No invasion of the Soviet Union should be without one.
Having decided that it would be useful to add bridging troops to the German forces, I found sources quite sparse. Lots of erected bridges being crossed – surprisingly few illustrations of the gear on the back of trucks or similar.
The lightest bridges were built on inflatables, bigger bridges were built on pontoons, typically carried on trailers. Although the later examples are square-ended, it is clear from pictures of the Poland campaign that the earlier equipment included conventional ‘bow-fronted’ boats. I had bought a pack of resin boats from The Square on a whim, without a particular project in mind, and these would be suitable.
The trailer is a scratch-build inspired by Elite’s 1:35 model, but I have given it 1930s-style steel wheels (from Irregular), and I have opted to attach the boat with strips of magnabase (so that it can be represented both in the column and deployed). This is all just MDF, balsa and bits of scrap.
The bridge itself is a run of 40mm wide pre-cut bases hinged together by fabric tape. This feature is important, as I want it usable both with superimposed and cut in rivers (so the ramps need to be flexible).
I made the middle of the three boats a gap into which the pontoon from the transit model could be magnabased – really because it is easy enough to do, and is a neat little trick … but it isn’t really necessary. The top of the roadway is planked-out with strips of plastic (chopped-up blister pack) … a tedious job, but almost guaranteed to give pleasing results. I have fixed some cocktail stick sides to the middle span, but left them flush at this stage, as I’m not sure what widths I may need to accommodate on the deck (though most of my own gear is 30mm wide …)..
I’ve chosen a three boat span, of course, for reasons of scale (just as one pontoon and tow will represent the bridging train, a few inches roadway will cross major waterways in the groundscale of operational games – of course you can multiply this up to fit other representational scales!).