National Archives catalogue number WO 171/5455.

 

Abbreviation

906090

2 i/c
AB

Adv

Armd

Bde

BPB

Br

C

Civ

Cl
Comd

Conc

Constr

Coy

CRE

Dem

Det

Div

Engrs

Eqpt

Excl

FBE

Fd

GHQ

Imp

Locn

Maint

Mov

OC

O Gp

PC

Pl

Pnr

Pt

Rd

RASC

RE

S

Sec

Tp
Trg

u/c

Veh

Map Reference

Second-in-Command

Airborne

Advance

Armoured

Brigade

Bailey Pontoon Bridge

Bridge

Corps

Civilian

Class

Command

Concentration

Constructed

Company

Commander Royal Engineers

Demolition

Detachment

Division

Engineers

Equipment

Exclude

Folding Boat Equipment

Field

General Headquarters

Improvised

Location

Maintenance

Movement

Officer Commanding

Orders Group

Pioneer Company

Platoon

Pioneer

Point

Road

Royal Army Service Corps

Royal Engineers

Scottish

Section

Troop

Training

Under Command

Vehicle

 

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Major T. Burrowes

 

1st March 1945

Place: Field

 

Route Maint normal.

 

1230 - OC to 'O' Gp RE 8 C Tps.

 

1600 - OC recce proposed cl 9 FBE br site at VENLO.  Unable to reach site due to enemy opposition.

 

2000 - Coy 'O' Gp - Plan for building cl 9 FBE br at VENLO issued.  Work to commence first light 2 Mar.

 

2nd March 1945

0700 - OC and 2 i/c recce br site.

 

0900 - Work commenced.

 

1700 - Br open to traffic.

 

3rd March 1945

0700 - REST DAY.

 

4th March 1945

Handed over all route maint in area MEIJEL to 184 Fd Coy.  Hand over all civs & Dets of Pnrs to 184 Fd Coy.

 

5th March 1945

Completion of handover.  2 Pl worked under 224 Fd Coy in clearance of routes in VENLO.

 

5th to 6th March 1945

2300 to 0600 - Det 130 Coy Pnr & Det 209 Pnr Coy laid 300 yds Somerfeld track for Br dump at VENLO.

 

6th March 1945

1200 - Company move to VENLO.

 

7th March 1945

0900 - Took over clearance of cl 70 Route through VENLO from 224 Fd Coy.  Allotted 50 civilians, 2 cl II Dozers & 3 dumpers.  Took over maint of FBE br VENLO from 101 Fd Coy.

 

8th March 1945

Handover maint of FBE br VENLO to 101 Fd Coy.  3 Pl constr twin cl 70 40' Bailey at 906090.

 

1400 - OC recce of new cl 9 FBE proposed at BERGEN 814346.

 

9th March 1945

Clearance of cl 70 route in VENLO.  Completion of twin cl 70 brs.

 

10th March 1945

0700 - Coy moved VOELINGSBEEK for constr 600'0" cl 9 FBE.

 

1700 - Br opened for traffic.

 

11th March 1945

REST DAY.

 

12th March 1945

Trg in connecting up FB of FBE br.  Cl 70 Route through VENLO opened.

 

13th March 1945

OC recce of new Trg site on R. MAAS for FBE.

 

14th March 1945

As for 13th.

 

15th March 1945

Constr of 400'0" cl 9 br at GRUBBENFORST.

 

1400 - Commenced work.

 

1830 - Br opened.

 

16th March 1945

Trg at GRUBBENFORST on FBE - forming cut.

 

17th March 1945

Dets 130 & 209 Pnrs Coy rejoined.  REST DAY.  1 & 3 Pls & 209 Pnr Coy Det.  Det 130 Pnr Coy loading up br dump at MAASBREE.  2 Pl constr cl 12 80' SS Bailey br at 051276 (Q & ESSEN).

 

18th March 1945

2 i/c recce CONC Area at WEEZE.  1 & 3 Pls & 1 sec 209 Coy Pnrs dismantle & load cl 9 FBE at GRUBBENFORST.  2 Pl & Det 130 Coy Pnrs - REST DAY.  1 Sec 209 Pnr Coy constr of 200 yds of Somerfeld track at 8 Corps 'Main' - ISSUM.

 

19th March 1945

1 Pl complete clearance of site at GRUBBENFORST.  2 Pl constr of 90' cl 30 DS Bailey br at 015272 (Q1 & ESSEN).  3 Pl dispose of dead cattle at CONC Area WEEZE.

 

20th March 1945

Preparation for Conc.

