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The bridge at Remagen

The bridge at Remagen - The bridge at Remagen(Ludendorff...

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The bridge at Remagen.(Ludendorff Bridge). Engineer: The Professional Bulletin for Army Engineers 39.(Jan-April 2009): p65(5). (3029 words) Show details Author(s): Michael J. Halloran. Document Type: Magazine/Journal Bookmark: Bookmark this Document Library Links: Search for full text Full Text : COPYRIGHT 2009 U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center "We were across the Rhine, on a permanent bridge; the traditional defensive barrier to the heart of Germany was pierced. The final defeat of the enemy, which we had long calculated would be accomplished in the spring and summer campaign of 1945, was suddenly, now, just around the corner." --General Dwight D. Eisenhower After successfully breaking through the defenses at the border of Germany early in 1945, the Allied forces had one obstacle--the Rhine River--denying them access to the heart of Nazi territory. At each Allied advance, the Germans destroyed the bridges spanning the river. The Ludendorff Bridge in Remagen was often overlooked due to its location 40 miles from the front lines. Thus, it was one of the few bridges still standing on 7 March 1945. Remagen is located between Cologne and Koblenz. The Ludendorff Bridge stretched from the city of Remagen on the western bank to a 600-foot hill, known as the Erpeler Ley, on the eastern bank. The first American force to arrive at the bridge was a task force from the 9th Armored Division, commanded by Major General John W. Leonard. The task force consisted of the 14th Tank Battalion (minus Delta Company), the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, and one platoon of C Troop, 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Battalion. (1) Major Hans Scheller commanded the German forces defending Remagen and the Ludendorff Bridge. These forces included a bridge security company of 36 men led by Captain Willi Bratge, an engineer company of about 120 men led by Captain Karl
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Friesenhahn, 180 Hitlerjugend, an antiaircraft unit of 200 men, 20 men from a Luftwaffe rocket battery, 120 Eastern "volunteers," and roughly 500 civilian Volksturm. In all, the German forces amounted to roughly 1,000 men. (2) Key Factors of the Battle On 7 March 1945, Soldiers from the 9th Armored Division task force arrived at Remagen and captured the Ludendorff Bridge. The American forces won the battle by massing the effects of fire, rapidly conducting the operation, and taking the initiative. While the Germans did mass the effects of their flak guns and other available assets on the American tanks, they did not have enough firepower to overcome the American forces. Since the Germans did not integrate the effects of their fires with well-planned defensive positions, the Americans were able to reach the western banks of the Rhine River. This enabled the Americans to mass their own fires against the German units on the eastern bank. The Germans, fearing retaliation from superiors for failure to follow orders, took no initiative to improve their situation. However, had they emplaced explosives in different locations, the bridge may have collapsed. The American forces took the
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The bridge at Remagen - The bridge at Remagen(Ludendorff...

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