Over 10 days in the spring of 1945, Army Engineers expedited the invasion of Germany and thus shortened the Second World War in Europe by daringly capturing one of the last bridges left standing across the River Rhine. It had been nine months since D-Day, and Allied forces had fought in several long, difficult campaigns across France and the highlands of the Ardennes forest and had just crossed the German border. The last natural barrier to driving deeper into German territory was the Rhine. Starting in March, Operation Lumberjack, led by the U.S. First Army, aimed to secure the west bank of the river and prepare for a massive crossing to be led by the British. In order to undermine German supply lines to the front, the Allies had systematically bombed bridges up and down the river for months, so the discovery of an intact WWI-era bridge across the Rhine at the town of Remagen (about 14 miles south of Bonn) was a big surprise. The audacious capture of the bridge at Remagen ensured the success of these operations and shortened the final drive across Germany towards Berlin.

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