I Need 60ft of Bridge!

We welcome guest writer Mike Everest back to the blog with another fabulous entry this time it’s on the infamous crossing of the Rapido river in January 1944 one of the Allies’ many attempts to breach the Winter Line in the Italian Campaign. Of course, the most important thing about all of this content is the fact that you need a 1/100 scale Bailey Bridge… of course, you do.

Here’s one the podcast sponsor “Frontline Terrain” produced earlier…

Oh, if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Paul Simon

Bridge construction and river crossing during the Second World War are major parts of the conflict. To that end, the single greatest piece of Engineering after in-car air con on a hot day is the Bailey Bridge. An astonishing foot of construction that allows the ultimate modular river crossing solution. Capable of being laid on pontoons, suspension spars, or its own perfect sense of artistic engineering excellence… the Bailey Bridge really is an extraordinary design.  

During operations in Sicily, Italy, and on into Germany, bridging actions while under fire took place. Absolutely heroic feats of engineering to be able to get large-scale bridges across the water while being machinegunned and exploded is a fresh level of hell for anyone used to dealing with their local planning applications office, or attempting to hang a painting while having their legs whacked by a toddler armed with a rolling pin. It cannot be stressed the complexity of actually laying a bridge across a body of water, which is a task in and of itself filled with difficulty… to then be shot at.

No photo description available.
Map by Gene Thorp © 2007 Rick Atkinson

The Battle of Rapido River is just one such action, where sappers from 7th, 59th, and 225th field companies built Eighty Feet of bridge in 12 hours while under constant attack. This action can be researched in detail here and at the Royal Engineers Museum at Chatham in England. Actions like this are not unique in the conflict, and the daring and heroism of the sappers who built Amazon Bridge, the Class 30 Bailey of the Rapido cannot be overstated.

Bridging the Divide – Scenarios in Flames of War

A ‘bridging under fire’ scenario in Flames of War presents an Exciting dynamic to stretch your legs tactically. I have written this scenario with some specific models and pieces in mind, but as always, the rules police won’t kick your door down if you make changes and substitutions.  


For this scenario, you will importantly need a river, preferably a wide one. I have one build from A4 sections of plasticard which takes up massive real estate on the board. Between 8″ and 12″ Inches is perfect. Achieve this with a beautiful model, or just blue cloth cut to width.


 The key part of this scenario is a modular bridge. Now, a year ago this would have been complicated but those wizards at Frontline Terrain have constructed an astonishing model of the Bailey Bridge which you can purchase here.

You will need enough Bridge spans to cover your river, which can also be placed in a modular fashion, piece by piece. This can also be done by using playing card-sized bits of cards with the words ‘footing’ written on two, and ‘span’ written on three of them.


The last important part of this triumvirate is the engineers who are going to build this thing! You will need Two platoons of combat engineers. If your chosen force has a command card for combat engineers or sappers use this for the basis of your company.  Your Engineer Sappers will be joined by an Engineer Support vehicle which can be represented by a truck, lorry, armoured tractor, or some other suitable vehicle.  

The world’s most accurate war film. Ever. Don’t @ me.

The Scenario:

Best played on a 6×4 foot board. Lay the board with the attacking armies’ river bank exactly 24″ from one edge of the board.  

  • Defender: Place two objectives 6″ back from the centre line.  
  • Defender: Begins the game with 60% of their force on the table with the remaining units placed in Delayed Reserves.  
  • Defender: Deploys first.  
  • Attacker: May deploy up to the river bank and must choose the start position for their bridge. Each turn on a successful skill test from an engineering team in the shooting phase, a section of the bridge can be built. Either place the appropriate model or playing card with the appropriate designation.

The bridge construction sequence is as follows:  

  • 1st Successful Test: Attacking side bridge footing.  
  • 2nd Succesful Test: First Span 
  • 3rd Succesful Test: 2nd Span  
  • 4th Succesful Test: 3rd Span  
  • 5th Succesful Test: Defender Side Bridge Footing.  

Winning the Battle:

Attacker: Wins if they can successfully construct the bridge AND secure an objective from turn six.  
Defender: Wins if there are no enemy teams within 8″ of an objective by turn 8 or the enemy company has broken.  

Special Rules:

  • While the support vehicle is still operational, while in command radius, it confers a re-roll to a single failed engineering test to the bridge building team.
  • In Addition to the Sapper’s Engineering tests, the company commanders may also execute engineering skill tests to complete the bridge.    
Terence Cuneo Painting | Royal engineers, Military engineering, Cassino

So there we have it, bridge that gap under fire and claim the day… simple! Nothing too it… I’ve seen a Bridge Too Far and I know contested river crossings are a piece of cake…

Bailey Bridge – doo doo doo doo doo doo
Bailey Bridge – doo doo doo doo doo doo
Bailey Bridge – doo doo doo doo doo doo
Bailey Bridge!

Until next time, keep your mustache waxed and your puttees dry!
– Dunc

3 thoughts on “I Need 60ft of Bridge!

  1. Great article and scenario! Just wanted to clarify something, you said the defender has immediate and delayed reserves but these rules are mutually exclusive so which is it?


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