Veterans Day Special: Remagen and its Bridge

November 11, 2009 - 4 Comments

by Sarah Barnes

This Veterans Day we here at Reenactor Post would like to share how one young person is honoring veterans with his Social Studies project. Josh Baroni is a 6th grade student in Marion County, WV. His project “The Bridge at Remagen” won at his school and will be heading to the Marion County Social Studies Fair the first week of December. Josh got the idea for the project from the video game, “Call of Duty Finest Hour,” but in the process has learned that the Battle of Remagen not only was a pivotal battle in the Allied effort to wrest control of the Rhineland from the Germans, it also has a local connection. He discovered that Ken Hechler, former Congressman and WV Secretary of State was there and had written the official report of the battle for the US Army. He interviewed Hechler last month. We’re impressed by Josh’s interest in the topic and wish him the best of luck as he moves on to the county competition. If you have any supplemental information you think that Josh should refer to for his report, please pass it on!

Remagen Bridge

Remagen Bridge

Remagen and its Bridge

By Josh Baroni
email joshian.baroni [at] gmail.com

The Remagen Bridge was the beginning of the end of WWII. Crossing the Bridge made it easier than going into the water. The members of the 9th armored division were the first to cross it, because they had good training. The Germans tried to detonate the Bridge by setting up explosives on the bridge. Luckily two polish engineers cut most of the wires so their Brave act saved many American lives. Although a few bombs exploded it actually lifted the bridge up then settled back down.

As the Germans saw that their plan had failed they lined up a bunch of men, tanks, and airplanes (to try to blow up the bridge) as the last line of defense. As machine guns and soldiers fired at the Americans the Americans were dodging every attack the Germans launched at them. Although the Americans suffered heavy casualties they kept fighting and fighting until the Germans couldn’t hold on any longer. As they retreated Americans swarmed over the Bridge. For their brilliant effort they were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

You’re probably asking what did they eat or sleep. They’re food wasn’t very good because all they had was a big lump of cheese or beef soup. Since they had no bed they often slept on the ground but sometimes went into a house to sleep.

The weather was like West Virginia in March. The nights were cold but the days were sunny. There was no rain or snow on the day of the capture.

Aachen the first city to fall

Aachen was the first city to fall. This important city showed that the Allied powers could defeat the central powers. Aachen was Important to the U.S. because if they controlled that city it would show that Germany could be defeated.

Ken Hechler’s Experiences

Ken Hechler was a captain during WWII. He was drafted as a private in 1942. After a while he tried out for officer candidate school. By the end of the war he was a Major.

“Anytime you’re in a war in a war you’re scared.” Said Ken Hechler.”But artillery is the scariest because first it shoots to the left of you then the right by then you want to get in a ditch because the next shot was coming right at you.” His rifle was a M1 that had 12 rounds until he had to reload. He also carried a pistol that wasn’t really effective. Ken Hechler was not injured in the war. In fact he was about ten miles away from where it happened. After his duty he gave advice to Truman advice even though Truman was a smart man. He just told Ken what he needed. Truman knew his objects very well so he didn’t really need help.

http://gadabyte.com/ww-ii/images/europe/infantry/remagen3.jpg

1945 - This U.S. soldier waits for an arial strike to weaken the germans before crossing the Remagen bridge.

http://wwww.battlegroundtools.com/maps/venlo.jpg

The maps of remagen and other cities looked like this map shown here. http://wwww.battlegroundtools.com/maps/venlo.jpg

http://www.onwar.com/maps/wwii/westfront/wfrntmaps/b27p66am.jpg

Combat Command B (hoge) was planning to cross the Rhine on this plan shown here. http://www.onwar.com/maps/wwii/westfront/remagen45.htm

http://www.onwar.com/maps/wwii/westfront/wfrntmaps/b27p98r.jpg

Devers, Patton,Patch, and Bradley each had their own plan to cross the Rhine. http://www.onwar.com/maps/wwii/westfront/xrhineus.htm

http://www.onwar.com/maps/wwii/westfront/wfrntmaps/b27p66br.jpg

The map shown here shows what the Bridge was like when they looked at the map. http://www.onwar.com/maps/wwii/westfront/ludendorffbrdg45.htm

Bibliography

Hechler, Ken. Statesman, Historian. October 21, 2009.
Hechler, Ken. The Bridge to Remagen. Presidio Press, July 26, 2005.

“Infantry at Remagen.” Photo. Gadabyte.com.
http://gadabyte.com/ww-ii/images/europe/infantry/remagen3.jpg

“Arial Map of Remagen.” Photo. Venlo.
http://wwww.battlegroundtools.com/maps/venlo.jpg

“Rhine Crossing at Remagen.” Map. OnWar.com. March 7, 1945.
http://www.onwar.com/maps/wwii/westfront/remagen45.htm

“American Army Rhine Crossings.” Map. OnWar.com. March 11-28, 1945.
http://www.onwar.com/maps/wwii/westfront/xrhineus.htm

Filed Under: Local News, WWII

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Comments (4)

Dr. Abigail E. Reynolds

November 11th, 2009 at 4:20 pm    


Josh,

Great Job! All the best in the next round of competition/recognition.

Congratulations!

Dr. Reynolds

Mike Momot

November 11th, 2009 at 4:31 pm    


Hi Sarah,

You may want to mention that Volkssturm units (The German “home guard”, or militia, as some would refer to it) attempted to defend the Ludendorff Bridge (The Bridge at Remagen) under Army command.

Incidentally, your father and I reenact Volkssturm as one of our impressions for WWII history. There is a short reference to it (Remagen) on our website: http://www.kaiserlautern.org on our “About Us” page. You will see “Kaiserlautern” on the maps.

I’m very impressed with Josh’s research. Very nice work indeed!

Mike Momot
aka
Kompaniefuhrer Helmut Thiel
40/15/1 DV 1102

Willi Schumacher

February 15th, 2010 at 1:24 pm    


The proper name of the bridge is Ludendorf and it is at the town of Remagen, but it is not the Remagen Bridge. People always state it is the Remagen Bridge and that is not correct.

Jim Barnes

February 15th, 2010 at 6:40 pm    


Thanks for the info, Willi! We’ll pass that along to Josh, as well.

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