The Ludendorff Bridge was in early March 1945 one of two remaining bridges across the River Rhine in Germany when it was captured during the Battle of Remagen by United States Army forces during the closing weeks of World War II. Built in World War I to help deliver reinforcements and supplies to the German troops on the Western Front, it connected Remagen on the west bank and the village of Erpel on the eastern side between two hills flanking the river.
The Rhine is a European river that begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps, forms part of the Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-German and then the Franco-German border, then flows through the Rhineland and eventually empties into the North Sea in the Netherlands.
The Battle of Remagen during the Allied invasion of Germany resulted in the unexpected capture of the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine and possibly shortened World War II in Europe.
World War I, also known as the First World War, or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918.
Remagen bridge approach by Alan Heath
At the end of Operation Lumberjack, the troops of the American 1st Army approached Remagen and were surprised to find that the bridge was still standing.
Operation Lumberjack was a military operation with the goal to capture the west bank of the Rhine River and seize key German cities near the end of World War II.
Bridge at Remagen - Die Brücke von Remagen by Alan Heath
Its capture enabled the U.S. Army to establish a bridgehead on the eastern side of the Rhine.
A bridgehead is the strategically important area of ground around the end of a bridge or other place of possible crossing over a body of water which at time of conflict is sought to be defended/taken over by the belligerent forces.
The United States Army is the largest branch of the United States Armed Forces and performs land-based military operations.
After the U.S. forces captured the bridge, German forces tried to destroy it multiple times until it collapsed on March 17, 1945, ten days after it was captured, killing 28 U.S. Army Engineers.
While it stood, the bridge enabled the U.S. Army to deploy 25,000 troops, six Army divisions, with many tanks, artillery pieces and trucks, across the Rhine.
The towers on the west bank were converted into a museum and the towers on the east bank are a performing art space.