150TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION
AMMEX TO NARRATIVE OF ENGINEER BRIDGING OPERATIONS ON THE RHINE RIVER
At 2100 hours 20 March 1945 this battalion was assigned the Mission of constructing a Treadway Bridge across the Rhine River in the vicinity of Oppenheim, Germany. The battalion moved very shortly thereafter to Undenheim, the chosen bridge dump and rear assembly area, and started inflating floats and placing saddles thereon.
During the period 0800 hours 21 March to 2300 hours 22 March 1945 the necessary reconnaissance was made, bridging and boom construction materials were assembled and final plans were made for the construction. The plan adopted was to load 2 1/2 ton trucks with one section each, including inflated floats, at the rear assembly area at Undenheim which was approximately 8 miles from the construction site and then to Dexheim, a control point 3 miles from the site. The final step was to bring them into a somewhat protected basin just upstream from the site for assembly into rafts.
One letter company was charged with the assembly of floats and loading of trucks, of which there 40 assigned for the mission, and were also to supply all equipment as needed. A second letter company was assigned the assembly of rafts in the basin and the actual construction of the bridge. The third company was charged with construction of anti-mine booms. Two Trailway Bridge companies plus a platoon of another were attached to the battalion. Their mission was to operate cranes, power boats, etc. and to provide the required materials and technical supervision of all phases of construction. A platoon of the 1306th G.S. Regt. was attached for construction of an antipersonnel boom and one company of another combat battalion was attached for reserve.
At 2400 hours 22 March 1945, two hours after the assault, orders were received to move in and commence construction but priority was given to unloading of Naval LCVP's. No crane capable of handling the LCVP's was available and some time was lost unloading them with a dozer and quickway crane. About 0600 hours the first raft was assembled and moved across with extra treads for the far shore. At 0700 hours, with increased visibility, the enemy discovered the operation and began leaving F.A. directly on the far shore work party. Every attempt to continue work met with a barrage of fire. F.A. fire was also being directed against the raft assembly crews in the basin but did not slow up operations to any extent.
The platoon commander of the far shore work party, realizing the fire must be directed by someone in the near vicinity, made a hasty reconnaissance and uncovered 17 Germans in a hasty fortification directing the fire by telephone. We took them as prisoners and while the fire continued for an hour or so, it had only a harassing effect. The only other deterring effect by the enemy was a strafing and bombing run made by 2 planes at approximately 1130 hours resulting in a damaged raft which was quickly repaired and about a half hour delay. At 1745 hours the bridge was opened to traffic while additional anchor cables were being emplaced to further guy the bridge.
The bridge was constructed from the far side because power boat failure while pushing rafts out of the brain into the current would have resulted in a raft floating into the partly completed structure. Total length was 972 feet. Room construction, being upstream and out of the bridgehead proper, was slowed all morning by enemy small arms fire, but once begun the first anti-mine was completed at 1800 hours. Lack of familiarity and difficulties of construction of the antipersonnel boom delayed its completion until 1800 hours 25th March, by which time the second antimine boom was in and work well under way on the anti-barge boom. The two latter booms were installed by Company C 145th Engr. c. Bn. attached as reserve.