Bailey Bridge

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Construction of a bridge from Bailey girders and pontoons over the Rhine as part of Operation Plunder , March 25, 1945

The Bailey Bridge is a war, emergency or makeshift bridge that can be assembled from pre-assembled individual components such as lattice girders and road beams . It does not require any special equipment or devices for construction, can be transported by truck and can carry the heaviest loads up to tanks. Originally developed for the military sector, it is also used in the civil sector for temporary bridging.


Bailey bridges can be built with relatively little effort and are therefore not only used by the military around the world, large aid organizations also use Bailey bridges. They are also known as bridge devices or pioneer bridge devices. Thus, the subject bridge of THW in addition to the D-bridge , the Bailey bridge in use.

In Germany , 2360 t of elements for Bailey bridges are also held in federally owned bridge stores; this corresponds to a total length of around 790 meters. The segments consist of steel framework . In 2016, 12% of federal bridge equipment consisted of Bailey elements, measured by weight. A withdrawal is not planned.


The original development began in Germany, the main further development took place in Great Britain during World War II . Donald Coleman Bailey , an army worker who had model bridges for his hobby, suggested this construction method to his superiors. The first bridges were ready for use in 1944.

Bailey Bridges were built when the war was over

Bailey bridges in recent times:

  • Temporary bridge in Glashütte (Saxony) , built after the Elbe flood in 2002 by the THW Müllheim and THW Pfedelbach.
  • George W. Bush Bridge , Liberia (2006)
  • Temporary bridge in Judenburg during the construction of the new Mur bridge (2009-2010)
  • Temporary bridge in Kirnitzschtal after the 2010 flood, built by the THW Dresden (built 10/2010, in operation until 09/2012)
  • Temporary bridge in Eisenach (Thuringia) - Grabental, replacement for damaged road bridge, since 2008
  • Unstrut bridge at the Zeddenbachmühle near Freyburg (Unstrut) , built in 1996. In 2016, the superstructure was dismantled for overhaul and then reinstalled on new abutments.
  • Juba Bridge , the only bridge over the Nile in South Sudan .
  • July 2019 Overbuilding of the endangered bridge on the Hammer Canal in Esslingen am Neckar by several THW local associations

For other purposes

The launch tower for the launch of the Skylark missiles in Woomera , Australia was assembled from segments of Bailey bridges.


The individual components have a maximum weight of 259 kg and can also be transported on smaller vehicles. There are three Army standard sizes for Bailey bridges in the United States called M1, M2, and M3.

Bailey bridges are technically obsolete today, but a number of other bridge devices are used, such as the Z bridge or the SBG 66 bridge device.



  • Peter Steinmüller: The bridge as a system , in: VDI nachrichten No. 50/51 / 52-2016 of December 16, 2016, p. 26f, online
  • Hans Oehme: The Bailey bridge device In: ZS-Magazin , No. 12, 1972, p. 18 (PDF; 26.6 MB)

Individual evidence

  1. , accessed on March 8, 2012
  2. Peter Steinmüller: The bridge as a system , in: VDI nachrichten No. 50/51 / 52-2016 of December 16, 2016, p. 27, here:
  3. Patton Bridge on
  4. Report on the bridge dismantling on , accessed on 11 December 2012
  5. Message in the Kyffhäuser Nachrichten
  6. Article in the Naumburger Tageblatt , accessed on September 5, 2018
  8. Peter Steinmüller: The bridge as a system , in: VDI nachrichten No. 50/51 / 52-2016 of December 16, 2016, p. 26, here: