Crossing the Rhine, March 24, 1945


Crossing the Rhine, March 24, 1945

Well this appears to be one of the most important events my Dad has been a part of during the course of the War – the crossing of the Rhine River! I’ve read a number of different historical documents about this, but think this short video is extremely powerful in its telling of the story – the images are heartwrenching.

And from another site this quote:

25 March Military History Office

“It was during this week, in late March of 1945, that the U.S. Third Army under Gen. Patton, began its famous bridging and crossing operations of the Rhine. After the completion of the Battle in The Ardennes, Patton and his Army turned to the south and east attacking toward the Rhine. Without the luck of the 9th Armored Division, further to the north, who were able to capture the only intact bridge across the Rhine at Remagen, Patton’s Third Army faced the necessity of bridging the wide river with their own resources. There had been a total of 22 road and 25 railroad bridges spanning the Rhine into Germany, but with the exception of the Remagen Bridge, they had all been destroyed.”

Remembering that my father is part of the 9th Armored Division, they would have been the ones to cross on the only intact bridge at Remagen. Interestingly enough, Dad mentions what a huge deal this is, then goes on to talk about the movie he’s just seen, the weather and playing touch football!

24 March 1945 V-MAIL


Good evening, sweetie, Before I forget it, Mom’s address is Mrs. J. Swaldi 4621 South 150th St. Seattle, Wash. OK? Yesterday was a fine day again. First, I got three letters from my sweetie (finally figured out that I had moved, did you? Oh, big stupid) and then last night was something special in the way of war news. You have probably read about the crossing of the Rhine, but it will always remain as something of a big night to me, such as the night we drove around Paris. Didn’t get to bed until around 3:30, and couldn’t sleep much after that, what with the damn big guns shaking the whole house, but seeing what it meant we didn’t mind and it was worth it to feel like a zombie today.     A couple of days ago I saw “A tree Grows in Brooklyn”. A quite good movie which followed the book surprisingly closely. That little girl (I don’t know what her name is) did a hell of a good job.     We have had really magnificent weather ever since we’ve been here. Actually hot in the day time, and so bright and clear at night that you can see a block away. Of course, the smoke of German cities drifts over like the forest fires used to, which deadens the glare a bit, but we don’t mind that either.    Each noon after we finish eating, we get out for about a half hour of touch football and have a hell of a good time. We could work up a pretty darn good team if we had a bit more time. Doggone, I simply can’t get caught up on my sleep!! Every night it is one thing or another that keeps me up until around midnight, and when I get up, come 6:15, my eyes burn, and my nose runs, and my throat is sore, but somehow, after a couple of hours I forget about it and go on a-registering and distributing like a goon.    You know, I get more pleasure out of that picture of Karen than any other one thing I have. All I have to do is look at it — and laugh!! Everybody says she looks like one hell of a swell kid, and I’m not even modest about it, I’ll drag out the other pictures at the drop of a helmet!! because I love you guys so much…

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