Ravenna Bridge - One for the Dodger Vets

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Jedburgh22, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    In the Ravenna district was a bridge labelled 'Popski's Private Bridge' - PPA were working alongside the 24th Lancers when this bridge was cobbled together using bits of Bailey and various other components and laid across the stone piles of the previous bridge which jerry had demolished. The bridge was only ale to take jeeps and foot traffic.

    Do any of our Italian Campaign vets recall this bridge and it's location???
    Ramiles likes this.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Jedburgh -
    Can't help you on this bridge at Ravenna as I never got there until much later but I do recall Popski's mob practicing and messing about in boats at Cattolica earlier on - so they had to be involved at Lago Commachia and Ravenna
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I've got all the 24 Lancers war diaries if you think its worth me looking?
  4. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Please Drew what I want ideally is the Grid Reference for the bridge.
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    The 24th Lancers weren't even in Italy.

    Do you mean 27th Lancers ?
    27th Lancers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Battle Honours
    The Second World War: Gothic Line, Savio Bridgehead, Capture of Ravenna, Menate, Filo, Argenta Gap, Bologna, Gaiana Crossing, Italy 1944-45

    or even the Canadian 12th Royal Lancers?
    Ravenna Liberated

    Canada's 12th Royal Lancers, led by one of Bulow's detachments, entered the city from the south as Popsky's pirates stormed in from the east to find the Germans fleeing. With the exception of one section of blown aqueduct, the city was intact

    BBC - WW2 People's War - THE BRIDGE - Approach to the River Po

    The operation at this time was called "PORTER FORCE" consisting of the 27th Lancers, a force of Armour and Artillery and the P.P.A. (Popsky's Private Army), a force under the command of our Lt Colonel H Porter who was considered to be most brilliant. He trained the regiment itself, in his own considered, unorthodox way.
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Owen -
    Sounds like a typical Wiki tale as Canada didn't have a 12th Lancer regiment - BUT The British did and is listed in the Armoured car group along with 27th Lancers - KDG's and 11th Hussars et al - owing to the flooding all around that area it was thought it would be useless for Tanks and thus the Cars were utilised - also the Kangaroos and DUKW's were also involved in moving the marines and commando's - the 24th Lancers were involved in the NWE campaign
  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Owen -
    Further to the wiki tale of the Canadian 12th Lancers - they might be mixed up with the Princess Louise Armoured Car unit - the PLugs of Canada who took a part in the battle for Ravenna -it wasn't that big a deal as battles go - while the rest of 1st Cdn. INf. Div were holding the line on the Senio...more than likely although that might have been later around Cesena - where we were disbanded..
  8. RosyRedd

    RosyRedd Senior Member

    In Popski's 'Private Army' book, he mentions the 12th and 27th Lancers. I had a look for anything about Bailey bridges and only found "On November 1st 1944, I crossed the Savio River on a Bailey bridge just put up by the sappers, and from the high bank looked northwards on to a desolate landscape."
  9. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Whoops should have been 27L apologies all

  10. rossnew

    rossnew Junior Member

    Hi Jedburgh22,

    Very interesting information on the Popski's Bridge, can be found on an article published in "The Sapper", Johannesburg in August 1950. There is also a sketch of the bridge, designed by John Cowin.

    Rossano Novelli
  11. Indiepink

    Indiepink Junior Member

    My uncle tells me that my father, Sgt Victor Bathe, of 12th Royal Lancers was 'the first man into Ravenna' and I'd love to find out more about this. Can anyone help please?
  12. Mellandry

    Mellandry Member

    Old topic + new member (who, by chance, lives not far from the bridge), Ravenna, Italy
    In a 1983 Italian book about war photographers from Appennines to the Po River, I found two pictures of what I guess was "the bridge" (They are both from IWM)
    The first one, on Dec. 7th, 1944

    And how it looks NOW

    I don't know if this bridge was named after Popski, but it is on the road from Cervia (Savio River) to Ravenna, the direction from where "Porter Force" came. On the other side of the dike there were the first houses of the town

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  13. Mellandry

    Mellandry Member

    First attempt to cross the river (Dec. 4th)

    And how it looks NOW

    The "river" is actually two rivers, because some hundred meters upstream (left) the river Ronco and the river Montone come together

    The two B/W pictures are printed in the book from IWM

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  14. Mellandry

    Mellandry Member

    Ops, sorry, coordinates are: 44.397783 / 12.215249
  15. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Great photos Enrico.
  16. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    All: I think if you connect the dots you may agree that the 27th Lancers were the Carpathian/Uhlan Regiment (divisional Reconnaissance Battalion of the 2nd Warsaw Armoured Division (II Polish Corp) who pushed out the advance after the fall of Ravenna by the 5th Canadian Armoured Division 1st Canadian corp. the Above is not correct but Information below comes from Nicholson's History "The Canadians in Italy"
    Here it is. 16th and 17th of Oct, the GGHG and the 27th lancers relieved the Greek Brigade Who headed home leaving Wilder force with 2 dismounted Armoured units and the British Columbia Dragoons as armoured support ( page 584 The Canadians in Italy) cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/docs/Italy_e.pdf . That said it is certainly the British Lancers that were involved with Porter and Cumberland Force
  17. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    In reference to the original post - which was later - re. 27th Lancers...

    There was a 24th Lancer - Donald Barrett - briefly mentioned in the 24th Lancers book - "None Had Lances" - with the PPA - kia in Greece.

    Casualty Details | CWGC

    Service Number: 319708
    Regiment & Unit/Ship
    Royal Armoured Corps
    24th Lancers
    Date of Death
    Died 10 September 1944
    Age 26 years old
    Buried or commemorated at
    15. A. 7.
    Secondary Unit, Regiment
    attd. Raiding Support Regiment
    Country of Service
    United Kingdom

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