24 March 2014
From March 24th 15:00 GMT until March 25th 15:00 GMT
20% discount for following aircraft: B-17E Late, B-24, Wellington Mk.III, Lancaster Mk.III
Event [Operation] "Ruhr"
Operation Plunder was a World War II military operation in which the Allied forces crossed the Rhine River at Wesel, Rees, and at a point located south of the Lippe River, establishing a bridgehead on the east bank of the Rhine.
Operation started on the night of 23 March 1945, by the British 2nd Army, commanded by Sir Miles Dempsey, and the US 9th Army, under the command of Lieutenant General William Simpson.
The overture for the operation started at 15:00 with a 4000 cannon barrage and a massive smoke screen, while British aircraft were pounding ground targets during the day and night of 23rd of March. At 21:00 hours, the British 51st Highland Infantry Division (2nd Army) followed by 7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the 15th Scottish Division initiated the landing.
Although at first there was no real opposition but as the night wore on they run into fierce resistance, but after violent fighting the 1st Commando Brigade managed to enter the Wesel and establishing a foothold on the other side of the Rhine. The US 30th Division (9th Army) and the US 79th Division managed to land south of Wesel without major difficulties. By the evening of March 24th, the US forces had already built a pontoon bridge across the river.
Together with operation Plunder, the allies started operation Varsity on on March 24th with the aim to disrupt enemy communications. It was carried out by the British 6th Airborne Division and US 17th Airborne Division who were in charge of capturing the towns of Schnappenberg and Hamminkeln, clear part of the Diersfordter Wald of German forces, and secure three bridges over the Issel River.
On 24th March, Churchill crossed the Rhine River in an LCM (landing craft, mechanized), setting foot on the eastern bank of the river, symbolizing the crossing of the top British political leader over the traditional border of Germany that no foreign army had crossed in 140 years.