We are looking here upon a fine example of a very necessary device of warfare- the pontoon bridge. On rivers and streams where no permanent bridges exist or where they have been destroyed, pontoon bridges are usually the only means for crossing an army, and every well-equipped army carries with it a large train of pontoon boats, together with the planks and timbers for making the roadway. In the hands of man trained to the work a pontoon bridge can be laid in a surprisingly short time, even under fire, and such bridges of boats have even been used since very ancient times.

Improved types of pontoon bridges, like the one before us, played a very important part in the World War. The Russians, the Germans and the Austrians all used them extensively in crossing the large rivers of Poland and Galicia during the many advances and retreats on the Eastern front. At the battle of Mons, Belgium, in August, 1914, the British artillery wrecked several pontoon bridges by which the Germans sought to cross the Mons-Code Canal, inflicting heavy losses and greatly delaying their advance. Many such bridges were laid by both sides during the first battle of the Marne, aiding the armies to cross that difficult stream where the permanent bridges had been blown up. During October and November, 1918, American engineer troops showed the utmost gallantry in throwing pontoon bridges and foot bridges across the Meuse River under terrific German fire, thus enabling the American divisions to reach the east side of the stream in pursuit of the retiring Germans.