 

21st March 1945

Coy & Dets 130 & 209 Coy's Pnr C. Conc for op TORCHLIGHT at WEEZE 946382.

 

22nd March 1945

Planning for op TORCHLIGHT.

 

23rd March 1945

Planning for op TORCHLIGHT.

 

24th March 1945

0001 - OC & traffic party mov to site.

 

0200 - Coy & Dets 130 & 209 Coys P.C. move to Marshalling Area.

 

1200 - Site cleared of small arms fire.  Work commenced on constr 1320' cl 9 FBE Br.

 

2330 - Br open to traffic.

 

25th March 1945

0600 - Br broken due to overload of vehs.

 

0630 - Commencement of repair.

 

1400 - Repair completed.  Br reopened.

 

1500 - Maint of cl 9 taken over.

 

26th March 1945

0900 - Handed over to 101 Fd Coy maint of cl 9 FBR Br.  Constr of new approach on W bank.

 

27th March 1945

0900 - Moved to WESEL in bridgehead.

 

1200 - Constr of approaches to Br built by 224 Fd Coy at 236390 by 2 Pl & Det 130 P.C.  Unit ordered to stand by to build cl 40 BPB at MR 249378 after completion of cl 40 br by 224 Fd Coy to open route.

 

1400 - OC Recce: Design to be 2 80' DS LB.  2 Landing Piers.  (Connected by 30' SS) Length of br 193'0".

 

1800 - Ninth US Army propose of drainage of canal to facilitate constr of causeway further EAST.  Design amended to:- 130' DD Bailey supported on crib piers with a 20' SS Bailey br to connect up.

 

1900 - Authority received to build original BPB.

 

28th March 1945

0100 - HQ RE 8 C Tps now mention that only a dry br can be constr.

 

0900 - Recce & layout of site commenced.

 

1300 - Br NOT now required.  8 C Tps RE order constr of cl 40 80' DS at MR 300484.  2 Pl with u/c 3 pl moved to site.

 

29th March 1945

0115 - Br complete.  Open to traffic.

 

0900 - 1 Pl take over improvement to approaches to cl 40 br at 236390.  Det 130 PC return surplus stores from MR 300484.

 

30th March 1945

0800 - Unit move to VELEN Mr 483668.

 

31st March 1945

0230 - Constr of cl 40 40' SS Bailey br at RAMSDORF MR 441665 commenced.

 

0700 - Br at RAMSDORF opened to traffic.

 

1000 to 1200 - RO 1 Recce of route BOCHOLT - RHEDE - BORKEN.

 

1500 - Coy deployed on route maint of RHEDE - BORKEN Rd.

 

 

Month and year : April 1945

Commanding Officer : Major T. Burrowes

 

1st April 1945

Place: Field

 

Moved to ALTENBURGE.

 

2nd April 1945

Route maint.  VELEN - GREVEN.  3 Pl u/c 224 Fd Coy at 960027.

 

3rd April 1945

Route Maint.  HOLTWICK - SAERBECK.

 

4th April 1945

Moved to LOTTE.

 

5th April 1945

Moved to PETERSHAGEN.

 

6th April 1945

0730 - Br commenced at PETERSHAGEN 326 ft.

 

7th April 1945

0400 - Br completed & open to traffic.

 

8th April 1945

Br maint.

 

9th April 1945

Br maint.

 

10th April 1945

Handed over br maint to 15 (S) Div.  Took over route maint from PETERSHAGEN to excl OSNABRUCK.

 

11th April 1945

Took over br maint of cl 9 & cl 40.  Dismantled FBE.

 

12th April 1945

Moved to BENNEMUHEN 345439.

 

13th April 1945

2 & 3 Pls open route at 423535.  1 Pl & Det 130 Coy PC offload vehs for use for carriage by Br Coy Eqpt.  Br open 2120.

 

14th April 1945

1 Pl & Det 130 Coy PC repair & culverting of rds at 660735 & 656585.

 

15th April 1945

Moved to 710646.  1 Pl work on culvert 660735.  2 Pl work on Imp br 709646.  3 Pl work on culvert 743656.

 

16th April 1945

1 Pl on Culvert 660735.  2 Pl work on Imp br 709646.  3 Pl on culvert 743656.

 

17th April 1945

As for 16th.

 

18th April 1945

1 Pl culvert 660735.  2 & 3 Pls Imp br 709646.

 

19th April 1945

2 & 3 Pls as for 18th.  1 Pl Br EAST of UELZEN 925898.

