The Rhine was the last major physical barrier to the Allied advance into Germany and the Ludendorff Bridge was the only crossing point remaining standing.
The bridge survived for about ten days after its capture before it succumbed to the damage it had sustained.
Both sides had tried to destroy it, the Americans to prevent the German forces still on the west bank from escaping before realising its importance as crossing point and the Germans to prevent the Americans establishing a bridgehead.
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