To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

Operation Plunder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Operation Plunder
Part of the Western Allied invasion of Germany in the Western Front of the European theatre of World War II

U.S. 89th Division crossing the Rhine under fire
Date23–27 March 1945 (1945-03-23 – 1945-03-27)
Result Allied victory
Commanders and leaders
Units involved
  • 1,284,712 men
  • 5,481 artillery pieces[2]
  • 69,000 men
  • 45 tanks
Casualties and losses
  • United Kingdom
  • 3,968 casualties[3]
  • United States
  • 2,813 casualties[3]
  • 6,781 casualties total
16,000 captured[3]

Operation Plunder was a military operation to cross the Rhine on the night of 23 March 1945, launched by the 21st Army Group under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. The crossing of the river was at Rees, Wesel, and south of the river Lippe by the British Second Army under Lieutenant General Miles Dempsey, and the United States Ninth Army under Lieutenant General William H. Simpson.

The Battle of the Rhine was crucial for the advancement of the Allied advance into Germany, and was planned by Monty (the king of set-piece operations) as a three-army assault, including an airborne assault, a five-thousand-gun artillery barrage, and Anglo-American bombers. Thousands of tons of supplies were brought forward including huge amounts of bridging equipment.[4]

The First Allied Airborne Army conducted Operation Varsity on the east bank of the Rhine in support of Operation Plunder, consisting of U.S. XVIII Airborne Corps, the British 6th, and the U.S. 17th Airborne Divisions.

Operation Grenade in February by Simpson's Ninth Army and Crerar's Canadians was also expected to prepare the ground.[5]

Preparations such as accumulation of supplies, road construction, and the transport of 36 Royal Navy landing craft, were hidden by a massive smoke screen from 16 March. The operation commenced on the night of 23 March 1945. It included the Varsity parachute and glider landings near Wesel, and Operation Archway, by the Special Air Service.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    80 268
    1 313 063
    20 937
    1 694
  • The Rhine Crossing: Operations Plunder & Varsity | March 1945
  • Monty's Gamble: Allied Rhine Crossing 1945
  • Operation Plunder Documentary, WW2 History Series, war footage, WW2 oversimplified
  • WW2 in Germany : Operation Varsity / Operation Plunder
  • Operation Plunder | British, American & Canadian Paratroopers Cross the Rhine | March 1945



Four thousand Allied guns fired for four hours during the opening bombardment. British bombers contributed with attacks on Wesel during the day and night of 23 March 1945.

On the night of 23 March, companies E and C of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, part of the U.S. 2nd Armored Division, constructed treadway rafts to prepare the crossing of the Rhine about five kilometers south of Wesel. Bridge construction started at 9:45 a.m. and by 4:00 p.m. the first truck crossed the floating pontoon bridge. Over 1,152 feet (351 m) of M2 treadway and 93 pneumatic floats were laid in the six hours and fifteen minute construction project, a record setting for the size of the bridge. It took twenty-five 212 ton GMC CCKW trucks to transport the bridge parts to the construction site, part of the Red Ball Express.[6][7]

Three Allied formations made the initial assault: the British XII Corps and XXX Corps and the U.S. XVI Corps. The British 79th Armoured Division—under Major General Percy Hobart—had been at the front of the Normandy landings and provided invaluable help in subsequent operations with specially adapted armored vehicles (known as Hobart's Funnies). One "funny" was the LVT-2 "Buffalo" operated by the 4th Royal Tank Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Alan Jolly, an armed and armoured amphibious tracked personnel or cargo transporter, which was able to cross soft and flooded ground. These were the vehicles for the spearhead infantry.

The first part of Plunder within the framework of XXX Corp's Operation Turnscrew[8] was initiated by the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division, led by the 7th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of 154th Brigade at 21:00 on 23 March, near Rees, followed by the 7th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (also of 154th Brigade). At 02:00 on 24 March, the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division landed between Wesel and Rees. At first, there was no opposition, but later they ran into determined resistance from machine-gun nests. On the same day the 51st Division's commander, Major-General Tom Rennie, was killed by mortar fire. The British 1st Commando Brigade entered Wesel.

The U.S. 30th Infantry Division landed south of Wesel. The local resistance had been broken by artillery and air bombardment. Subsequently, the U.S. 79th Infantry Division also landed. American casualties were minimal. German resistance to the British landings continued with some effect, and there were armored counter-attacks. Landings continued, however, including tanks and other heavy equipment. U.S. forces had a bridge across by the evening of 24 March.