 

20th April 1945

Diversion of Route, South of LUNEBURG of Bailey br by cl 70 culvert, at 782079.  Moved to 824221.

 

21st April 1945

1, 2, 3 Pls & Det 130 Coy PC on Diversion & culvert.

 

22nd April 1945

As for 21st.

 

23rd April 1945

2, 3 Pls & Det Pnrs as for 21st.  1 Pl to UELZEN for work on reclassifying cl 18 br to cl 40.  Moved to LUNEBURG.

 

24th April 1945

1 Pl as for 23rd.  2 Pl work on new "Square Route".  3 Pl Culvert.

 

25th April 1945

1 & 2 Pls as for previous day.  3 Pl & Det Pnrs.  Rest & training.

 

26th April 1945

1 Pl complete task & return.

 

27th April 1945

Coy prepare for Exercise OXO.

 

28th April 1945

As above.

 

29th April 1945

Exercise OXO.

 

30th April 1945

Moved to 822223.

 

 

Month and year : May 1945

Commanding Officer : Major T. Burrowes

 

1st May 1945

Place: 822223

 

Maint of Br at LAUENBURG.  2 Pl moved to LAUENBURG.  1 Pl & 3 Pl to LAUENBURG.

 

2nd May 1945

Place: Lauenburg

 

Coy HQ & Det 130 Coy PC to new locn.  All sub-units on Br maint.

 

3rd May 1945

Place: Lauenburg

 

Br maint handed over to 7 Army Tps & all sub-units moved to new locn 008825.

 

4th May 1945

Place: 008825

 

Check Pts for PW & overhaul of G.1098 Eqpt.

 

5th May 1945

Place: 008825

 

Resting at 008825.

 

6th May 1945

Place: 008825

 

Moved to GEESTACHT - All sub-units.

 

7th May 1945

Place: Geestacht

 

Checking area for local resources.

 

8th May 1945

Place: Geestacht

 

Checking area for local resources.  Adv Party to new billet area.

 

9th May 1945

Place: Geestacht

 

Checking area for local resources.  Recce party to new billet area.

 

10th May 1945

Place: Geestacht

 

Checking area for local resources.

 

11th May 1945

Place: Bredenbek

 

Moved to BREDENBEK 3939.  1 Pl to FELDE 4336.  2 Pl to BOVENAU 365398.  3 Pl to RENDSBURG 285371.

 

12th May 1945

Place: Bredenbek

 

Camp Maint.  Recce of local Engr Resources.

 

13th May 1945

Place: Bredenbek

 

Ditto.

 

14th May 1945

Place: Bredenbek

 

New OC arrives.  Major H.A.T. Jarrett Kerr.  OC. & 2 i/c recce new permanent billet at 236328.

 

2000 - 'O' Group.

 

15th to 19th May 1945

Place: Bredenbek

 

Miscellaneous Recce:- Dems., Local Resources of KREIS RENDSBURG.  Miscellaneous RE tasks - Loading stores.  Route Maint in KREIS RENDSBURG.

 

20th May 1945

Place: Bredenbek

 

Recce of Dems in KREIS RENDSBURG.

 

21st May 1945

Place: Bredenbek

 

Ditto.

 

22nd May 1945

Place: Bredenbek

 

Ditto.

 

23rd May 1945

Place: Bredenbek

 

Ditto.

 

24th May 1945

Place: Bredenbek

 

Unit moved to new Locn - Near RENDSBURG.

 

25th May 1945

Place: Rendsburg

 

Recce of Dems in KREIS RENDSBURG.

 

26th May 1945

Place: Rendsburg

 

Ditto.

 

27th May 1945

Place: Rendsburg

 

Recce of Dems & Local Resources in KREIS RENDSBURG.

 

28th May 1945

Place: Rendsburg

 

Ditto.

 

29th May 1945

Place: Rendsburg

 

Ditto.

 

30th May 1945

Place: Rendsburg

 

Ditto.

 

31st May 1945

Place: Rendsburg

 

Ditto.

 

 

Appx J

REPORT ON CL 40 BAILEY PONTOON BRIDGE CONSTRUCTED AT PETERSHAGEN (MR 845207)

 

Ref Map : Central Europe.  Scale 1/100,000.  Sheet N3 - MINDEN.  Sheet N2 - OSNABRUCK.

 

1.  Introduction:  On 4 Apr '45, the Company was placed under command 6 Airborne Div, to construct a cl 40 bridge at PETERSHAGEN.  Work was NOT thought to begin before 1400 hrs 5 Apr 45.  The Coy on 4 Apr 45 moved to LOTTE (MR 123087) in anticipation of allotment of task to clear cl 40 routes through OSNABRUCK.

