Tidioute will come alive on Saturday, Aug. 6, with the Third Annual W. W. II Reenactment.
Come and see the Battle of The Bridge at Remagen. The German Ludendorff Bridge was the only bridge across the Rhine River that was captured by American forces during W. W. II.
Watch as U. S. soldiers drive the German Army back across the bridge. Watch as the bridge is blown up with Pyrotechnics provided by Cartwright Fireworks. And finally the capture of the bridge and the defeat of the German Forces.
A salute to our veterans
Remagen, Germany is a small town located on the West bank of the Rhine River. Its layout and size are very similar to Tidioute, Pa. The Rhine river is similar in size to the Allegheny River. The terrain features of Remagen, Germany look very much like the Allegheny Region, with the rolling mountains, deep valleys and several ridges.
The bridge at Remagen was named after a German hero, thus the name Ludendorff Bridge which was about 700 feet long just a little longer than the Tidioute bridge which is only 551 feet long.
It was 1945, the allied Forces were on the offense and the German Army was in full retreat. Lead elements of the 9th Armored Division arrived on a hill overlooking Remagen and the Ludendorff Bridge. Lt. Timmerman lead the column assigned to capture the town. To their surprise they found the bridge intact with the German Army still retreating across it. The bridge at Remagen was the last remaining bridge on the Rhine River. Either the advancing Allied Armies or the retreating German Army had destroyed all of the other bridges on the Rhine.
Orders were to "Capture The Bridge". Lt. Timmerman's column led by a company of Infantry, advanced into the lightly defended village and quickly made their way to the bridge. Between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. the Germans were on the other side of the Rhine River and they detonated the charges that were already in place. These highly explosives blew, lifting the bridge off its foundation. When the smoke cleared the bridge was still intact and still standing. At this time the task of capturing the bridge was given to the 9th Armored Infantry. Being led by Lt. Timmerman and Sgt. Drabic the company assaulted and captured the bridge. Timmerman and Drabic were the first American G. I' s to step onto the Eastern shore of the Rhine River, the heart of Germany. History was made that day and the following day a sign was placed on the bridge that read, "Cross the Rhine with Dry Feet, Courtesy of the 9th Armored Division." Ten days later the bridge collapsed, killing many of the combat engineers who were trying to repair the bridge.
Shortly after the capture the 99th, 9th, and 78th Infantry Divisions crossed over attacking and protecting the bridge from counter attacking German forces who were trying to recapture the bridge.
Hundreds of G. I.' s were killed and wounded fighting to protect this bridge.
On Saturday, August 6 you will have an opportunity to see hundreds of Infantryman of 99th Infantry Division 393rd Regiment, Easy Company Reenactment Group (Battlebabies) reenact this battle beginning at 3 p.m.
Tidioute Bridge will be closed at approximately 2 p.m. in preparations for this reenactment and will reopen by 4 p.m. Only emergency vehicles will be permitted to travel through this area during this time.
The encampment will be set up in Tippy Canoe ball field just South of the Tidioute Bridge. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to stop at the encampment to see how it was back then. There will be W. W. II memorabilia for sale. And on display will be American and German uniforms, equipment and vehicles.
The best time to visit the encampment is Friday evening and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A Nationally know vendor will have all sorts of military memorabilia at the encampment for sale.
Tidioute Little League and the reenactment committee will be selling souvenir T-shirts at the ball field on Friday and at the Veterans viewing stand on Saturday. Proceeds from the sale of the shirts will help defray the cost of this event.
Reenactment members will be selling dog-tags with the proceeds from these sales going to the Wounded Warriors Fund.
VFW Ladies Auxiliary will be selling three inch souvenir buttons at the VFW Memorial next to the VFW Post Home on Main St. during the weekend festivities.
Pennsylvania State Championship Fishing Tournament committee will be hosting a chicken BBQ from 12 noon till the food is gone on Saturday, August 6 on tournament grounds.
Tidioute Community Charter School and the Air Cadets will have a food booth open during the weekend for your convenience. One group will at the encampment and the other will be on the Tidioute side of the bridge.
There will be a special viewing stand for the Veterans at the intersection of King Street and Buckingham Street so they can sit under a tent and watch this battle unfold.
The battle will begin at Tidioute Creek just behind Tidioute Towers, fight their way up King Street turning onto Buckingham street and onto the Tidioute Bridge, and up across the hillside of Rt. 337.
Parents are urged to bring the entire family and are asked to keep the children back so they do not get hurt in any way.
This event is free to the public and is a join venture with members of the 99th Infantry Division 393rd Regiment, Easy Co. Reenactment Group, Tidioute Borough, and Limestone Township. Pyrotechnics will be provided by Cartwright Fireworks.
Please join Tidioute residents and visitors and enjoy the little bit of World War II history that will unfold right before your own eyes.
Remember all of our W. W. II Veterans and all of our Armed Forces who are still fighting so that we can be free.