Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Experimental Bridging Establishment

These photographs appear to show exercises by the Experimental Bridging Establishment, successor in 1925 to the Experimental Bridging Company, RE which in turn was set up in 1919 under the (then) Major G le Q Martel. .

In the background of the third photograph you can see one of the original RE Tanks. These were based on the Mark V** and carried a 20 ft tank bridge capable of taking a 35 ton tank. After the war the requirement for heavy tanks was dropped as the army re-equipped with the Vickers Medium (originally designated Light) tank, which weighed around 12 tons. Bridging experimentation then concentrated on the requirements of much smaller and lighter tanks and the more mobile conditions anticipated in future warfare.

The last three photographs show the RE (Royal Engineers) version of the Dragon Mark 1, which was used to deploy the 20 ft bridge.

There is another photograph of this vehicle from album one here seen loaded with the bridge. The newsreel clip in that post shows bridging operations on exercise. There is also photograph of a Vickers Light (Medium) Mk 11 carrying an 18 ft bridge here.

I need to check further but Martel commanded the RE company in the Experimental Mechanised/Armoured Force. I had always assumed this was a normal sapper company but it may be that this was a Bridging Company.

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