World War II - backdrop
When two sides fight with nothing to stop them, a clear winner emerges quickly. In reality, however, there are still obstacles between the two parties. There were two main sides in World War II during the unfortunate period last century: the Allies and the Axis.
- The United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and a few other nations made up the Allied Powers.
- Germany, Italy, and Japan were the principal Axis powers.
The Axis powers were retreating toward the end of World War II, while the Allies pressed forward against them. The Axis couldn't stand a chance against the Allies. The Allies had access to armaments that the Axis couldn't match thanks to US support. The Allies had an air force capable of going deep into Axis territory.
The Allies had an air force capable of flying deep into Axis territory and dropping bombs. Airborne bombs can do a lot of damage. However, they are never enough to truly defeat the opposing side. For a war to truly have a winner and a loser, one side must control the land. Tanks are the only way to control land, according to defence experts. Nothing else works. There are only tanks. The Axis side possessed a formidable tank known as the Tiger tank. The Allies devised a solution: the Churchill tank.
Without going into too much detail, it was absolutely monstrous. The Axis powers pulled off a neat trick here. They couldn't stand a chance against the Churchill tank. What if the Churchill tank never arrived? Europe's terrain is dotted with numerous small rivers and streams. They destroyed almost all of the bridges that crossed them. Churchill's tank weighed 36 tonnes (your average hatchback car weighs 1 ton, to give some context).
What is the best way for a tank to cross a river? No, it does not. It requires a bridge. It didn't matter if the Churchill tank existed or not without a bridge. What is the other option? Soldiers can cross rivers and streams on boats pulled by light vehicles such as Jeeps. Unfortunately, those soldiers in Jeeps would come face to face with a tank as they crossed the river. No less a tank than the Tiger tank. The only way forward was to construct a bridge. How long does that process take? At least a couple of months?
A conventional bridge is not something that any army has time for. As a result, they devised an unusual one. Bailey's bridge. A Bailey bridge resembles a Lego toy. Its main component is a rectangular structure with two 45-degree squares inside it. Pins can be used to join these pieces together. Each of these weighed no more than 250 kg. This meant that it could be raised by 6 people without the use of cranes. It also meant that it could be transported to far-flung locations in small trucks. A Baliey bridge can be built in a matter of hours by a military unit without use of cranes. It is now used by many armies all across the world. Yes, the Indian Army employs it as well. By the way, these bridges are quite strong and durable. They are capable of transporting the Churchill tank. Without delving too deeply into tragic wartime tales, the Bailey bridge allowed the Allies to use their tanks. Except for one thing, the Allied had done everything correctly.
When that missing link was observed, they were ready to use whatever else they had done correctly. You can do everything accurately, and though none of that will matter if key parts are not accomplished.