 

2.  Log.

Date

Hour

4 Apr

1700 - OC & RO2 left to visit 6 Airborne Div RE at BLASHEIM (MR 567124)

5 Apr

0200 - Coy concentrate, complete with Det 130 Coy P.C. at LOTTE.

"

0430 - OC returned to Coy.  RO 2 attached to 6 Airborne Bde for recce.

"

0745 - Coy moved via OSNABRUCK (discovered to be clear of enemy by OC on 4 Apr) to RV with 6 Airborne Div RE at RABBER (MR 455136).  1 Bailey Platoon & 1 Pontoon Platoon came under comd.

"

1245 - Coy & all attached tps moved forward to HILLE (MR 688160).

"

1530 - CRE 6 A.B. Div attached 1 Pl 257 Fd Coy 59 GHQ Tps Engrs to this unit.

"

1610 - Coy & all attached tps moved forward to MR 795200.  Stood by for order to start work.

6 Apr

0130 - Order received to commence work at first light.

"

1600 - Coy left for site.

7 Apr

0400 - Br opened to traffic.

 

3.  Design:

        (a) Information from air photographs gave the gap as 260 ft, banks 2 to 8 ft high, & current as 3 to 4 knots.

        (b) Equipment allotted consisted of one Bailey Pl, one Pontoon Pl, one Coles Crane & one semi-armoured HD 7.

        (c) Provisional design as under was used to estimate & allot Pl tasks:-

                Two 80ft 6ins DS Landing Bays.

                Two 32ft 6ins End Floating Bays.

                One 42ft 0ins Floating Bay.

        (d) Design of br as finally constructed:-

                Two 80ft 6ins DS Landing bays.

                Two 31ft 6ins End Floating Bays.

                One 42ft 0ins Floating Bay.

 

4.  Allotment of tasks.

        (a) 1 Pl

                (i) Offload stores & construct Home bank landing bay.

                (ii) Make up & cast upstream anchors.

                (iii) Construct all upstream land lines.

                (iv) Connect up Home Bank Landing & End Floating Bays.

        (b) 2 Pl

                (i) Ferry stores required for Enemy Bank Landing Bay.

                (ii) Construct Enemy bank Landing Bay.

                (iii) Connect up Enemy bank Landing & End Floating Bays.

        (c) 3 Pl

                (i) Offload stores for two End Floating Bays.

                (ii) Construct one End Floating Bay & One Floating Bay.

        (d) 3 Pl 257 Fd Coy

                (i) Construct one End Floating Bay & one Floating Bay.

        (e) Det 130 Coy. P.C.

                Construct approaches on near bank.

 

5.  Attached as Annex 1 is plan showing layout of site, marshalling area & traffic circuits for br vehs.

 

6.  Enemy opposition was encountered.  During recce for enemy bank, 15 Germans were taken prisoner.  Work was stopped for two hours because of small arms fire.

 

7.  Comments.

        (a) Current, although forecast to be only three knots, was as much as seven.  This caused great difficulty in ferrying stores & connecting up br.

        (b) 8 Corps HQ & 8 C Tps, 15 (S) Div, 11 Armd Div, 6 Gds Armd Bde & 6 A.B. Div went across in three days.

        (c) Water level rose & some anxiety was experienced, as the Landing Bay was fouling the inshore pontoon.  Traffic was NOT stopped however.  Connecting posts sheared due to faulty welding on the Floating Bay.  At this point, only two transoms were in position instead of the normal three.  It is presumed that this also played its part in these failures, as when an additional transom was inserted, no further damage occurred.

 

[Signed Charlesworth] Capt. RE.

A/O.C. 100 (R. MON) Field Company. RE.

 

 

Appx J

REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION & USE OF CL 9 FOLDING BOAT BR ACROSS RIVER ELBE AT LAUENBURG (MR 874341)

 

Ref Map: CENTRAL GERMANY L5. Scale 1/100,000.

 

1.  TACTICAL SITUATION.

        (i) 8 Corps crossed the ELBE at 0200 hrs 29 Apr '45.  1 Commando Bde had been ordered to capture LAUENBURG.  When this latter task was complete, 8 C.Tps. RE. were ordered to commence constr of a Cl 9 br at that site.  Estimated time of commencement was given as 0700 hrs 29 Apr 45 & completion ordered for 2359 hrs 29 Apr 45.

        (ii) The attack proceeded according to plan & recce parties were on the site by 0900 hrs.

