When debating the machines and equipment that helped the allies to win the Second World War the contribution made by iconic aircraft, tanks and huge battleships are well documented, but the huge contribution made by other pieces of military engineering was equally as great, particularly to the army on the ground. One of the most significant of these and a piece of engineering which made an enormous difference to the mobility of allied troops is the Bailey Bridge.
It was the brainchild of a civil servant named Donald Bailey, whom the bridge design was, of course, named after. The simple idea of a modular bridge which could be transported in pieces in small sized military trucks and put together manually and yet could also carry vehicles as heavy as the 40 tonne Churchill tank was what made the Bailey Bridge invaluable to the Army. Indeed, the strength of the Bailey Bridge design as a strong, temporary bridge was such that it can still be found in use around the World today with companies like mabey.com/int/en who use it as the basis for their modern Bailey Bridge systems, which they supply in addition to other bridging products like long span bridges.
In under-developed parts of the World or wherever robust temporary bridging is needed, modern versions of the Bailey Bridge can be found. As an invention, it is still helping so save and change lives today, just as it did in the 1940's.
The part played by aircraft, tanks and guns during WWII is well known, but some other, seemingly more mundane equipment also played a vital role in helping to win the war too. One of the most important of these and a piece of engineering which made an enormous difference to the mobility of allied troops is the Bailey Bridge.
Invented by British civil servant Donald Bailey, who liked to create model bridges as a hobby, this relatively simple piece of equipment was later credited by Montgomery as making "an immense contribution towards ending World War II." The usefulness of the Bailey Bridge came from the fact that it required no special tools or heavy equipment at all to construct and yet it was incredibly strong and able to bear heavy loads. The wood and steel bridge sections were compact and light enough to be transported in trucks and lifted into place by hand, without needing a crane.
Among old army regiments stories of Bailey Bridges being erected in hazardous conditions and in amazingly quick times are almost legendary. Indeed, the strength of the design was such that variations on the bridge can still be seen today with companies such as Mabey Bridge who use it as the basis for their modern Bailey Bridge systems, which they offer in addition to other bridging products such as the Delta Bridge.
In far-flung parts of the World or wherever robust temporary bridging is required, modern descendants of the Bailey Bridge can be found. As an invention, the Bailey Bridge has outlasted many others that came in to existence during wartime and it is still helping so save and change lives today, just as it did by helping to bring about the end of WWII.