Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, Germany in the 1920s
Originally built during the First World War between 1916 and 1919, the Ludendorff Brücke (named after German WWI hero General Erich Ludendorff) was planned between the villages of Remagen and Erpel near Bonn to cross the Rhine connecting the Right Rhine Railway and the Left Rhine Railway allowing fast troop movements and supplies to the Westfront (WWI). In 1918 the bridge was used by the retreating German Army. After that it was barely used.
WWII changed this. The bridge had become an important railway junction, and was a target of numerous Allied air attacks. It was defended heavily, with lots of FLAK to hold the enemy off.
On March the 7th 1945, the 9th US-Armored Division took the bridge unexpectedly. German attempts to blow it up had failed and left the door wide open for the allied forces to cross the Rhine into Germany. Hitler was furious. He replaced Field Marshall Von Rundstedt with Field Marshall Albert Kesselring and demanded the ones directly responsible court-martialled. A few officers are sentenced to death and shot dead.
To recover their failure, the Germans undertake many attempts to destroy the Ludendorff Brücke with air raids, special-ops divers and even with their wonder weapon, V2 rockets launched from the Netherlands. A few of these attacks do some damage to the bridge, but not enough to destroy it. After a week the allied bridgehead on the other side of the bridge holds 25.000 men. A pontoon bridge is constructed to relieve the bridge, which is operational on the 11th of March. On the 17th of March the bridge suddenly collapses, killing 28 soldiers.
|The tunnelside of the bridge at Remagen|
|Memorial plaquettes in honor of the soldiers that fought at Remagen|
|Looking up to a bridge tower|
|One of the stone arches that is left of the bridge at Remagen|
|The steady coarse of the 78th “Lightning” Division|
|Found here in the Rhine: A 1000 kg bomb. It is supposed to have bounced off the bridge.|
|One of the towers of the “Friedensmuseum Brücke von Remagen”|
|A scale model of the Ludendorff Brücke at Remagen|
|Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defence of peace must be constructed|
Thanks to the efforts of Hans Peter Kürten, then the mayor of Remagen, the bridge towers have been turned into the Peace Museum of Remagen on 7th of March 1980. Although it is a small exhibition, it is certainly worth checking it out! Visit www.bruecke-remagen.de for more information about the museum and opening hours.