Rhine Crossing Memorial
On the western bank of the Rhine river, on the Rhinepromenade Monument
large 2.3 ton granite block and 3 copper plaques on it's front and top
sides with two flag poles on it's sides, commemorating the 249th
Engineers Combat Battalion and the 3rd U.S. Army for their actions at Nierstein
during General George S. Patton's Rhine Crossing operation, winning the
"race to the Rhine".
The successful Rhine Assault Crossing started on March 22 1945 at Nierstein and nearby Oppenheim at 2200 hrs. and allowed the U.S. Army to bring more than 60,000 military vehicles across the "last natural border" in to the heartland of the Reich in a two week time span. The operation was a key factor to end WW2 on the ETO - month's before the Alliied HQ had planned it.
The Memorial site is 12 x 12 m. and located at the original position of the first pontoon bridge across the River. Remainings of the bridge anchor can be seen behind the Monument, it has in addition two information-displays (EN/GE), describing the background of the "Operation Silent Crossing".
AT THIS LOCATION, ON MARCH 22 & 23, 1945, THE 249TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION, AFTER SUPPORTING THE U.S. ARMY 5TH INFANTRY DIVISION AT OPPENHEIM, IN THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL RHINE RIVER ASSAULT CROSSING SINCE NAPOLEON, COMPLETED THE CONSTRUCTION OF A 366 METER FLOATING BRIDGE TO CARRY ELEMENTS OF GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON’S 3RD ARMY ACROSS THE RHINE. THE BRIDGE WAS COMPLETED IN 18 HOURS.
THIS REMARKABLE ENGINEERING ACCOMPLISHMENT UNDOUBTEDLY CONTRIBUTED TO THE SHORTENING OF THE WAR, THUS SAVING COUNTLESS LIVES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CONFLICT.
ON THE BASE PLAQUE:
CHAIN OF COMMAND
THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL RHINE RIVER ASSAULT CROSSING SINCE NAPOLEON 1812
CONSTRUCTION OF THE NIERSTEIN FLOATING BRIDGE
MARCH 22 – 23, 1945
U.S. 3RD ARMY, General George S. Patton Jr., Commanding
U.S. ARMY XII CORPS, Major General Manton S. Eddy, Commanding
U.S. ARMY 1135 ENGINEER COMBAT GROUP, Col. Alfred Starbird, Commanding
U.S. ARMY 249TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION, Col. John K. Addison, Commanding
THE RALPH & LUCI SCHEY FOUNDATION
THE U.S. ARMY 249TH ENGINEER BATTALION ASSOCIATION
THE CITY OF NIERSTEIN
GERALD M. MC CARTHY, NARRAGANSET, RI, U.S.A.
WALTER KISSEL, HAHNHEIM, GERMANY
DEDICATED MARCH 2017