Pegasus Bridge: how would it be taken today?

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by Bravo_Bravo, Jun 27, 2005.

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  1. My idle mind has been wandering.. as many will know, the capture of Pegasus Bridge by gliderborne Ox and Bucks troops was pivotal to the success of D Day - it secured two vital crossings across the Orne canal so denied a major route to the German reinforcements.

    The action had to be done swiftly, lest the bridges get blown and so needed as near to complete surprse as possible. It was done with stunning success.

    Obviously we no longer use gliders as a method of inserting troops - how would we do it now?

    FFS dont make this the start of a "para drop" vs. "Yokel with SAA shoots down the Herc" bunfight - all constructive contributions welcomed.

  2. The River isn't actually that wide so you may well find that it would be deliberately blown and then Bridged later. The other point is as warfare is unlikely to be conducted on that scale for the forseable future comparisons on the scale effort required vesus the troops available are largely nugatory.

    Simple answer would be to leave it and find another way.
  3. Had to give a presentation on exactly this for our Battlefield Tour last year - conclusion we came to (with a PARA CSM as part of the syndicate) was an asslt pretty much exactly the way they had planned it but with Helicopters rather than Gliders. Would have had to create a hell of a lot of noise close by to disguise heli approach but opinion all round was that it was absolutely do-able.

    Incidentally, met a few of the guys who had been involved in the Pegasus Bridge action on D-Day - awesome. To all outward appearances just old guys with a maroon beret but we got them into conversation and to hear them downplay their part was very humbling.
  4. The way I see it you have two choices:

    a) A heliborne assault with a diversion to disguise the noise.


    b) A HALO drop if surprise is essential.

    Not sure if HALO is feasible for the amount of troops required. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
  5. Non-persistent nerve agent followed up by helicopter assault...No, it isn't UK doctrine but you didn't state that in the opening post!

    If UK doctrine mandatory, then helo assault but be prepared for casualties. Diversionary noise not necessary - just go in hard and fast with gunships ahead of the slicks...oh damn I've made myself a bit moist!! :twisted:
  6. We explored that option - using arty for diversion increased risk to own tps. However, biggy was the risk of the German Tps losing their bottle and blowing the bridge so keeping them in a state of confusion was considered vital.
  7. Only problem with helo / Apache option is that they are bloody noisy.

    I've just done Eagle's Strike with 16 AA and although there is no doubt that they can deliver awesome levels of firepower, the element of surprise would have been lost ( even if we did not set fire to the HLS blush blush ) - as the area around Pegasus Bridge is pretty flat. Gliders are pretty near-silent. Even when landing ( Glider 1 was 47 meters from the bridge? Outstanding feat of airmanship ) the Germans thought the crash was just bits of a shot-down bomber falling to earth.

    UK Doctrine a pre-requisite, btw - nice idea, though...

    I'm with Cuddles on this one - the first thing to leap into my small brain was Non Persistent Nerve or Blood strike...


    ...followed up by large scale heliborne assault...


    ...with bags of Air and Avn in support...


    Secure the objectives and have an armoured reserve rocking on its sprockets in the rear...


    ...acting as the immediate Fmn reserve and the primary means of exploiting and expanding the close/deep interface.

    Job done - and still plenty of time to get home, watch the footy and collect tea and medals.


    Well, perhaps not the medals, given current turnaround times... :D
  9. why cant we use chemical weapons ? weve been training for years in nbc
    and as noone else seems to use them why not us :lol:
  10. to capture the bridge now I would do the following:

    1. Put on suit, Regi tie and medals
    2. Sign for a mini bus
    3. Get on a Ferry
    4. Get off ferry, drive to bridge
    5. Get off the mini bus at the objective

    Resistance would be limited to the old lady in the gift shop.

    Job done.
  11. Soft b*stards. Just walk up to the bridge and tw@t 'em.

    Failing that some kind of plan where we all dress up as washer women?
  12. As we now operate in coalition ops, the following would happen.

    1. Massive US-led bombing campaign, using fuel-air explosives and all sorts of nasties.

    2. Bridge is assaulted with overwhelming force and taken quickly.

    3. A statue is pulled down and everyone has a party. POTUS lands on an aircraft carrier - "Mission Accomplished".

    4. Most troops and armour go home.

    5. Yanks lock up a few locals in a prison and photograph their torture and humiliation.

    6. Yanks shoot up a few cars full of women and kids.

    7. Local army disbanded and sent home with no money to their trashed homes.

    8. No plan for rebuilding or reconstruction - locals get upset.

    9. Insurgency begins.

    10. 10 years later - ?!?!?
  13. Just turn up with a few welders and a low loader - jobs a goodun! :wink:
  14. I still think that there would be a problem with an Helo assault - they are just too noisy and the bridge would have been blown long before the troops left the airframe. Dropping off and tabbing in from 5-10k would be an option, as long as they did not bump into any roaming patrols....

    The canal is fairly wide: would it make sense to blow the bridge with Cruise, denying it as an MSR and when needed, use a bridgelayer?

  15. One of those damned if you do, damned if you don't situations B_B. Remember these were the first guys on the ground. If situation was the same, would the 5-10K in enemy held territory (very heavily enemy held at that!) be a realistic option. We didn't think so but maybe it would work with smaller groupings.

    All those who suggest blowing the bridge and re-bridging later are forgetting that we want our armour in first. As warry as your average Cbt Engr is, I'm sure the Germans would not be terribly worried at the thought of a Sqn of AVLBs leading the vanguard.