Crossing the Rhine February - April 1945

After the Battle of the Bulge, Germany herself was the next target. It was clear to everyone but the most fanatical Nazis, including Hitler, that Germany was finished. The war was over except for the final body count.

Throughout February and March 1945, the Allies fought their way through the Siegfried Line, a series of antitank fortifications, pillboxes, and artillery that ran along the Western border with Germany. Manned by young boys and old men, the Siegfried Line was a tough line that held the Allies out of Germany since September. Patton’s Third Army had little gasoline to advance from their positions outside of Aachen, the first German town to be conquered.

The Allies advanced and captured Cologne, the first major German city, on March 5, 1945. US Army General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding the Allied forces, realized that the capture of Berlin was secondary to destroying the German military industrial machine. He ordered the Allied Expeditionary Force to advance on the Ruhr.

Churchill, especially, wanted the Allies to capture Berlin, but Eisenhower had enough of long narrow advances in Holland. The Allies would cross the Rhine and advance on the Ruhr.