Cuneo’s painting, Bridging the Rapido at Monte Cassino depicts
the British Royal Engineers' launch of an 80ft Class 30 Bailey bridge,
built under constant fire on the night of the 12-13 May 1944.
a complete account of the battle, click here.
Written by Lieutenant-Colonel A.P. deT. Daniell, M.C., T.D.,
R.E., the account has been reproduced from The Royal Engineers Journal.
For more information about the Royal Engineers, visit their website
panel bridge systems have proud and historic roots in one of the
major inventions of World War II. The Mabey Universal®
and the Mabey Compact 200® are modern,
heavy-duty versions of the old Bailey bridge.
During the months preceding World War II, new tanks were developed
that weighed up to 35 tons, such as the M3 Grant and M4 Sherman
tanks. This heavy equipment posed problems for an engineer force
that had just replaced its Civil War-era 7 1/2-ton pontoon bridges
with 10- and 20-ton-capacity bridges. Sir Donald Bailey, of
Britain's Royal Engineers, designed the Bailey bridge in 1940 to
meet this new requirement. Production began in July 1941, and
by December 1941, the Bailey bridge was with the troops. The production
figures are staggering; a total of over 490,000 tons of Bailey bridge
was manufactured, representing 200 miles(320 Km) of fixed bridges
and 40 miles (64 Km) of floating bridges.
American and British generals have sung its praises as one of the
key factors in the Allied victory. Indeed, Britain's Field
Marshal Bernard Montgomery wrote in 1947, "Bailey bridging
made an immense contribution towards ending World War II.
As far as my own operations were concerned, with the Eighth Army
in Italy and with the 21 Army Group in Northwest Europe, I could
never have maintained the speed and tempo of forward movement without
large supplies of Bailey bridging." Likewise, General
Dwight D. Eisenhower considered the Bailey bridge one of the three
most important developments of the war effort, on a par with radar
and the heavy bomber.
Mabey's modern panel bridge systems are used in both military and
civilian functions. The Mabey Compact 200®
is deployed in hot spots around the world as Line of Communication
(LOC) and emergency relief bridging, while DOT's across the United
States turn to the Mabey Universal® to
keep traffic moving during bridge rehabilitation and repair.
Mabey's commitment to continuous improvement has resulted in bridge
systems that carry heavier loads, while delivering increased stability
and faster erection times. To find out more about Mabey's
modern bridging systems, call 800-426-2239, or e-mail us at
find out more about Mabey's military bridging click
painting, which captures in vivid detail the launch of a Bailey
bridge during the Battle for Cassino in May 1944, hangs in the Royal
Engineers Museum in Chatham, England. Terence Cuneo, one of
Britain's best known military artists, was himself a Sapper
in the Royal Engineers during World War II. He died in 1996.