Bailey Bridge Across Sarre Was Built in Blood and Sweat
By Ralph G. Martin Stars and Stripes Staff Writer 

   WITH CO "A," 150th ENGR. COMBAT BN., Dec' 18.- The first Bailey Bridge across the Sarre River may look like just another bridge to a jeep riding Joe, but it's going down into XII Corps Engineering history books as one of the toughest jobs of the campaign. That's not because it was built under day and night artillery fire from 150s and 88s, or because of casualties. Other bridges have been built under those conditions. But here, added to everything else, was the technical problem of a short, sharply curving bridge approach. "It was by far the toughest Bailey Bridge job I've seen," said 1st Lt. Joseph McGlinchey, of Pittsburgh, Pa., company CO, whose outfit has built nine Baileys since the push started. Was Treadway Job The first bridge across the Sarre was a treadway job, built 12 hours earlier by Fourth Armored Div. engineers. 
   To build the Bailey Bridge, buildings on the river bank were blasted and rubble bulldozed away. Germans on the opposite bank swept the area with artillery fire. "I wish the doughfeet could know the amount of blood and heartache that went into this bridge," said S/Sgt. George McBrien, of Springfield, Mass. "I was just getting ready to blow one house up with TNT when 88s started plopping in, and I saw one land smack between two buddies just in front of me," said Pvt. Joe Larry, of Shinston, W. Va. "It's tough never knowing when a shell will have your number on it, and not a damn thing you can do except sweat," said S/Sgt. Edward Vose, of Putnam, Mass.


 
 
River: Sarre River
Location: Sarreinsming, France
Date: 10 Dec 44
Length: 160' DS Bailey
bridge pic
River: Sarre River
Location: Sarreinsming, France
Date: 10 Dec 44 2340 Hours
Length: 160' DS Bailey
Intermediate support, reinforced where FA damaged panels during construction.
Completed after 30 hours continuous FA fire controlled by observer on far bank.

Click on picture to see more

bridge pics
River: Sarre River
Location: Sarreinsming, France
Date: 10 Dec 44 2340 Hours
Length: 160' DS Bailey
View looking upstream from far bank.
Co. Commander & Kimball hit by shrapnel
2130 preceding day

Click on picture to see more

bridge pics
River: Sarre River 
Location: Sarreinsming
Date: December 11, 1944
Length: 160' DS Bailey
DD Bailey was applied to side
opposite the damaged panel for
balance.
bridge pictures
River: Sarre River
Location: Sarreguemines, France
Date: 15 Dec 44 1050 Hours
Length: 110' TD Bailey
1 of 5 bridges the Bn put across the Sarre River in 2 weeks time.
 



 
 
 
 

A then and now picture. 
Thanks to Benoit Lorang, a visitor from France.
Click on this image to see another picture of this bridge.
 
 
 
 

bridge picture


bridge pictures Click for larger view
River: Sarre River
Location: Sarreguemines, France
Date: 15 Dec 44 1050 Hours
Length: 110' TD Bailey

Click on picture to see more

bridge pictures
bridge pictures
bridge pictures

Thanks to Benoit Lorang a visitor from France for this picture. It is amazing how it still looks very similar.
Authors note, the Suice Gate is also known as a Lock.

 
Thanks to Benoit Lorang a visitor from France for these pictures.
On the left is a scanned postcard, that shows the bridge in the 1950s : according to a visitors father, it is a Bailey bridge that was improved (reinforced) after the war.

The right was taken in winter 1942 or 1943; on the left, you can see a heap of ground, on which the previous bridge started; it was blasted by the French in 1940. The Germans built another one instead, but it was blown off by a Sarre flood after a couple of months. They built then the one on this picture; that was the last one before the 150th came to Sarreguemines.

Click on either picture to see an enlargement of it.
Thanks to Benoit Lorang a visitor from France for these pictures.

bridge pictures Click for larger view
bridge pictures Click for larger view
Click on a link below to see Sarre River bridge as it is now.
1. Sarreguemines, Sarre River Nov '98 #1
2. Sarreguemines, Sarre River Nov '98 #2
3. Sarreguemines, Sarre River Nov '98 #3
4. Sarreguemines, Sarre River Nov '98 #4

 
HEADQUARTERS
1135TH ENGINEER COMBAT GROUP
APO 403
U.S. ARMY
12 December 1944
SUBJECT: Commendation.

