The Bridge At Remagen

Once again the WWII Re-enactment of the Battle of the Bridge at Remagen was a great success with beautiful weather and a crowd of approximately 3,000 people.

Both sides of the river were filled with spectators who came to watch the re-enactment.

Some 200-plus reenactors came together in Tidioute and the battle began behind Tidioute Towers at Tidioute Creek and continued down King Street, turned on Buckingham Street pushing back the Germans, and, after taking several prisoners, they captured the bridge.

Members traveled from as far North as Canada and as far South as South Carolina; just as the Americans did in 1945.

Lee Lindemuth handled announcing prior to the beginning of the battle.

Lindemuth made mention of the several WWII veterans who were in Tidioute on Saturday to watch the re-enactment, including Harry McCracken, who served with the 99th Infantry Division and found his brother in a prison camp and rescued his brother as he had promised his parents. Also present were Walther Langford, Army Transport, Paul Hannold of the 708th Amphibian Tank Battle South Pacific, Joseph L Frontera, Navy Flotella, Richard Downey of Tidioute was with the 26 Yanhee Division; Robert Dallas of the 6th Engineer Specialty Bridge Battalion; Bill Mong of the 278th Division of Patton’s 3rd Army; Arden Earll of the 29th Division at D-Day; Richard R. Pilan SR., Air Force; Bill Kafferlin of the 97th Infantry, Wilbert Godfrey and William B Cook of the 449th Air Craft Wing 5th Division.

When asked why do we hold this re-enactment, Lindemuth stated that it is for the respect, honor and remembrance of what our troops have done for us.

Twelve-year-old Justin Branyan, of New Jersey was a reenactor with the rank of staff sergeant. Small children approximately 3 years of age and older were part of this event as well as some local residents participating.

Shots rang out indicating that the battle had begun, and this battle showed more than just entertainment. Those attending had a first hand look and feel of what it was like when the battle was real.

Those who were in the front rows could see the shell casings flying all around as the blanks were being fired.

This year retired Major Ken Hechler, who is 98 years old and the oldest living member of the US Congress, writer of more then 20 books including the “The Bridge at Remagen,” which was made into a movie, was on hand.

Hechler had several copies of his books for sale and signed several copies of his work.

The re-enactors slept in tents on army cots as they did in 1945 and ate with the same type of utensils, mess kits, as the military personnel did back then.

Each re-enactor is responsible for his or her entire uniforms, guns and anything else thy might need.

The Americans drove the Germans back across the bridge and after the Americans captured the bridge that the Germans could not destroy, the Germans surrendered and the American won the battle.

This event will be held again next year, the first Saturday in August 2014 at 3 p.m.