 

2.  DESIGN.

        (a) The design was normal except that Mk V Pontoons were used, carrying special superstructure, instead of Trestle Bays.  Length of br was 980 ft.  The far bank presented a difficult problem as the bank rose in two parts to nine ft above water level.  (Attached is Annx 1 is sketch showing final design.)  Slope of Landing Bay was approximately one in eight, & Sommerfeld Track linking bars were threaded through the road bearers to give additional bearing.

        (b) Current was two knots.  Attached as Annex 2 is sketch showing depth of water.

        (c) Three Folding Boat Pls of a Br Coy RASC were allotted in addition to Special Pontoon parts.

 

3.  ALLOCATION OF TASKS.

        (a) 100 Fd Coy was ordered by RE 8 C. Tps to carry out the following tasks:-

                (i) Construction of br.

                (ii) Accurate measurements of br.

        (b) These tasks were sub-allotted as follows:-

                (i) 1 Pl.  Offloading & constr of twenty rafts.

                (ii) 2 Pl.  Offloading & constr of twenty rafts.

                (iii) 3 Pl.  Offloading & constr of two half floating bays, two pontoon End floating bays, three floating bays.

                (iv) HQ Pl.  Gap measurements with German theodolite, subsequently destroyed in air attack.

        (c) 1 Pl & 2 Pl were each allotted one sec 130 Coy P.C. to offload.

 

4.  Attached as Annex 3 is layout plan of site, showing marshalling & unit harbour areas.

 

5.     (a) Enemy opposition on the ground was negligible.  During constr the br was attacked on seven separate occasions from the air, the heaviest being made by some twelve low flying aircraft.  Although some casualties to personnel & vehs were caused, the br was NOT hit.

        (b) Shellfire was encountered for some three to four hours in the course of the afternoon, again with negligible effect on constr.

        (c) For detail of attacks during maint phase, see para 9.

 

6.  Attached as Annex 4 is log of work carried out by this Coy.  The br was completed & opened to traffic by 2000 hrs.

 

7.  MAINT.  Maint was carried out as under:-

        (a) 101 Fd Coy - 2000 hrs 29 Apr to 2000 hrs 30 Apr.

        (b) 100 Fd Coy - 2000 hrs 30 Apr to 1200 hrs 3 May.

        (c) Period in (b) above was sub-allotted as follows:-

30 Apr

1 May

 

 

 

2 May

 

 

 

3 May

 

2000 - 2400

2400 - 0700

0700 - 1500

1500 - 2300

2300 - 2400

2400 - 0700

0700 - 1400

1400 - 2100

2100 - 2400

2400 - 0700

0700 - 1200

2 Pl.

2 Pl.

1 Pl.

2 Pl.

3 Pl.

3 Pl.

2 Pl.

3 Pl.

1 Pl.

1 Pl.

2 Pl.

 

8.  Traffic.  Attached as Annex 5 is log of traffic passed over the br during the maint period of this coy.  In all, some six thousand vehs crossed the br.

 

9.     (a) In addition to normal failures of road bearers, below is detail of damage caused to the br.

Time

Date

Nature of Damage

Cause of Damage

Time to repair

2150

1 May

Three rafts (60ft) sunk

Low flying attack by a/c caused a veh to overturn. Three case were rescued.

1 Hour

1500

2 May

Two rafts (40ft) sunk

Raft connectors failed.

1 hr 30 mins. Difficulty in removing wreckage was encountered due to fouling of sunken boats on river bed.

        (b) In addition to the above, during the night 2/3 May, four rafts were replaced.  The fixed connectors & roadbearer lugs failed in all cases.  Roadbearer lugs failed on several other occasions.

 

10.  Comments.

        (a) It would appear that overlong span (over 500ft) Folding Boat Equipment is satisfactory only with full time & careful maint by at least one Pl of a Fd Coy.

        (b) Roadbearer lugs should be specially strengthened.  The connecting pins used between the boats & roadbearers should provide a hole for inclusion of a split pin in the same way as the Bailey Panel pin.

 

11.  Swimmers & Floating Mines.  The br was NOT attacked by swimmers during maint by this Coy.  Special precautions included:-

        (a) Boom.

        (b) Illumination of booms at night by searchlights.

        (c) Siting of anti-swimmer patrols upstream, to fire at any suspicious object.

        (d) Use of a motor boat patrol upstream, armed with five lb charges of guncotton, for improvised depth charges.

        (e) Posting men in upstream End Floating boats at night.

 

(Signed) [Charlesworth] Capt. RE.

A/OC 100 (R. MON) Field Company. RE.