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Memoirs from Remagen to friendly fire incident

Editor’s NoteL Memoirs by Col. Phillip Van Slayden (1913–1996), USAF, in collaboration with daughter Patrecia Slayden Hollis, former Editor of the Field Artillery Journal

The Allies had failed in a series of attacks on bridgeheads to secure a foothold over the Rhine — dashing the Allies’ hopes of winning the war by Christmas 1944. The river remained a barrier to our advance into Germany until successful Allied offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, and other bridgeheads in March 1945 allowed us to overrun the Rhineland. Improved weather helped.

Bridgehead at Remagen

The Ludendorff Bridge across the Rhine River at Remagen was captured by the Allies intact on March 7, 1945 as the Germans tried to blow up the bridge — a stroke of luck. It was the German’s last line of natural defense to hold up the Western Allies’ advance and our ground forces’ chance for the first major crossing of the Rhine.

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