Bailey bridge question

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by alberk, Aug 20, 2022.

  1. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    The current drought brought about extremely low water levels for the river Rhine at Rees/Germany (where XXX Corps crossed the Rhine in 1945) and revealed this Bailey frame turned into an anchor - is this a civilian post war improvisation or did the Royal Engineers use anchors like this to secure Bailey bridges? The location is the site where the Canadians built Blackfriars Bridge across the Rhine in March 1945. The "anchor" was recovered only yesterday.
    Pic 2.jpg

    Pic 1.jpg
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  2. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    This certainly seems to be an official Royal Engineers modification. There is a good diagram in 'Royal Engineers Supplementary Pocket Book No3. Bridging'. 1957. This superceded a book of the same tirle dated 1945.

    From the photograph it does seem identical to the books diagram. There are four pairs of flukes set at 45 degrees to the panel, each fluke being 1foot 10inch long. These are bolted to a Bailey panel using panel bolts through existing holes in the bottom of the panel.

    Unfortunately my scanner, or probably the driver (whatever that is), is not working so I cannot post the diagram.

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  3. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much, Mike! Very valuable information for the proud recovery team at Rees who asked me about their find.

    Do you know what is was exectly used for? For anchoring the pontoons? Were all pontoons anchored or just those closer to the banks?

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  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    The anchor comes after a section on floating Bailey Bridges and there is a distinction between anchors and anchorages. In normal use Bailey pontoons use a small anchor but the flow of the Rhine would need something stronger. The panel anchor weighs 800lb and has a holding power of 3,000 lbs in sandy silt and 2,000 lbs in coarse gravel.

    There are heavier anchors also intended for mooring floating Bailey Bridges. These consist of two Bailey panels fixed five foot apart and with wire mesh on all sides of the box this creates. The box is filled with rubble and has a holding power of 7,000 lbs in sandy silt and 5,000 lbs in coarse gravel.

    Presumably where the two types of anchor were used depended on the strength of the rivers flow and the nature of the river bed. Beyond my knowledge, and references, I am afraid.

    As you know every answer raises more questions.

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  5. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Many thanks, Mike.

    As I am not a native speaker I might as well admit that I do not quite understand the sentence above - cannot visualize what it means - could you please explain a little further? Sorry!
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  6. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

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  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    My unclear sentance refers to the booklet. There is a section of the text about the Bailey Bridge and then a small section of text about the anchors. This seems to confirm that the anchors are intended for use with the Bailey Bridge.

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  8. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Ok - I understand...
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  9. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Old Grit,

    I only know the photos - have'nt seen the object. But I will ask.

    Great link to Twitter - even a photo taken on the Rhine front 1945.

    Thank you!
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  10. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    You're welcome Alex. I believe this style of anchor was developed in Italy by British Engineers at AFHQ, for the fast flooring/flooding rivers there. The info was then promulgated throughout Allied forces via a document called 'Engineers Intelligence Bulletins \ Summary'. The 1945 photo shows a couple of US Sappers fabricating one of these anchors, using welding rather than bolting in place, at a US Engineers stores depot during the build up for the Rhine Crossing. Experiences in Italy had obviously forewarned them that they would need much heavier anchors.

    Please keep me informed on developments on this find. It is just so coincidental that we would be discussing this on Twitter over the last few days only for an actual relic of the war to appear from the Rhine like that! Outstanding! I'd love to see this donated to the RE Museum here in the UK ... if they're looking for a home for it!
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2022
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  11. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    I will - the guys in Rees are happy to have recovered it! And the municipality of Rees only allowed them to do so on the condition that it will remain in Rees to be exhibited. So, I am afraid that Gillingham (I visited the RE museum there) won't get it's hands on it...
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  12. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    It would be an interesting element in a tour of the battlefields of Operation Plunder. Does Rees have a history museum? I assume some kind of town museum in any case.
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  13. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Pass on my regards to them please and tell them well done on recovering it, it's a very unusual piece of Corps history and a joy to see. More photos when it's cleaned up please, also tell them when re-painting it it needs to be SCC No.2 Brown not Green. No British Bailey bridges were painted green during WWII and all Bailey bridges in NW Europe were British-made, there were absolutely no US-Manufactured Bailey bridges used in NW Europe between 1944 - 45. In fact there was only one US-Manufactured Bailey bridge built in all of Europe and that was in Italy. US-manufactured Bailey bridging, between 1942 and September 1944, was so badly made that it simply wasn't useful as a tactical bridging equipment. So, their panel/anchor is British and it should be painted SCC No.2 Brown. Incidentally, if there is any original paint left on the panel I'd love to see good photos of that!
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  14. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Hi Old Grit,
    thank you - I will tell them that they found something unusual! And I remembered the conversation we had on WW2talk a while ago - so when I informed them that they had a genuine British object I also informed them that the colour would need to be SCC No.2! You'll get more photos and I will ask whether any original paint survived...
    Best regards
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  15. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    For a start there are two more of the recovery:
    Pic 4.jpg

    Pic 3.jpg
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  16. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Wow, I'd love to simply run my hand over that beautiful bit of Bailey! Interesting to note that someone has gone to the trouble to add Bills/Palms to the flukes, especially as these are not in the original drawing. It shows that they had time and planning on their side when this was being manufactured in the Base Depot. These anchors were not made in Factories in UK, or elsewhere, they were always always made up at the Base Depot's as and when they were needed!
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  17. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Following up on my recent post some more pics with details:
    Bolts Kopie.jpg
    The bolts are clearly visible
    Bolts close Kopie.jpg

    Below the nuts at the bottom - a bit blurred, I am afraid...
    Nuts close Kopie.jpg
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  18. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    This is fantastic, and bolted on as per the drawing from the 21AG Technical briefing. For something that's been under water for 77 years It seems to be excellent condition! In the first instance they might want to clean it up with a power washer! I know it's nerdy but man I love this stuff!
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  19. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Here's another detail
    Palm Kopie.jpg

    State of corrosion:
    Corrosion Kopie.jpg
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  20. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    I am curious about this detail - I see a bit of chain and a steel cable. At the bottom there's something fabric-like - is this a cladding for the cable?
    Anker Ausschnitt.jpg

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