In early March of 1945 the 9th Armored Division of the U.S. First Army was lucky enough to capture the last intact bridge spanning the Rhine at Remagen (which collapsed ten days later, after a substation bridgehead had been made). Meanwhile, after the completion of the Battle in the Ardennes, General Patton turned his Third Army to the south and east, driving towards the last natural obstacle between the Allies and the heart of Germany. As all other road and rail bridges across the Rhine had been destroyed by retreating German forces, it became apparent that the rest of the US Army units would have to cross using their own resources. The first river assault by the Third Army was made on March 22, 1945 near the town of Oppenheim by the 5th Infantry Division who crossed on assault rafts. The Third Army also successfully assaulted the Rhine at three other locations: Boppard, St. Goar and Mainz. The pontoon treadway bridge pictured here was completed on March 29th, 1945 at Mainz.
Near the pontoon treadway bridge pictured here were the remains of the bridge spanning the Rhine River in Mainz. Then known as the Strassenbrücke, it was destroyed by the Germans on March 17, 1945 to slow the advance of the Allied forces. The bridge was originally completed in 1885 and widened in 1933. Its reconstruction was completed in 1950 and later named for German statesman Theodor Heuss.