Military Vehicles Spotlight: Bailey Bridge

Reenactors on Original Bailey Bridge194X Jeep restored by David DorsonBailey Bridge over Grand River, Windsor, OhioPhotograph by David Dorson

Reenactors on Original Bailey Bridge
194X Jeep restored by David Dorson
Bailey Bridge over Grand River, Windsor, Ohio
Photograph by David Dorson

Bailey Bridge

  • Panel length: 10-foot-long 5-foot-high
  • Panel weight: 570 lbs
  • Floor transoms: 19-foot-long
  • Floor stringers: 10-foot-long
  • Roadbed: 12-foot-wide


The Bailey bridge is a type of portable, pre-fabricated, truss bridge developed by the British during World War II. British, Canadian, and American engineering units successfully deployed the bridges during the War.

The temporary bridges had the advantages of requiring no special tools or heavy equipment to assemble. The wood and steel bridge elements were small and light enough to be carried in trucks and lifted into place by hand, without requiring the use of a crane.

A small number of men could carry a section of Bailey bridge, enabling army engineers to rapidly span ditches or waterways in advance of the troops and material who required them. Because of the modular design, engineers were able to build each bridge as long and as strong as needed by doubling or tripling the supportive side panels and / or roadbed sections. The Bailey bridges were strong enough to support tank traffic.

To this day, Bailey bridges continue to be used in military and civil engineering construction projects to provide temporary crossings for foot and vehicle traffic.

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