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The bridge design that helped win World War II

It’s a simple innovation that helped win a war.

The Bailey bridge changed the war
Phil Edwards is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

It’s a simple innovation that helped win a war. The above video shows how.

The Bailey bridge was Donald Bailey’s innovative solution to a number of wartime obstacles. The Allies needed a way to cross bodies of water quickly, but bombed-out bridges — or an absence of crossings entirely — made that very difficult. That was only compounded by new, heavy tanks that needed incredibly strong support.

Bailey’s innovation — a modular, movable panel bridge — solved those problems and gave the Allies a huge advantage. The 570-pound steel panel could be lifted by just six people, and the supplies could fit inside small service trucks. Using those manageable materials, soldiers could build crossings sufficient for heavy tanks and other vehicles.

Equally impressive, the Bailey bridge could be rolled across a gap from one side to the other, making it possible to build covertly or with little access to the other side. Together, all the Bailey bridge’s advantages changed bridge construction and may have helped win the war.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube.

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