Question about Load Classification on Pegasus and Ranville bridges

Discussion in 'General' started by Old Git, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    As I understand it, prior to the invasion there seems to have been some concern that the bridges over the Caen Canal and the Orne river (Pegaus and Rainville bridge) would not be capable of carrying class 40 loads and it was determined that, by D+4, 1 Corp should be ready to build, in the whole Corps area, seven class 40 bridges totalling 920 feet in length and one class 9 FBE bridge totalling 130 feet in length.

    In the event it turned out that the existing bridges over the Orne and the Caen Canal were capable of carrying much heavier traffic. In the BAOR's 'Royal Enginers Battlefield tour I: Normandy to the Seine' and in Pakenham-Walsh's 'History of the Corp of Royal Engineers, Vol.IX' it merely says that the bridges were reinforced to carry Class 40 traffic.

    The implication being that British Sappers did this work, and Pakenham-Walsh indicates that the work took place around July 18th - 21st.

    However, Brian (our very own Sapper who served with 243 Fd Coy and who was there at the time) has published the following little tit-bit about the bridges having already been reinforced by the Germans and how Lt Edwards had confirmed this to be the case and opted to ride on front of a leading tank to make the tankies more accepting of his assurances that the bridges would hold their weight, see Brian's quote below.

    Now,I'm inclined to go with Brian on this as he was the man on the spot at the time and I'm sure that I've read the same story elsewhere but for the life of me I can't remember where, does anyone know? Also, can anyone tell me who the nervous tankies were? Is anyone aware of any other published source which corroborates the case for the German's reinforcing the bridges rather than our own chaps?
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Old Git

    All Tankies were nervous of Bridges - especially those in the Italian Mountains without classifications and again not so

    much as the Bridges collapsing but the sudden stop 1000 feet below - one day in the high Appenines our Tank was non runner - so we

    hauled it onto a Transporter - came upon a 40 Class bridge - big problem Tank weighed 40 tons transporter another 15 tons so we all

    got off and guided the driver over the Bridge - forgetting that anything untoward with the load - we were on the wrong side of the

    Mountain- that didn't sink in until later …

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