Monday, September 27th – What a week! Congrats to the boys for reaching over 1k downloads – such an exciting time.
This week we launched our 10th episode and can’t believe we’ve made it this far. The Ludendorff bridge is rich in WWI and WWII history. It played a major part in the last few months of WWII and was a key factor regarding allied powers success. Fortunately, Jeremy is pretty well versed in WWI history so he goes in pretty deep on the genesis of this bridge – specifically Count Alfred von Schlieffen’s plan to overcome allied powers in Europe.
To start Jeremy provides a melancholic description of the Ludendorff Bridge. Although dark and mysterious, this bridge personifies the realties of war. On the flip side, it’s surrounded by the beautiful German country on the bank of the Rhine in Remagen. Fun fact: Remagen was founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago.
The bridge was designed by Karl Wiener had two main purposes: to connect the Right Rhine Railway, the Left Rhine Railway, and the Ahr Valley Railway and to carry troops/supplies across the Rhine River. The through-arch design is simple yet effective for its purpose – oh and Jeremy thinks its sexy. As for dimensions its about 54 ABEs (if you are unfamiliar with our unit of measurement, you haven’t been paying attention).
There is a fascinating fact about the concrete piers and how the Weiner designed them, but we don’t want to spoil anything here! Ludendorff had two railways as well as pedestrian pathways in order to accomodate traveling troops.
The stone towers (image above) were built to house up to a battalion of military personnel, and they even had slits/holes built into the sides of the towers so soldiers could poke their guns out and defend from inside the fortress.
Andreas retells the Battle of Remagen this week. It’s a dreadful tail filled with cold winters, hardships of wars, and destruction of bridges.
We don’t want to spoil it here, but the US troops were able to take the bridge after the Phantom Division executed on their strategy. After this success however, Hitler caught wind and volleyed 11 V-2 rockets. 28 engineers were killed when the bridge finally collapsed. Although this loss was a tough pill to swallow, capturing the bridge shortened the war and V-E day came shortly after.
Germany ended up rebuilding the majority of the Rhine bridges since the end of the war (including an additional 6 more!). Ludendorff, however, wasn’t. In 1980 the towers were turned into a museum! Additionally the towers were auctioned off.
Apparently there was an attempted sale, but it fell through as German authorities warned potential buyers that the towers were in dire need of repair.
As this is such an exciting week for the Bridge Boys team, we wanted to give a shoutout to all of our listeners. It’s been a dream – as Andreas would say. As always, don’t forget to rate our show and reach out to say hello!