They did a lot of grumbling. Patton celebrated the victory by stopping on a treadway bridge his men had built and relieving himself into the river. News of the crossing made it around the world. Your email is never published nor shared. Sherman hold onto his. Remember Me. Forgot your Password? Site Navigation Menu. Third Army Crosses the Rhine.
Operation Plunder: Crossing the Rhine
Post a Comment Click here to cancel reply. Post Comment. Commanders Ulysses S. Grant Adolf Hitler Robert E. Jock turned to me, with a slow twinkle in his eye, and put out his hand. Up in the room where our bunks were made up, people were scribbling mysterious notes and doing things to their equipment. Reveille was 3. Getting ready for bed, the atmosphere was as taut as a violin string, but the morning would end the intolerable period of inaction—of being shut up with nothing to do but think.
Tomorrow, no matter what the next sun! We turned the lights out and went to sleep. Young Bill, the merchant marine kid, was restless for a few minutes, and then slept like a baby. Breakfast was a rugged affair—sweetened porridge without milk, and a big steak with mashed potatoes and parsnips.
It was beginning to be daylight. On an oversized runway hundreds of gliders stood, faced by hundreds of four-engined bombers to tow them. Richard Dimbleby of the BBC came across, looking rosy-cheeked and disgustingly fit. He was going in the aircraft that towed our glider, and we were to do some recording over the intercom from glider to bomber. We loaded up, and with a terrific din the first tugs moved down the runway—regular as clockwork, one every 30 seconds.
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Then it was our turn, and I felt the sluggish movement along the tarmac, the picking up of speed, the old feeling that this thing would never get off the ground with all this weight in it—then a smooth rise and fall as we became air-borne. We were on our way.
Sunny sparkling sea—then the sand dunes of the Belgian coast, the pock-marked scenes of months-old battles—Holland —then western Germany. Squinting ahead, through the tiny round porthole beside me, I could see the smoky windings of the Rhine. My stomach tightened up into a knot.
We did our last recording to the tugplane as we crossed the Rhine, and in the middle of talking, I saw, through the little porthole, the unbelievable sight of the glider that had been flying alongside a couple of hundred yards away bursting into flames. I looked. Little sparkles were showing like pinpricks in the sky around.
Next, a glider out beyond the others just broke in half without burning and emptied two vehicles and a lot of little pinmen, sprawling and whirling, without any parachutes. It, was difficult to think of what I was saying, so I just asked Dimbleby to tell them all at home how these fellows were going into battle. There was a bump while I was trying to finish—and we were on our own. That well-remem bered soaring feeling was with us. The big Hamilcar was coming in, with the rush of the wind in her wings, to touchdown.
I just had time to see a thick white German-made mist on the ground, then that slamming through the sides of the glider started. That was when the explosive typewriter spat its message through our plywood skin. We had hit a railway embankment that took away the undercarriage, careened into an orchard that took the wings, and then just piled up. The two glider pilots had the floor taken out from under them by the Bren carrier, but were unhurt—as were the two signallers that were brushed off when it plowed through the nose.
Bullets kept crashing through the wreckage, but, heading for the daylight, I found myself lying face down in a ditch beside a hedge. Peter was lying ahead of me.
Oscar Friedensohn Recalls Leading an Assault Boat Across the Rhine River During World War II
We were both trying to burrow down into the ground with our noses, when a mild-voiced doctor, who seemed to bear a charmed life, bound us up and directed us to his aid post in a German farmhouse. From here we could see down the railway track to a station marked Hamminkeln. In that jeep trailer was a sending set, with which I was going to make history by broadcasting direct from an air-borne fighting zone, and my portable recorder.
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London was listening in for me—and just over there, so near and so far, was all that lovely equipment. For an awful moment I wanted to sit down and bawl, then I remembered that the next best thing was to find the others, get the whole story, and somehow get it back to England.
Even with the landing they had, the 6th Air-borne men had all their objectives by 1. There, the young general, sparkplug of the air-borne men, told us that he expected to make contact with the Second Army before dark, and firm contact before morning. I thought of those flaming in the air, and how he had wanted to win the V. I looked around at smoking patches here and there that marked burned-up gliders. Wherever he was, the kid was in pretty grand company that night. Ihn looking at a letter from Jock Roberts that has just been delivered in London.
It was still under fire, and one of my fellows caught a packet. I went again later, only to find it a burned-out wreck and everything destroyed. I was captured that night after delivering some ammunition, but we managed to turn the tables and bring quite a crowd back with us. Browse Issues Search Subscribe Now. Click to View Article Pages. One of his legs, rigid in front of him, was quivering in a convulsion. That was how we hit Germany, east of the Rhine.
We each drew three blankets for our stay there, as well as the usual shell dressings, entrenching tools and such items of Continued on page 52 Continued from pape 6 equipment as were needed. Portrait of a General You meet men like General Bols once in a while, and usually in distant places. We all straggled back to the hut without saying anything much, and everybody got their maps out, spread 1 them on their bunks and studied them, comparing the notes we had taken with the corresponding features on the map.
First Allied Crossing of the Rhine
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