Crossing the Rhine – In Pictures!

 
 
SHARE:

On March 24th 1945, near Xanten in Germany, the Rhine River was crossed in one of the biggest attacks launched in western-Europe. The attack consisted of an Airborne assault (Varsity) and an Amphibious assault (Plunder), two Divisions of airborne soldiers and four infantry divisions were used in the initial assault.

Operations Varsity was a joint American, British and Canadian airborne operation, it involved more than 16,000 paratroopers of the American 17th Airborne and the British 6th Airborne divisions. They were flown in by several thousand aircraft, it was the largest airborne operation in history that took place on a single day and in one location.

In Operation Plunder the British 2nd Army (The 51st Highland Division and the 15th Scottish Division) and the US Ninth Army (30th and 79th Division) crossed the River Rhine in an amphibious assault.

All of the units involved from both operations were part of the 21st Army Group commanded by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

These are some the pictures taken during the two operations!

606px-Buffaloes_being_transported_forward_in_preparation_for_crossing_the_Rhine
Buffaloes of 4th Royal Tank Regiment being transported forward in preparation for crossing the Rhine [via]
600px-7.2_inch_howitzers_at_Rhine_crossing_1945_IWM_B_15776
Royal Artillery 7.2-inch howitzers mounted on modified US 155 mm Long Tom carriages being brought up to provide support for the Rhine crossing [via]
32d_Troop_Carrier_Squadron_Douglas_C-47A-15-DK_Skytrain_42-92862_1945
32d Troop Carrier Squadron Douglas C-47A-15-DK Skytrain 42-92862 taking off from Poix Airfield (B-44), France, during Operation Varsity, 24 March 1945 [via]
Royal_Air_Force-_Fighter_Command,_No._38_(airborne_Forces)_Group_RAF._CL2231
Handley Page Halifaxes and Short Stirlings tow Airspeed Horsa gliders over the French countryside shortly after crossing the English Channel, en route to the landing zones east of the River Rhine [via]
612px-Leaving_the_assault_craft
Men of the 15th Scottish Division leave their assault craft after crossing the Rhine and double up the east bank to their assembly point near Xanten [via]
Sherman_DD_tanks_crossing_the_Rhine
Sherman DD tanks crossing the Rhine [via]
613px-The_British_Army_in_North-west_Europe_1944-45-_Assault_on_the_Rhine_and_Capture_of_Wesel_BU2337

616px-Crossing_the_Rhine_in_Buffaloes_at_Wesel
Men of the 1st Cheshire Regiment crossing the Rhine in Buffaloes at Wesel [via | via]
British_commandos_in_the_shattered_outskirts_of_Wesel
British Commandos on the outskirts of Wesel [via]
C-47_transport_planes_release_hundreds_of_paratroops
Crossing the Rhine 24 -31 March 1945: C-47 transport planes release hundreds of paratroops and their supplies over the Rees-Wesel area to the east of the Rhine. This was the greatest airborne operation of the war. Some 40,000 paratroops were dropped by 1,500 troop-carrying planes and gliders [via]
GLIDER_TROOPS_AFTER_LANDING_NEAR_WESEL_(Operation_Varsity)
US Glider troops after landing near Wesel [via]
Achilles_tank_destroyer_on_the_east_bank_of_the_Rhine
An Achilles tank destroyer on the east bank of the Rhine moves up to link with airborne forces whose abandoned gliders can be seen in the background [via]
Paras_hamminkeln_25_march_1945
British paratroopers in Hamminkeln, 25 March 1945 [via]
Continues on Page 2