Remagen Bridge

Remagen Bridge 2016
Remagen Bridge 2016

The story of Remagen Bridge is one of the iconic moments of the last months of the Second World War. By March 1945 the German Army was in full retreat with American and British forces pushing from the West and Russian troops advancing in the East.

Remagen Bridge March 1945 (NARA)
Remagen Bridge March 1945 (NARA)

As the final advance on the river Rhine began the German began to blow all the bridges and it seemed an amphibious operation would be needed to get across. However Task Force Engemen from the US 9th Armored Division reached the high ground above the Rhine on 7th March 1945 to find the Remagen Bridge intact with Lieutenant Karl Timmermann relaying the information back and later being credited as being the first American soldier across the Rhine. A battle for the town and bridge followed and as American troops were on the bridge, the Germans tried unsuccessfully to destroy it. Remagen Bridge was now in American hands and it became the major route across the Rhine. It was then attacked by planes, and also V2 rockets were fired at it, but the bridge collapsd at 3pm on 17th March 1945. By this time over 25,000 men had crossed. Alternative crossing points were then established close by.

Eastern towers at Remagen March 1945
Eastern towers at Remagen March 1945 (NARA)

The railway bridge was never rebuilt after the Second World War but the main towers were not demolished either so today there is a lot to see on the Remagen battlefield. The western towers are now are now the Remagen Peace Museum, which has a lot of interesting photos and artefacts. There is a regular ferry across the Rhine at Remagen and you can then go and see the eastern bank towers and railway tunnel. You can then also drive or hike up to the high ground above the eastern towers and have a spectacular view over the Rhineland here. Remagen town has some good restaurants and quite a few buildings which appear in WW2 period photos.

Eastern towers Remagen 2016
Eastern towers Remagen 2016

Remagen is only a short drive from battlefields like the Siegfried Line and Hurtgenwald forest.

 

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