Original German WWII Luftwaffe Downed Arado Ar 234B-2 Plane Souvenir Display Grouping - Battle of Remagen
Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. The Battle of Remagen during the Allied invasion of Germany resulted in the unexpected capture of the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine. After capturing the Siegfried Line, the 9th Armored Division of the U.S. First Army had advanced unexpectedly quickly towards the Rhine. They were very surprised to see one of the last bridges across the Rhine still standing. The Germans had wired the bridge with about 2,800 kilograms (6,200 lb) of demolition charges. When they tried to blow it up, only a portion of the explosives detonated. U.S. forces captured the bridge and rapidly expanded their first bridgehead across the Rhine, two weeks before Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's meticulously planned Operation Plunder. The GIs' actions prevented the Germans from regrouping east of the Rhine and consolidating their positions.
The battle for control of the Ludendorff Bridge caused both the American and German forces to employ new weapons and tactics in combat for the first time. Over the next 10 days, after its capture on 7 March 1945 and until its failure on 17 March, the Germans used virtually every weapon at their disposal to try to destroy the bridge. This included infantry and armor, howitzers, mortars, floating mines, mined boats, a railroad gun, and the giant 600 mm Karl-Gerät super-heavy mortar. They also attacked the bridge using the newly developed Arado Ar 234B-2 turbojet bombers. To protect the bridge against aircraft, the Americans positioned the largest concentration of anti-aircraft weapons during World War II:189 leading to "the greatest antiaircraft artillery battles in American history". The Americans counted 367 different German Luftwaffe aircraft attacking the bridge over the next 10 days. The Americans claimed to have shot down nearly 30% of the aircraft dispatched against them. The German air offensive failed, even with the new bombers.
This very nice display box contains engine fragments from one of the very Arado Ar 234B-2 bombers that attacked the bridge area. Per the information provided, the fragments contained in the case are from the Jumo 004 engine in the Arado Ar 234B-2 piloted by Fw. Schultz of 6./KG76. The plane was returning from an attack on the Ludendorff bridge on March 14, 1945, when it was shot down by a U.S. P-47 Mustang piloted by Lt. Norman D. Gould of 62 FS/56 SG. Fw. Shultz managed to bail out, but lost an arm, and came down in the vicinity of Waldbröl in the Rhineland.
There is further information regarding the activities around the bridge on that day, as well as illustrations of the aircraft involved. There are 5 fragments inside of the display case, and originally all were glued to the backing, however one piece has worked its way loose. The case, which measures 15 1/2" x 12" x 2 1/2", also has a plastic pocket in the back, which has a very nice short book regarding the Arado 234B, as well as some pictures taken, apparently at the crash site in 2014.
A very nice display case, which would fit well into any WWII European Theater collection. Ready to display!
The Arado Ar 234 Blitz (English: lightning) was the world's first operational jet-powered bomber, built by the German Arado company in the closing stages of World War II. Produced in limited numbers it was used almost entirely in the reconnaissance role. In its few uses as a bomber it proved to be nearly impossible to intercept. It was the last Luftwaffe aircraft to fly over the UK during the war, in April 1945.
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