The Allies Drive for the Rhine Bridge
Since December the U. S. First and Ninth Arimes had been building up strength behind the swollen little Roer River. On Feb. 23 they let it go with a stunning night barrage. The Germans at the river were quickly overpowered. Beyond the river the rigid framework of their Rhineland defense began to break down. A week after the first gun had been fired at the Roer, the Ninth had arrived at the Rhine opposite Dusseldorf. The men of the Ninth exchanged shots with the Germans on the other side.
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Lieut. General William H. Simpson, commander of the Ninth, hd been waiting for this drive to the Rhine. If the river was to be crossed by his army, the smooth crossing of the Roer was a battle rehearsal. For weeks the muddy little stream had been an obsession with the men of the Ninth. They prepared and planned to cross it early in February, in coordination with drives by the Canadians and General Patton's Third Army. But on the eve of the crossing the Germans opened the gates in the big earth dams of the upper Roer, partly flooding the cabbage land of the lower valley. General Simpson was forced to postpone the crossing while his engineers calculated when it would be possible.
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The engineers, watching the flood dimish, told the general the crossing could be made on Feb. 23. The Ninth began to get ready again. The men and tanks and portable sections of pontoon bridges moved up to the river. At 2:45 A.M. the barrage began and a smokescreen drifted over river to cover the crossing.
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As the morning sun shines through the open roof of a house in Julich, Ninth Army infantrymen dash across Roer under German mortar and machine-gun fire.
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The U. S. Breakthrough Begins with the Crossing of the Roer: The Ninth Army's crossing of the Roer was a short, violent struggle against the Germans and the river. Forty-five minutes after the night barrage had begun, assault boats and amphibious tractors started across in a great wave. In some of the boats were combat engineers, ferrying cables to moor their pontoon bridges in midstream. It was an excruiating few hours for the engineers. The flood had lessened but the current was still swift and strong. Runaway boats and pontoons careened downsteam crashing into the bridges as they were being built. As the work went on the Germans kept up a blind but deadly machine-gun and mortar barrage through the smokescreen. But in spite of diffculties there were two footbridges across the Roer in the morning. Later the engineers put in bigger bridges for trucks and tanks.
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We began our game from this point, the bridge intact and the mortar and machine gun with some support counter-attack.Game is a 12ft by 6ft table plenty of cover for both sides, Americans had to defend the bridge as best as possible and the Germans to take the bridge, game was 10 turns and whoever had control of the bridge and surrounding villages won .... 28mm figures and as always more pictures on the website at http://www.victorian-steel.com/