One Weird Bridge (Hitler Hated It!)

One Weird Bridge (Hitler Hated It!)

The press called it one of the most important events of World War II.
It was March of 1945, and the war was coming to an end. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery had been planning Operation Plunder for months; the objective was to cross the river Rhine, which would open the floodgates to invade central Germany.

By then, no one expected any German bridges to be still standing, but when American troops arrived at the resort town of Remagen on March 7, they were shocked to find just that. The Ludendorff Bridge was still there, overrun with Germans fleeing to the village of Erpel on the eastern bank.

So surprising was the sighting, that the Americans were sure the bridge would explode at any moment. Still, Brigadier General William M. Hoge disobeyed commands and ordered to move into town and capture the bridge.

A weak German defense, explosives that didn’t work, and the sheer bravery of American soldiers running towards enemy fire resulted in the taking of the bridge, which would trigger a battle between the two forces for the next ten days.

Hitler was furious and commanded the bridge to be destroyed at once, but the Americans had lined-up unprecedented artillery to protect it. In a final, desperate attempt, eleven V-2 ballistic missiles were launched, the first time they were used against a strategic target.

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  1. My fAther in law, Donald Sorenson, private in the US Army was in the first group that was planning to storm across the bridge, But German 88 artillery caught them descending the hill I to the town and most were killed. Donald survived the war without injury.

  2. Of note is the fact that Germans later on were largely ignorant of any US troops to the west – for example 12th army under Weneck just posted weak "security" force and attacked Soviets with all it got to get as many people west as they could. It was mostly Hitler and these close to him that wanted to fight US – on more tactical level Germans were escaping west towards US.

    Of note is that failure to blow the bridge rests, as many other failures, with Hitler – whom afraid of accidental premature destruction of a bridge in 1944 ordered all bridges to be destroyed only on written order – THAT is why they run for the commanding officer and WRITTEN order. Soldiers were afraid to destroy bridge to early or too late – it had to be just right or a bullet from court martial.

    Hitler order commanded demolition only when enemy was within few km (less then 10km) of the bridge. Such tight schedule and general collapse of Germany ensured that only half of explosives got to the site – to boot these were of inferior grade, people had to run around to get orders etc.

  3. A rail bridge not built to support heavy vehicles?

    Uh no.

    Ever seen the load diagram for a train bridge?

    Sherman tanks, at about 40 tons, even stacked end to end wouldn't even come close to train live load.

    The significant amount of sabotage on a fracture critical bridge, thats your culprit.

  4. When I was on holiday we drove past the site of the bridge, I casually asked my German friend "what were those random towers?"
    Oh wow.

    Glad I asked, he went on to explain about it being the last crossing point of the river and how it became a fierce battleground. Since then I have learned so much more, I just wish I had known before we drove past so I could have had a better look.

    That trip to Germany was steeped in history, from the WW1 railway bridge that was banned from being constructed to a cold War government control bunker in the mountainside.

    The true history however was that whilst we were staying there, the town we were had a planned evacuation in order to destroy an RAF bomb that had been found on a building site days before.
    The police and military patrolled the streets, ensuring that anybody who refused to leave didn't go outside, and if they did, to help them seek a safe place to go.
    There is a video on YouTube of the entire event.

  5. Well anything hitler hated I am obliged to show love, as a human. Bridges are well within the scope of hitler's hatred. Along with left testicles , yes. It is a little known fact hitler removed his own testicle staying he only need one.

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