Bridge at Point Calava, Sicily

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The following excerpts have been taken from different references sources about the Bridge that was built by the 10th Engineers.

…… While no direct enemy fire was received when the 30th approached Cape Calava, the advance was halted abruptly where a section of the highway was blown off the face of a cliff directly above the Tyrrheian Sea and at a point where Highway 113 cut through a tunnel on the tip of the cape.

….. while the 10th Engineer Battalion began the task of restoring the highway, one of the most notable feats of engineering performed during World War II.

Stripped to the waist in heat that almost un-bearable, the engineers worked without rest literally to “hang a bridge from the sky,” as the late Ernie Pyle described the job in his book ‘Brave Men’.
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19430814 Ernie Pyle Bridge-800SOMEWHERE IN SICILY – Described by Pyle
It was an hour after daylight when I returned to the German-blown highway crater which our Third Division engineers had been working on all night.
It really didn’t look as if they had accomplished much, but an engineer’s eye would have seen that the groundwork was all laid.  They had drilled and blasted two holes far down the jagged slope.  Theses were to set upright timbers into so they wouldn’t slide down hill whne weight was applied.
The far side of the crater had been blasted out and leveled off so it formed a road across about one-third of the hole.  Small ledges had been jack-hammered at each end of the crater and timbers bolted into them, forming abutments of the bridge that was to come.
Steel hooks had been imbedded deep into the rock to hold wire cables.  At the tunnel mouth lay great timbers, two feet square, and other long pieces of timber bolted together in the middle to make them long enough to span the hole.
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Jeep traffic crossed the gap eighteen hours after the engineers started the job and within twenty-four hours the larger trucks were moving over the ledge in perfect safety.

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Read more about this amazing task at the bottom of this page  The Engineers’ War, by Ernie Pyle: Third Division 10th Engineers at Point Calava, Sicily 1943

You can also read more from our friends at World War II Today.

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