March 07, 1945
US Troops Capture Ludendorff Railroad Bridge at Remagen
Troops of the US 9th Armored Division capture the Ludendorff Railroad Bridge at Remagen, between Koblenz and Bonn, Germany,
In early March 1945, Allied troops had reached the west bank of the Rhine River along most of the river's length, north of the city of Köln. Although most bridges spanning the river were blown up as American troops reached them, one was not. The Ludendorff Railroad Bridge at Remagen, between Koblenz and Bonn, was captured intact by troops of the US 9th Armored Division on March 7, 1945. Armored infantry fought their way across the bridge under intense enemy fire as the Germans attempted to destroy it with demolition charges. Several explosions damaged part of the bridge, but the main charges failed to fire and the bridge remained standing.
Within a week of crossing the Rhine over the Ludendorff Bridge, seven US divisions had established themselves in strength east of the Rhine. On March 17, 1945, the Ludendorff, severely damaged in the fighting ten days earlier and weakened further from the strain of heavy traffic, collapsed into the Rhine. Having crossed the Rhine, the Allied armies prepared to drive into the interior of Germany.