Book Review
Remagen 1945

by: Henk Meerdink [ HENK ]


The mighty Rhine river has always been a natural Western border for Germany, and in 1945 it represented the last major obstacle for the Allied armies in the West. Deep, wide and vast flowing, crossing the Rhine by any other means than a bridge is a hazardous undertaking on any day, but under constant enemy fire it becomes almost impossible.

Hitler had ordered that all the Rhine bridges were to be blown up to deny the Allied armies a passage into the Western industrial heartland of Germany, but these same bridges were also vital to allow the retreating remains of the German army to cross the Rhine. This means that often bridges were destroyed at the last moment, and in a hurry. The Ludendorff bridge at Remagen was no exeption, and in what was almost a repeat of the events at Nijmegen 6 months earlier, the attempt to blow the bridge in the face of the approaching Americans failed.

the book

The book is written by Steven J Zaloga, who is well known in the modeling world as a leading expert on Allied (Armoured) Forces and the NWE theatre in WWII. In well defined chapters the reader is first introduced to the main players on both sides, the make-up of the opposing forces and the tactical plans at the start of March 1945. The book starts with an introduction which outlines the strategic situation in NWE Europe, detailing the strenghts and weaknesses of both Allied and German forces after the heavy fighting during the winter.

The main body of the book details the campaign surrounding the capture of the Remagen bridge, and the eventual outbreak of the bridgehead which would be part of the encirclement of the Ruhr. The book finishes with a short chapter on the aftermath and repercussions of the capture of the Bridge, and there is a brief look at the remains of the bridge and surrounding area after the war.

The chapter about the German attempts to destroy the bridge after it's capture is particularly interesting, as it details the various 'super weapons' that were used, including the V-2 and the Arado 234B2 jet bomber, as well as the Karl Morser.

Illustrations consists of black and white photographs on almost every page, several '3-dimensional birds-eye view' photographic maps and two colour illustrations by Peter Dennis. Whilst these illustration are quite nice in themself, having been printed over two pages, with the resulting 'split' in the middle, does not do them any justice. The maps on the other hand are a great addition, and help to 'visualise' the approaches and how different action related to each other much clearer than an ordinairy overhead view map would.


- ISBN 1846030188
- Softback cover
- 96 pages
- 70 B/W Photographs
- 5 colour overhead view maps
- 3 3-D birds-eye view maps


As with so many WWII battles, this is not the first, nor will it be the last book that has been published on this subject. The action at Remagen does seem to have been 'overtaken' in history by the more well known exploits of Patton to the South and Montgomery to the North, dispite the fact that without the capture of the bridge the encirclement of the Ruhr area, and the conseqent capture of some 300.000 German soldiers and effective destruction of Armygroup B, would have taken much longer. Steven Zaloga uses an easy to read style which descibes the action in chronological order. The emphasis is largely on facts and figures, rather than graphic descriptions of the individual actions.

The photographs are clear and as almost all include at least one AFV or other military vehicle, they are a good reference source for modellers. There are some nice shots of various M4's, as well as numerous photo's of knocked out German AFV's.

In all this is a reference book that is a worthwhile addition to any reference library. Recommended.
The latest volume in the 'Campaign' series by Osprey, Remagen 1945 tells the story of how the last bridge over the river Rhine was won and what roll this unplanned event played in the changing strategies of the Allies in the West.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN: 1846030188
  Suggested Retail: $18.95 13,99
  PUBLISHED: Sep 09, 2006

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About Henk Meerdink (Henk)

Copyright 2021 text by Henk Meerdink [ HENK ]. All rights reserved.


Hi Henk, Thanks for the review. This sort of condensed history can IMO be a very useful source for modellers. You don't need the entire history, just the focus on a particular battle and provided the information is correct you have some good reference materials/pictures for your project. My thoughts anyway, nice clear review. Cheers Al
SEP 10, 2006 - 05:25 PM

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