TO :   Lieutenant Colonel Bruce W. Reagan, Commanding Officer, 150th Engineer Combat Battalion, APO 403, U. S. Army.

    1. It is a pleasure for me to commend you and the officer and men of your battalion, for the superior manner in which you supported the Corps advance in the many difficult operations you have successfully completed.

    2. Not only has the work of your command been superior in nature, but it was essential to the advance of the 4th Armored, 26th Infantry and 35th Infantry Divisions. The bridging operations across the Sarre River were particularly creditable in that despite observed artillery and small arms fire you were able to successfully complete your missions.

    3.  It is gratifying to me as it is to you, that the technical skill and the superior morale of your battalion enabled you to support each division individually with its first bridge across the Sarre River, despite weather, blackout and enemy action, have amply proven, as I have known for a long time, that your battalion willingly undertakes any assigned missions and completes it.

    4. It is my wish that you extend to each individual of your command my personal appreciation for the work accomplished. I am confident that during the forthcoming operations you and your battalion will continue to execute your assigned missions in the same superior manner.

/s/ Charles Keller, Jr.
/t/ CHARLES KELLER, JR.
Colonel, 1135th Engr. C Group
Commanding. 
1st Ind.

HEADQUARTERS 150TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION, APO 403, U.S. ARMY, 13 Dec. 1944

To:   All Officers and men of the 150th Engr. Combat Bn.

    1. It gives me great pleasure to convey the Group Commander's commendation to you and I desire to add my personal appreciation for the splendid manor with which you have successfully accomplished assigned missions.

     2. The construction of the bridges at Fenetrange, Sarrawerden, Sarreinsming and Bendendorf by your companies with such noticeable speed and efficiency have not only proven a compliment to your professional skill but have been invaluable assets to the advance of the Fourth Armored, 35th Infantry and 26th Infantry Divisions.

/s/ Bruce W. Reagan
/t/ BRUCE W. REAGAN
Lt. Col., C.E.
Commanding

 
HEADQUARTERS
60TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION
APO35        US Army
PB/DGR
28 December 1944
SUBJECT: Commendation.

To : Commanding Officer, 150th Engineer Combat Battalion, APO 403    US Army

THRU: Commanding General, 35th Infantry Division, APO 35     US Army
THRU: Commanding Officer, 1135 Engineer Combat Group, APO 403    US Army

    1. I take this opportunity to personally express to you and to the officers and men of your battalion my appreciation for the fine manner in which your unit supported this battalion in the Saare River crossing operation.

    2. During this entire difficult operation, the officers and men of your battalion conducted themselves in a manner which is especially commendable. The construction of the bailey bridge under observation of the enemy and under direct fire at SARREINSMING was a feat of which you can be justly proud. It was marked by repeated instances of individual and group heroism, and your display of leadership was an inspiration to all who worked with you.

    3. Please extend my appreciation to the officers and men of your unit for a job well done, and my wish for continued success.

/s/ Philip Botchin
Lt. Col.    CE
Commanding

1st Ind                                                                  PWB/w
HQ 35th INF. DIV, APO 35, U.S. Army, 1 January 1945.

TO: Commanding Officer, 150th Engineer Combat Battalion, APO 403, U.S. ARMY. (THRU: CO, 1135th Engineer Combat Group, APO 403, U.S. Army).

It is my pleasure to forward this commendation.

/s/ Paul W. Baade
/t/ Paul W. Baade
Major General, U S A
Commanding

2nd Ind

HEADQUARTERS, 1135TH ENGINEER COMBAT GROUP, APO 403, U.S. Army, 5 January 1945.

TO: Commanding Officer, 150th Engineer Combat Battalion, APO 403, U.S. Army.

    It is a pleasure to forward the attached commendation of the work performed by you and your battalion during the construction of the bridge at Sarreinsming. The courage and devotion to duty exhibited by the officers and men of your command are in accordance with the highest traditions of this group and the Corps of Engineers.

\s\ Charles Keller Jr
\t\ Charles Keller Jr
Col., 1135th Engr. C Gp.
Commanding

Email: Click here for email
Back buttonBack to River Crossing page