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Folding Boat Equipment

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Folding Boat Equipment

Canadian military engineers used two main types of bridges during the Second World War, the Bailey Bridge and the Folding Boat Equipment Mk III, which first entered service in 1939.

These folding boats could be used as:

  • a standalone ferry capable of carrying loads up to Class 5 when combined in pairs and using road bearers (also known as a "single floating bay"

  • two such ferries could be used to carry a Class 9 load
  • assembled into full bridges

According to one website:

These rafts needed a dock or landing stage at both sides of the water obstacle. Typical construction times were 20 minutes for the nearside landing stage, 40 minutes for the far side landing stage and 5 minutes for the raft. These times were doubled at night.

Scale of Issue

Each RCASC Bridging Company had a Folding Boat Equipment platoon, and these folding boats were carried in sets of three on the Lorry, 4-Ton, 6-Wheel, FBE. The Assault Platoon carried enough parts to build five Class 5 rafts as described above, while the FBE Platoon could assemble either 200 feet of Class 9 rated bridge, six Class 5 rafts, or 3 Class 9 rafts.


Photo from the New Zealand official history of a NZ bridge in Italy.


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