Rhine Crossings

The crossing of the Rhine: Operation Plunder and Operation Varsity

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Beginning on the night of 23 March 1945, Operation Plunder was the crossing of the River Rhine at Rees, Wesel, and south of the Lippe River by the British Second Army, under Lieutenant-General Miles C. Dempsey (Operations TurnscrewWidgeon, and Torchlight), and the United States Ninth Army (Operation Flashpoint), under Lieutenant General William H. Simpson. The U.S. XVIII Airborne Corps, consisting of the British 6th and U.S. 17th Airborne Divisions, conducted Operation Varsity, airborne landings on the east bank in support of Operation Plunder.  Involving more than 16,000 paratroopers and several thousand aircraft, it was the largest airborne operation in history to be conducted on a single day and in one location. All of these formations were part of the 21st Army Group under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. This was part of a coordinated set of Rhine crossings.

On this tour we cover Operation Veritable: the clearing of the area west of the River Rhine and Operations Plunder and Varsity by going into Operations Turnscrew, Widgeon and Torchlight in depth and Operation Varisty we go into great details the airborne landing around Hamminkeln.

Rhine Crossings Tour 1

German cemetery chapel

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Unknown soldier

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German war dead from Spring 1945

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Groesbeek Canadian cemetery

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Canadian Maple at Groesbeek

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Operation Veritable Canadians

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Norwegian flyer with RAF at Reichswald CWGC

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Reichswald CWGC resting place for British

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British paid a heavy price

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Starting point for Operation Plunder

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We base ourselves near Xanten

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Xanten, Klebe, Koch all had to be cleared

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Fierce fighting around the Hochwald

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Map of the Hochwald Gap

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Flat area to the left is the Hochwald Gap

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Crossing point at Rees

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Bailey bridge constructed here

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Building on the north bank with damage

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Railway bridge at Wesel

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1st Commando Bridge crossing at Wesel

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Old wall at the Wire factory, a strong point

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British Drop Zone for Operation Varsity

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This guest’s father’s glider landed right here!

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Battle damage on bridge