk about in depth. Being in a Field Company Royal Engineers, (They serve at the Sharp end) I have, with my platoon mates built many Baileys, and other assault crossing bridges… most of them under direct fire. From Pegasus bridge, “Tidal Bailey” to Northern Holland.

    The Bailey is probably the finest invention in military engineering, they have been put in place at bewildering speed. They come in all shapes and sizes from huge Rhine crossing, down to little ones across canals.

    Building assault bridges under direct fire, is an “Education” Always it scared the crap out of me. I can talk at some length about bridging the river Orne, to back up Pegasus bridge. The Sappers were already there, before the Commandos arrived with their Piper!
    My Company built the first Assault bridge over the Escaut canal, on the drive North on Market Garden drive to Arnhem. A fearsome night operation, never to be forgotten. “Dantes Inferno” had nothing on this.
    Dear Sir. My father was in 233 FieldCompany. Whichwere you in. I have a picture ofhim sitting on a bailey bridge. Would you be able to identify it??

    Andy Belcher
  15. Gunpowder

    Gunpowder Junior Member

    Wow thats impressive

    Now that is a bridge!
  16. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    A view of the 1,100ft bailey bridge across the Chindwin River as it nears completion, less than 12 hours after the 14th Army captured Kalewa, 2 December 1944.


    A Bailey bridge over the Chindwin River near Kalewa, December 1944


    This Bailey bridge on the Chindwin River in Burma spanned 1,154 feet (351 m).
  17. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Bailey Bridges ?

    I can safely say that you would never be able to find a single ex-serviceman who would have a bad word to say about them.

    In Italy we could never have managed without them and I've lost track as to the number of these wonderful bridges over which my truck or tank has rolled.

    I would also like to put on record my immense admiration for the men who put them up, often under fire and always within striking distance of the enemy.

    Bailey Bridges ? I loved them !

  18. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Drew.The bridge from "Life"is I think the bailey put up by the "Follow up sappers" after we had built a assault bridge and departed towards Weert.
  19. cash_13

    cash_13 Senior Member

    A pic of a section of bailey at arrowmanches museum:D

    Feel free to say what an excellent photo I took with a mobile phone:lol:

    Attached Files:

  20. andybelcher

    andybelcher Junior Member

    Hello All. Please can someone help. My father was in 233 field company RE attached to 50th Northumbrian Division. His war was between D Day and Niemegen. I have a picture that has been kindly put onto the Bailey Bridge Website. Please look at the link Baileybridge - baileybrug - pont bailey - bro bailey. The second pic on the page is my father Gordon Belcher. Does anyone know where this photo was taken and or the type of bridge upon which he is seated. Is it possible that he was involved in building this bridge or is it more likely that he is just sitting on it in passing. I would like to know where it is and what it is. Please help.


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