Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

March 11, 2014

AC History by Enfys McMurry

The Daily Iowegian

---- — AC History by Enfys McMurry

March 7, 1945: For the Americans, the British, the Canadians and the French armies, the River Rhine was their last remaining barrier to the conquest of Germany. In Appanoose County, their progress was followed. Radio news bulletins broke into regular broadcasting. Customers listened in stores and in restaurants. Families listened over kitchen tables. Children listened and followed along on world maps pinned to classroom walls. In a futile attempt to delay the Allied advance, German engineers were blowing up the Rhine bridges. They failed at one. They only damaged the old Ludendorff railroad bridge at Remagen. On March 7 it was serendipitously discovered by a small armored patrol of the U.S. First Army. Mystic’s Joe Coates and Centerville’s Bob Nevins were among those who successfully crossed the swaying bridge before it collapsed. But by that time, U.S. engineers, including the 254th with Centerville’s Bob McGuire, were building a replacement pontoon bridge completing the job in 16 hours flat, so ensuring the uninterrupted flow of men and materials across the river. (497)