Operation Varsity started at 10:00 on 24 March, to disrupt enemy communications. Despite heavy resistance to the airdrops and afterward, the airborne troops made progress and repelled counterattacks. The hard lessons of Operation Market Garden were applied.[clarification needed] In the afternoon, the 15th (Scottish) Division linked up with both airborne divisions.

Fierce German resistance continued around Bienen, north of Rees, where the entire 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade was needed to relieve the Black Watch. The bridgehead was firmly established, however, and Allied advantages in numbers and equipment were applied. By 27 March, the bridgehead was 35 miles (56 km) wide and 20 miles (32 km) deep.


Impact on German forces and command

The Allied operation was opposed by the German 1st Parachute Army, commanded by General Alfred Schlemm, a part of Army Group H. Although this formation was considered to be the most effective German force in the area, it was severely depleted from its previous action in the Battle of the Reichswald. Unable to withstand Allied pressure, the 1st Parachute Army withdrew northeast toward Hamburg and Bremen, leaving a gap between it and the 15th Army in the Ruhr.

Joseph Goebbels was well aware of Plunder's potential impact from the beginning. On 24 March, he began his diary entry with, "The situation in the West has entered an extraordinarily critical, ostensibly almost deadly, phase." He went on to note the crossing of the Rhine on a broad front, and foresaw Allied attempts to encircle the Ruhr industrial heartland.

On 27 March, command of the 1st Parachute Army was passed to General Günther Blumentritt, because Schlemm had been wounded. Blumentritt and his superior, Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz, both recognised that the situation was lost. The army's front was incomplete, there were no reserves, weak artillery, no air support and few tanks. Communications were weak, indeed, one corps was never contacted. The reinforcements were so poor that the generals decided against using them, to avoid needless casualties.

Although Blumentritt had strict orders from Supreme Command to hold and fight, from 1 April, he managed a withdrawal with minimal casualties, eventually withdrawing beyond the Dortmund-Ems Canal to the Teutoburg Forest. Within a week of the start of Plunder, the Allies had taken 30,000 prisoners of war north of the Ruhr.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill, General William H. Simpson, Field Marshal Alan Brooke, and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery on the German-held east bank of the Rhine, 25 March 1945

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was present at Field Marshal Montgomery's headquarters near Venlo on the eve of Plunder. Subsequently, Churchill and Montgomery watched the Varsity air landings on 24 March.

The next day, 25 March, Churchill and Montgomery visited General Dwight D. Eisenhower′s headquarters. After lunch and a briefing, the party went to a sandbagged house overlooking the Rhine and a quiet, undefended stretch of the German-held riverbank. After Eisenhower's departure, Churchill, Montgomery, and a party of U.S. commanders and armed guards took a LCVP landing craft and landed for 30 minutes in enemy territory, without challenge. They next visited the destroyed railway bridge at Wesel, departing when German artillery appeared to target them.

Military rivalries

The Plunder crossings in the third week of March were planned as the primary assault across the Rhine, but at the Yalta Conference in early February 1945, it was decided to add another crossing to the south of the Ruhr. The additional crossing was intended to draw off any concentration of forces in opposition to Plunder. Two earlier crossings actually happened.

On 7 March, U.S. troops unexpectedly captured the Ludendorff Bridge as the Battle of Remagen. Within the next 10 days six divisions and 25,000 troops established a bridgehead on the eastern side of the Rhine.

On 22 March, General George S. Patton sent his Third Army across the Rhine, at Nierstein, to form another bridgehead. His superior, General Omar Bradley, released news of this crossing to the press "at a time calculated to take some of the lustre from the news of Montgomery′s crossing".[9] Bradley later remembered that Patton had strongly urged the announcement saying "I want the world to know that Third Army made it before Monty starts across".[10]

In culture

  • "Crossing the Rhine", Episode 8 of The Lost Evidence, The History Channel, UK, 2004.
  • Heinz Bosch, Wilhelm Haas: Der Krieg am Niederrhein, Kreis Kleve, 1976 (German).
  • "World War II": season 5, episode 8 of Drunk History.

See also


  1. ^ "Headquarters, 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade". 25 November 2016.
  2. ^ MacDonald 1973, p. 297.
  3. ^ a b c Ford 2007, p. 91.
  4. ^ Trigg 2020, p. 220.
  5. ^ Trigg 2020, p. 178.
  6. ^ They Remember War
  7. ^ 2nd Armored WW2
  8. ^ Tim Saunders 2008 "Operation Varsity", p. 61, accessed 10 September 2020.
  9. ^ MacDonald 1973, p. 273.
  10. ^ Saunders 2006, p. 15.


This page was last edited on 16 June 2024, at 21:41
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.