Bilder der Hodges Brücke
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A Bailey Bridge over the Rhine River at Bad-Godesberg, Germany.
Compiled and written by Steven Tooker, grandson of Technical Sergeant John C Chandler, S4 Unit H&S-Company, 207th Engineer Combat Battalion.
From 1944 to 1945, the 207th Engineer Combat Battalion was attached to
the 1110th Engineer Combat Group. The Group served in the First Army
throughout the war. The 1110th Engineer Combat Group supported mainly the
VII Corps, but at different times supported V and VIII Corps, and would
support the needs requested by the First Army. Before the Hodges Bridge was
built, the 1110th Group had sent elements from the 207th and 148th to Liege,
Belgium. Both of the Engineer Battalions were being trained and they were
experimenting with Bailey "Barge" Bridging on the Meuse River during
November and December 1944. During the training, the Germans were launching
many Buzz bombs into the city.
After the capture of the bridge in Remagen, other temporary bridges were constructed over the Rhine. The First Army directed the 111 Oth ECG to start reconnaissance for a bridge site and to make preparations for construction of a bridge. The First Army needed a major bridge built suitable for carrying heavy loads, such as Armored divisions, other military equipment and Infantry divisions.
The location of Bad Godesberg was selected as the bridge site because it was centrally located on the coordinates of advance. The road net to and from the bridge was fairly adequate. The width of the river in the area was about 1,140 feet, making it span-able. Another element that made it favorable - the water was shallow from the riverbanks.
Once the location was set for the bridge, the Engineer Group sent out orders to the Engineer Battalions which belonged to 1110th to start preparations for bridge construction. The bridge construction was broken up into two sections: the 207th Engineer Combat Battalion was given the responsibility for bridge construction on the west side of the river and the 148th Engineer Combat Battalion was given the responsibility for construction of the bridge on the east side of the Rhine.
The 207th ECB sent out engineers to gather up large sized barges and
other equipment needed to get started on the project. The barges were towed
to the bridge site and the 207th Engineers went right to work modifying the
barges to support the Bailey bridge. The 207th assigned all four Companies
to different projects on the bridge. The three line companies worked on
building two landing bay piers, two dual carriage land bays which were over
one hundred feet long, and three floating bays which used six barges and
hundred foot sections of bridging.
With this going on with the 207th ECB, the 148th ECB was doing the same thing on the east side of the river. As both Engineer Battalions worked day and night constructing the bridge, which started on March 26th, 1945, they finally met in the center of the Rhine River joining their sections of bridge together. It was some project to start on both ends of the river at the same time and meeting in the center of the river connecting the bridge together with the final pin!
On April 6th, 1945, the bridge was officially opened to traffic and was named the Hodges Bridge after the commander of the First Army, Lt. General Courtney Hodges. Just before the bridge opened Lt. General Omar Bradley, commander of the 12th Army Group, and Lt. General Hodges visited the bridge. They walked the bridge and made their inspection of a well-built bridge. The Hodges Bridge carried the bulk of all First Army traffic crossing the Rhine.
When it was done, the Engineers had built a two-way bridge, which was a little over 1,174 feet long. On the dual carriageway bridge, one lane was a Class-40 ton Bailey and the other lane was a Class-70 ton Bailey. During the bridge construction, five specially trained German swimmers made an attempt at night to damage the bridge, but were captured. After the bridge was completed, the 207th Engineer Combat Battalion was assigned to bridge security.
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