Home > Reviews > USA > Secret Operations – Remagen Bridge
by Ian Kemp

Secret Operations – Remagen Bridge

by Ian Kemp

Reviewed by Adam O’Brien


Publisher and Title Secret Operations – Remagen Bridge
by Ian Kemp
ISBN: 0 7110 3095 2
Media and Contents: Soft cover, A4 format, 96 pages colour & b/w
Price: £16.99 available online from Ian Allan Publishing
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Well written, easy to follow with nice photography and illustrations.
Recommendation: Recommended


The Ludendorff Bridge was built during the First World War. Constructed to move troops and equipment over the Rhine to reinforce the Western Front. On the 7th March 1945, soldiers from the 27th Armoured Infantry Battalion approached the Rhine to find this bridge at Remagen the only one left standing. The German soldiers stationed there had intentionally left the bridge intact, defying orders to do so. The capture of the bridge is referred to in U.S history as the “Miracle of Remagen” and General Walter Smith had said that “the bridge is worth its weight in gold”. The capture of the bridge allowed small U.S formations to operate east of the Rhine ahead of the main crossings under Patton and Montgomery.

In the days following the capture of the bridge, the German High Command made several desperate attempts to destroy it. They succeeded in irreversibly damaging it, but due the the quick construction of pontoon bridge by the U.S. engineers at the site, the final collapse of the Ludendorff Bridge was neither tactically nor strategically significant.

Like the previously reviewed book in the series, “Pointe du Hoc”, I found it very easy to follow and enjoyable to read, again, similar to a TV documentary in book form.

Chapter one details the Ludendorff Bridge and its history, nicely illustrated with a series of period photos and lithos. As part of this chapter we also have a couple of excellent photos of the German defences of the bridge, including the 3.7cm & 2cm flak guns – superb reference for a small vignette?

Next up in Chapter Two, the Allied plans of the Rhine crossings are put together. Details of the different divisions and battalions are listed, as are full-page profiles of the U.S commanders involved in the operation. Within this chapter we have detailed descriptions and data on both the M4A3 Sherman and the M26 Pershing tanks. Of special interest here is a nice photo and description of an M26 moving across the Rhine on a makeshift pontoon, powered by 5 outboard motors! again, a great diorama possibility.

The next 2 chapters detail the actual bridge crossing by the U.S. forces to establish a bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Rhine. Beautifully illustrated with full colour maps and b/w photography, we have a concise description of the operation. I found these chapters a very interesting read.

The longest section of the book is a chapter titled “Consolidation”. Once the bridgehead had been established, the U.S forces went about consolidating their position and securing the eastern bank of the Rhine. Meanwhile, Hitler was searching for scapegoats, needless to say, heads did roll…

In this section of the book we have a good series of b/w photos of the U.S. engineers in action, with some excellent photos of the pontoon bridge under construction. On the German side, there are small sections detailing the PzKpfw V Panther, the 60cm Morser Karl and the Arado Ar234B-2 bomber. To finish the chapter, there is a nice 2-page colour spread on the V-2 missile, 11 of which were launched in the German attack on Remagen.

The final chapter details the inevitable collapse of the Ludendorff bridge, due to the damage it received both during and after the operation. Light in text but profusely illustrated with superb b/w photos of the collapsed structure ( including one in colour). The book’s last page is a fitting tribute to the Allied engineers, who constructed over 100 assault bridges over the Rhine.


I found “Secret Operations – Remagen Bridge” an excellent description of the events at Remagen in the spring of 1945. The book has a very sturdy binding (more so than a lot of other softcover books) and is brilliantly illustrated throughout with colour and b/w photography and well-drawn maps. In addition, it is great inspiration for diorama builders.


Thanks to Specialty Press for the review sample