British Army Outperforms American Counterparts in NATO Bridge-Building Exercise in Poland

British Army Outperforms American Counterparts in NATO Bridge-Building Exercise in Poland

In a recent NATO exercise held in Poland, the British Army showcased superior efficiency and speed in a bridge-building war game, significantly outpacing their American counterparts.

This event, part of a larger series of NATO drills, saw the UK setting a new record time for the exercise, highlighting the effectiveness and readiness of their engineering units.

The Wager Between Commanders

Major Ryan Ingram, the commanding officer of the 23 Amphibious Engineer Squadron, revealed that there was an informal challenge between the British and American teams.

The wager focused on who could establish a river crossing more quickly, and the British soldiers easily emerged victorious. This friendly competition underscored the high stakes and intense preparation both sides brought to the exercise.

The Challenge of the Drawa River

The specific task involved crossing a 156-meter stretch across the Drawa River in western Poland.

The British troops, utilizing their M3 amphibious rig, an impressive 24.5-ton truck that transforms into a floating platform, managed to create a makeshift ferry crossing in an astounding 18 minutes.

This achievement not only set a new standard but also demonstrated the British Army’s capability in rapid deployment and logistical management under pressure.

American Efforts and Comparison

In contrast, the American forces took significantly longer to accomplish the same task. They assembled a ribbon bridge, a floating bridge designed to transport heavy military machinery, but their efforts took an hour.

This delay highlighted the difference in approach and equipment efficiency between the two armies.

By the time the Americans had their bridge ready, the British had already begun transporting vehicles across the river, utilizing their ferries to swiftly move weaponry and equipment.

Efficiency in Crossing

Despite encountering a minor issue with one vehicle struggling to board the bridge, the British forces maintained their pace, achieving seamless transportation of military vehicles.

Each crossing took just 45 seconds, showcasing not only the efficiency of the M3 amphibious rig but also the exceptional coordination and skill of the British soldiers.

Reflections from Major Ingram

Major Ingram, speaking to The Telegraph, expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the wager. He emphasized the importance of speed and precision in such exercises, noting, “The maths never lies.

It’s been a wager between me and my US peer with regards to which one is faster. So far, I’m winning and I haven’t lost a round this week.”

This light-hearted competition brought an additional layer of motivation and camaraderie among the troops.

Serious Implications of the Exercise

Despite the competitive spirit, the seriousness of the exercise was not lost on the participants. The scenario simulated in Poland has real-world parallels, particularly in conflict zones like Ukraine, where prolonged river crossings can expose forces to significant danger.

Major Ingram highlighted that in actual combat situations, the ability to quickly establish a ferry crossing could be a decisive factor, reducing the time troops are vulnerable to enemy fire.

Scope of the Joint Exercise

The two-week joint exercise in Poland involved a substantial deployment of forces from the UK, Poland, and the US. Nearly 2,400 UK soldiers and 1,105 British vehicles participated, working alongside their Polish and American counterparts.

This large-scale operation aimed to enhance interoperability among NATO allies and ensure that each nation’s military could effectively collaborate in real-world scenarios.


The British Army’s performance in the NATO bridge-building exercise in Poland has set a new benchmark for speed and efficiency in military engineering.

The friendly wager between the British and American teams added an element of excitement, but the underlying purpose remained clear: to prepare for the realities of modern warfare.

As tensions continue in regions like Ukraine, the lessons learned from these exercises are invaluable, underscoring the critical importance of rapid deployment and logistical prowess in military operations.