Plunder/Varsity: „Mysterious“ GIs in British bridgehead?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by alberk, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    In reaction to my thread „Bridging the Rhine for 12th Corps“ forum member stolpi was so kind to send me the copied version of „Royal Engineers Battlefield Tour: The Seine to the Rhine, Vol II“ (1947). On the very last page I found the following anecdote relating to „Draghunt Bridge“, a rather flimsy bridge (Folding Boat Equipment 9) across the Rhine built in the sector of 15th Scottish Infantry Division:
    There is the photo showing the situation (IWM BU 2630):
    Churchill Draghunt_bearb.jpg
    I started wondering: Why would US 3 ton lorries with US soldiers cross the Rhine in this location to enter the 12 Corps’ bridgehead? They can be seen passing in the background. A possible explanation I can come up with is this: These vehicles could be part of the so-called „land-tail elements“ or „overland echelon“ of US 17th Airborne Division. These elements had waited in their marshalling area near Issum/Kapellen and were supposed to join the airlanded elements of 17 AB Div beyond the Rhine. They could certainly reach them easily via roads leading from this bridge to the area secured by the 6 Brit AB Div and 17 US AB Div - it’s roughly a 10 or 12 km drive. Does this make sense? Or does anyone have another idea why a US contingent should enter this British bridgehead - maybe a specialized unit or special equipment?

    In case you are interested in British troops bridging the Rhine in 1945 you may want to take a look at my previous threads:

    Bridging the Rhine for 12th Corps - March 1945

    The longest Bailey bridge ever built

    Attached Files:

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  2. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    There is another mystery American appearance. In the below photo standing left of centre is a man wearing what appears to me to be a US Army helmet.
    This photo is in Post 5 by alberk on the parallel thread: Bridging the Rhine for 12th Corps - March 1945
    It is captioned: It took 31 hours to get the floating bridge ready for traffic – it was opened at at 16.30 hrs on March 25th and named „Digger Bridge“. (IWM BU 2483)

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  3. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Hello davidbfpo,
    I think he is wearing the British helmet of the type issued to parachutists, tank crews and dispatch riders... from a distance it somewhat resembled the US helmet.
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  4. ted angus

    ted angus Senior Member

    He appears in several IWM photos, He is a Royal Engineers officer; I recall I managed to obtain a para helmet and wore it in lieu of my '44 pattern turtle until we got the Kevlar helmet. So my conclusion he acquired it for comfort and it gives him easier recognition among a sea of GS hats. Ted.

    Attached Files:

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  5. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Might be an upside down M3 hand cart on top of the trailer load.

    M3A4 Utility Hand Cart
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