Remagen Bridge re-enactment Saturday in Tidioute

The 6th Annual WWII Reenactment portraying the battle at Remagen, Germany, will take place on Saturday in Tidioute.

The German Ludendorff Bridge was the only bridge across the Rhine River that was captured by American forces during WWII.

Watch as U. S. soldiers drive the German Army back across the bridge. Watch as the bridge is blown up with pyrotechnics. And finally you will see the capture of the bridge and he defeat of the German Force.

Remagen, Germany is a small town located on the west bank of the Rhine River. Its layout and size are very similar to Tidioute. The Rhine River is similar in size to the Allegheny River. The terrain features of Remagen, Germany look very much like that of the Allegheny region, with the rolling mountains, deep valleys and several ridges. The bridge at Remagen was named after a German hero, thus the name Ludendorff Bridge, which was about 700 feet long. Just a little longer than the Tidioute Bridge which is 551 feet in length.

It was 1945 when allied forces were on the offense and the German Army was in full retreat. Lead elements of the 9th Armored Division arrived on a hill overlooking Remagen and the Ludendorff Bridge. Lt. Karl Timmerman lead the column assigned to capture the town. To their surprise they found the bridge intact with the German Army still retreating across it.

The bridge at Remagen was the last remaining bridge on the Rhine River. Either the advancing allied armies or the retreating German army had destroyed all the other bridges on the Rhine. Orders were to “Capture the Bridge”. Timmerman’s column, led by a company of Infantry, advanced into the lightly defended village and quickly made their way to the bridge. Between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. the Germans were on the other side of the Rhine River and they detonated the charges that were already in place. These charges blew, lifting the bridge off its foundation. When the smoke cleared the bridge was still intact and still standing. History was made that day and the following day a sign was placed on the bridge that read, “Cross the Rhine with Dry Feet, Courtesy of the 9th Armored Division.”

On Saturday visitors to Tidioute will have an opportunity to see hundreds of Infantryman organized by the 99th Infantry Division 393rd Regiment, Easy Company Reenactment Group (Battlebabies) re-enact this battle beginning at 3 p.m.

The encampment will be set up in the Limestone Township Ballfield next to the Tippy Canoe Inn on route 62 just south of the Tidioute Bridge.

Visitors are welcome and encouraged to stop at the encampment to see how it was back then.

Nationally known vendors will have all sorts of WWII memorabilia for sale and on display along with American and German uniforms, equipment, and vehicles such as a German Tank Stug III, German Half Track, American General Stuart Tank, M4 armored car, and an American half-track.. The best time to visit the encampment is Friday noon until sunset and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be a special Media Day on Friday, Aug. 1, from 10 a.m. till noon.

Special Guest Speaker will be MSgt. Steven G. Appleby, Director of the Eldred, Pa., WWII Museum, who will speak during the opening ceremonies at the Veterans tent area on Buckingham Street beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Re-enactment Committee members will be selling souvenir t-shirts.

A special viewing will be set up at intersection of Buckingham Street and King Street.

For everyone’s safety, spectators are asked to remain outside roped areas during he reenactment and to follow instructions of the Fire Police and reenactment volunteers.

Viewing areas are available on both sides of the river with limited parking.

The Tidioute Bridge will be closed to vehicle and foot traffic from 2 p.m. until the completion of the event around 4 p.m.

Be sure to determine which side of the river you want to view from and plan accordingly as Route 62 will be closed during the event from approximately 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Plan for delays and drive carefully as Route 62 will be congested.

Several organizations will have food booths in operation for your convenience, please support the local organizations and businesses.

The special event is sponsored by the 99th Infantry Division 393rd Regiment Easy Co. Battlebabies, Tidioute Borough, Limestone Township, Tidioute VFW Post 8803 and Servicemen’s Home Corporation of Tidioute.