In March 1945, the Allies needed help. German and Italian armies had destroyed the bridges needed to cross the Rhine River to advance into Germany. The Royal Canadian Engineers of 2nd Canadian Corps Troops came to the rescue and built Blackfriar Bridge at Rees, Germany—a Bailey Bridge that was, at the time, the longest in the world.
An engineering marvel, Bailey Bridges require no special tools or heavy equipment to assemble. Their pre-fabricated wood and steel elements are small and light enough to be carried in trucks and lifted into place by hand. Yet, they're strong enough to carry tanks. The Canadian troops built Blackfriar in two days.
Come and explore a Bailey Bridge with us! See its incredible design, appreciate its pivotal role in WWII, and try to imagine what it must have been like to build one, at night, under enemy fire.
Photocredit: Library and Archives Canada (LAC)