|Destroyed:||March 17th, 1945|
Grün & Bilfinger
The Ludendorff Bridge (sometimes referred to as the Bridge at Remagen)
Prior to World War III
Construction & First World War
Remagen is located close to and south of the city of Bonn. The town of Remagen had been founded by the Romans about 2,000 years earlier. The town had been destroyed multiple times and rebuilt each time. Under the Schlieffen Plan, a bridge was planned to be built there in 1912, as well as bridges in Engers and Rudesheim.
German General Erich Ludendorff was a key advocate for building this bridge during World War I and it was named after him. It was designed by Karl Wiener to connect the Right Rhine Railway, the Left Rhine Railway and the Ahr Valley Railway (Ahrtalbahn) and carry troops and supplies to the Western Front. Constructed between 1916 and 1919, using Russian prisoners of war as labour, it carried two railway lines and a pedestrian catwalk on either side. Work on the bridge pillars and arches was done by leading construction companies Grün & Bilfinger with the steel bridge built by MAN-Werk Gustavsburg.
It was one of three bridges built to improve railroad traffic between Germany and France during World War I; the others were the Hindenburg Bridge at Bingen am Rhein and the Urmitz Bridge on the Neuwied–Koblenz railway near Koblenz.
The Ludendorff Bridge became a battleground in early March 1945, where it was declared 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.
At the end of Operation Lumberjack (March 1–7, 1945), the troops of the American 1st Army approached Remagen and were surprised to find that the bridge was still standing. Its capture enabled the U.S. Army to establish a bridgehead on the eastern side of the Rhine.
After the U.S. forces captured the bridge, Germany tried to destroy it multiple times until it collapsed on March 17, 1945, ten days after it was captured, killing 18 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. It was never rebuilt after the Second World War, where after which the towers on the west bank were converted into a museum and the towers on the east bank are a performing art space.
Post World War II
After the war, the railway crossing was not deemed important enough to justify rebuilding the bridge. Parts of the land used for the approaching railway lines are now used as an industrial estate on the western bank and a park on the eastern bank.
Since 1980, the surviving towers on the western bank of the Rhine have housed a museum called "Peace Museum Bridge at Remagen" containing the bridge's history and 'themes of war and peace'.
This museum was partly funded by selling rock from the two piers as paperweights, the two piers having been removed from the river in the summer of 1976 as they were an obstacle to navigation.