German pioniers used a variety of boats for river crossing and to make bridges.
Types of Boats
Characteristics of Boats
Type Length Width Weight Capacity Construction Speed
Small Pneumatic Boat 9ft 10 in 3ft 9in 116 lbs 3 men or 660 lbs Rubber -
Medium Pneumatic Boat 18ft 6ft 1in 330 lbs 7 men or 1.35 tons Rubber -
Large Pneumatic Boat 26ft 9ft 9in 637 lbs 13.5 tons Rubber -
Motor Boat 23ft 6ft 7in 2 tons 6 men or 1.7 tons Steel 7 knots
Assault Boat 19ft 9 in 5ft 2in 475 lbs 9 men Wood 15 knots

The Pneumatic boats can all be used to make quick bridges. This is done by laying pre-made walkways or roadways across the moored boats. The Medium boat is also used for rafts. Two boats make a 2.25 tons raft, 4 a 4.5 ton and 6 make a 9 ton raft. Types of Bridges
Characteristics of Bridges
Type Normal Load Normal Length Max Load Lenght for Max Load Width Construction
Pontoon Bridges
Czeck 8.2 tons * 16.5 * 8 ft Steel pontoons & Wood decking
C (light) Foot traffic * 5.9 tons * 8 ft 6 in for Max load Aluminum pontoons & Wood decking
T (medium) 4.5 tons * 11 tons * 8 ft 6 in Timber pontoons and decking
B (heavy) 4.5 tons 400 ft 20 tons 170 ft 8ft 6 in Steel or Alloy and Timber decking
Fixed Bridges
K (box girder) 27 tons 31,47 or 63 ft - - ? Steel
Z (light sectional) 33 tons 147 ft same 172 with bracings 12 ft Steel
J 42(box girder) 60 tons ? 16 ft 6 in per section same up to 4 sections=64 ft 13 ft 9 in Steel

* Most pontoon bridges may be any length depending on the amount of bridging equipment on hand. The type B Heavy bridge is the standard divisional bridge and the lengths are given for the total amount usually on hand in a division. While the load limits of the pontoons can be increased by adding more pontoons per section of bridge, the fixed bridges cannot normally be strengthend.

The type B bridging column consists of 16 half pontoons (8 whole pontoons), 8 trestles, 2 ramps, 8 shore transoms, 8 crossing rails, 6 assault boats, 1 motor boat, 20 small rubber boats, 24 large rubber boats.

The pontoons can also be used to build ferries; 8 of 4 tons, 4 of 8 tons, 2 of 16 tons or 1 of 20 tons.

The first step of a bridging operation is the selection of the site. This will be done by a member of the Pionier Btl. or the Divisional Chief Engineer. The Site selections should take into account security, accessability, available material, and of cousre the general conditions of the advance (or retreat). Pioniers will begin by bringing up large and small rubber boats and establishing a bridgehead on the far bank. Once a bridgehead is established the rubber boats will be used to set up foot bridges

Assembly of the bridge begins with the ramps at both ends being erected. Then the shore transoms are attached and the bridge extended as far as possible. Ferries of the appropriate weight limit are then assembled and towed by one of the boats into line with the bridge. They are then attached with transitional sections to the fixed part of the bridge. The ferries are attached from both shores moving toward the center of the stream.

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