Remagen Event 2018

September 11, 2018 - No Comments

by Jim Barnes

On the weekend f August 4-5, we took part in the WWII reenactment of the taking of the Ludendorff Bridge, recalled in Ken Hechler’s book, “The Bridge at Remagen,” which was in early March 1945. It was 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.*

The annual event is held at Tidioute, Pennsylvania around the iron bridge crossing the Allegheny River. This small town with a population of less than a thousand, is located on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest about 120 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and is a very scenic location for such an event.

My wife and many of the other women and some children portrayed German civilians fleeing the town in advance of U.S. Army forces as the U.S 9th Armored Division nears the town. In the original battle, the Germans attempted to blow up the bridge just ahead of the Americans, but due to their being issued inferior explosives, the bridge refused to fall. The reenactment event promoters hire a professional  pyrotechnics company to provide the impressive explosions.

This year, I served on a flak gun crew for the ill-fated German defenders. As such, we overwhelmed and the still-standing bridge was captured by the on-rushing GIs.

Because of its remote location, Tidioute is largely dependent on tourist dollars and this event draws in from 1500 to 2000 tourists and their money every August and is well supported by the town. There were a number of WWII veterans in attendance as guests of honor and they were saluted by each unit in the event as they passed by. This is a very reenactor-friendly event and I highly recommend it.

*Wikipedia

 

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