I heard a story from an old engineer back in the 90’s.
After D-Day. Western US and British allied forces were getting stalled at various rivers past the landing sites. Every bridge was critical, but the Germans often collapsed them before allied forces could use them each time.
This engineer’s uncle twice removed told a story of how his unit captured a “Miraculous Bridge”. They scouted the bridge that Germans were nearly done rigging with explosives. The lieutenant ordered its taking and the entire company rushed in from the near side on foot. The Germans had a machine gun nest on the other end of the bridge. Somehow they were a bit slow to start firing. About half of the company was on the bridge when deafening explosions sounded from below in unison.
This started the slowest 2 seconds of his uncle’s life…
The entire bridge went airborne instead of collapsing. The uncle explained to him that there must have been some exactly uniform timing and uniform calibrated amount of all the explosive placements along the bridge supports underside. If they were offset by just a split second each, then the collapse would have proceeded as expected.
The uncle could see around how his entire company was moving in slow motion as the background scenery showed them in motion as if from the basket of a hot air balloon. He particularly noticed the company chaplain was kneeling, head down in prayer. He could not hear that prayer.
Then he heard and felt the crash of the entire bridge back down the supports. He heard the slow motion sound of his sergeant shouting “Charge !!!” He heard other yells from the men of his company. All of them rushing forward to the other end of the bridge. He saw the stunned Germans, unable to fire or effectively hit much against the infantry charge.
The Americans took that bridge that day.
Heavy equipment and tanks were able to cross it within the next few days.
Weeks later, they got news that particular bridge finally collapsed. Other bridges have since been rigged along side that Miracle Bridge to keep the heavy equipment, while several pontoon bridges were on either side to keep the masses of men moving toward new fronts.
I suspect the bridge is somewhere in France.
I vaguely recall the engineer retired soon after telling my team that story (or tall tail). The oil company then suffered layoffs, so I ended up in battery research, out of state, never to see those same guys again.
Internet searches for this same bridge story come up empty.
Can anyone here come up with more details on this Miracle Bridge story ??