Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Today 70 Years Ago The Rhine River Was Crossed
US Glider troops after landing near Wesel
32d Troop Carrier Squadron Douglas C-47Ataking off from Poix Airfield (B-44) France, during Operation Varsity, 24 March 1945
"I drew an assault boat to cross in-just my luck. We all tried to crawl under each other because the lead was flying around like hail."Crossing the Rhine under enemy fire at Saint Goar, March 1945. Army
Today, 70 years ago the Rhine river was crossed near Xanten in Germany. The attack consisted of an Airborne assault (Varistiy) and a Amphibious assault (Plunder). Two Divisions of Airborne troops 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 British 6th Airborne division and the American 17th Airborne. They were flown in by several thousand aircraft,Operation Plunder was the crossing of the River Rhine by the British 2nd Army (The 51st Highland Division and the 15th Scottish Division) and the US Ninth Army (30th and 79th Division it was the largest airborne operation in history to be conducted on a single day and in one location.