This site may load slowly at times because of the numerous images. Please reload the page if some of the images do not appear. Thank you.

Search This Site

War In Western Europe: 1944-45

American soldiers in France

The bridge at Remagen


The Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen—the last standing on the Rhine—was captured by soldiers of the U.S. 9th Armored Division on 7 March 1945, during Operation Lumberjack. Although German engineers had mined the bridge before the American approach, the fuses had been cut by two Polish engineers forcibly conscripted to the Wehrmacht in Silesia.

On 7 March 1945, soldiers of the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, led by Lieutenant Karl H. Timmermann, from West Point, Nebraska, approached the bridge, and found it standing. The first American soldier across the bridge was Sergeant Alex Drabik; Lt. Timmermann was the first officer across.

Although the bridge's capture is sometimes regarded as the "Miracle of Remagen" in U.S. histories, historians debate the strategic importance of the capture of the bridge at Remagen. General Eisenhower said that "the bridge is worth its weight in gold". However, few U.S. units were able to operate east of the Rhine ahead of the main crossings in the south, under Generals Patton and Bradley, and in the north, under Field Marshal Montgomery (Operation Plunder). Ultimately, only a limited number of troops were able to cross the Rhine before the bridge's collapse. However, the psychological advantage of having crossed the Rhine in force and in pursuit of the retreating Wehrmacht improved Allied morale while communicating disaster to the retreating Germans.

In the immediate days after the bridge's capture, the German Army Command desperately attempted to destroy the bridge by bombing it and having divers mine it. Hitler ordered a flying courts-martial that condemned five officers to death. Captain Bratge, who was in American hands, was sentenced in absentia while the other four (Majors Scheller, Kraft and Strobel, and Lieutenant Peters) were executed in the Westerwald Forest.

Soldiers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked long hours to stabilize and repair the bridge (with American combat troops stationed to guard the bridge sometimes shooting out their worklights to minimize visibility of their position to the enemy). To increase traffic capacity, the engineers also laid pontoon bridges upstream and downstream of the Ludendorff Bridge. However, despite the best U.S. efforts, on 17 March 1945, ten days after its capture, the Bridge at Remagen succumbed to the cumulative damage from German bombing and collapsed, killing twenty-eight soldiers of the Army Corps of Engineers. However, because the pontoon bridges and other secured crossing points had supplanted the bridge, its loss was neither tactically nor strategically significant. Still, the Ludendorff Bridge remained important as the first point at which Allies crossed the Rhine.

 American soldiers fight on the streets of a German city

 American soldiers in Netherlands

 Fighting in Normandy. 1944

 A Canadian soldier with a captured German. Were the Canadians as bad as the Russians in the way they treated German soldiers?

 Street fighting in Aachen, Germany

 American soldiers in Italy

 An American soldier uses a bazooka to blast a German tank. Normandy

 An American soldier uses German grenades

Related: Germans March Into Western Europe: 1940

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This


Post a Comment

You Might Like These....

Search This Site

Popular Articles On This Site

More History Sites

Illustrated History

A Lousy Journalist?

A Lousy Journalist?
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana

History Quotes

May 1945 - If hell on earth existed, than it existed in Prague after May the 5th. 1945. Old men, women and children were beaten to death and maimed. Rapes, barbaric cruelties, horror-scenarios of hellish proportions - here they had been let lose.

- Ludek Pachmann, Czech Chess-Grand Master and publicist, forty years after the fact.

Copyright Issue

All the images on this site have been uploaded from the internet. Their copyrights lie with the respective owners.

If inadvertently any copy-righted material is published on this site, the owners of the material may contact us at We will remove the relevant portion immediately


"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.


HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
-- Ambrose Bierce

We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.


"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past."

"Patriotism ruins history."

Snippets from History

This short but important battle played a key role in the decision to use atomic bombs when attacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The battle showed just how far Japanese troops would go to defend their country.

Snippets From History

Paulus didn't give the order to 6th Army to surrender, but his troops no longer had much fight left in them. Resistance faded out over the next two days, with the last die-hards finally calling it quits. One Red Army colonel shouted at a group of prisoners, waving at the ruins all around them: "That's how Berlin is going to look!


History is Philosophy teaching by examples.


"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
-- George Santayana

Points to Ponder: Why Is China Unstable?

The aim of individuals in any society is money and power. Societies that give equal chance to all its members to get them will be the most stable. That is why democracies are more stable than other systems of governance.

China after Deng's reform gave the chance to get rich but power is in the hands of an elite; the Communist Party of China. Membership to the party is at the whims of the local party bosses. This leaves out many people who crave political power dissatisfied and disgruntled. There in lies the roots of instability. The Party suppressed these demands once at Tiananmen in 1989. But force is hardly the way to deal with things like these.

READ MORE: Tiananmen Square Massacre