- Point of Interest
- An der Alten Rheinbrücke 11, 53424 Remagen, Germany
The railway bridge in Remagen was built during the First World War to increase the military transports to the western front; opened in August 1918 it was given the name of General Erich Ludendorff, who controlled the German war effort. The 325 metre long steel bridge was framed by elaborate stone towers built on both banks of the river. On the Eastern side the railroad went straight into a 382-metre long tunnel under the Erpel mountain.
On 7th March in the afternoon, 1945 a patrol of the U.S. 9th Armored Division, led by Lt. Karl H. Timmermann, reached the bridge. To his surprise, this important Rhine crossing lay almost intact. Despite the efforts of German demolition teams, who twice tried to blow up the bridge, it still stood. Timmermann quickly alerted his superiors, and by the end of the day the bridge was firmly in American hands, as the first Allied foothold on the east bank of the Rhine.
Germans put up a ferocious effort to destroy the bridge, but to no avail. Still the damage during the failed demolition attempt proved too great; on 17th March the strained bridge collapsed into the river, claiming 30 dead and several wounded American servicemen.
Small, open chapel is the only commemoration of the large ‘Green Mile’ Prisoners of War Enclosure. It reminds the visitor of the sad fate of the vanquished German soldiers, and shows another perspective on the price of the liberation.