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2017 WWII Battle Scenario Background
The Ruhr Pocket was a battle of encirclement that took place in
late March and early April 1945 in the Ruhr Area of Germany. It marked the end
of major organized resistance on the Western Front of Europe during WWII.
In March 1945, the Allies crossed the Rhine River. General Omar Nelson Bradley's U.S. 12th Army Group's pursuit of the disintegrating German army resulted in the capture of the Ludendorff Bridge across the Rhine at Remagen. Bradley and his subordinates quickly exploited the crossing made on March 7, 1945, and expanded the bridgehead until the bridge collapsed 10 days later.
North of the Ruhr on March 23, 1945, Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery's Anglo-Canadian 21st Army Group which incorporated the US Ninth Army launched Operation Plunder with the airborne Operation Varsity in support crossing the Rhine at Rees and Wesel. Operation Varsity involved more than 16,000 paratroopers and several thousand aircraft and was the largest airborne operation in history to be conducted on a single day in one location.
Having crossed the Rhine, both Army groups fanned out into the German hinterland. In the south, while the Third Army headed east, the First Army headed northeast and formed the southern pincer of the Ruhr envelopment. In the north, the U.S. Ninth Army, which since the Battle of the Bulge had been assigned to Field Marshal Montgomery's 21st Army Group, headed southeast, forming the northern pincer, while the rest of the 21st Army Group went east and northeast.
Facing the Allied armies were the remnants of a shattered Wehrmacht, a few SS training units, and large numbers of Volkssturm (militia units for aging men, including some World War I veterans) and Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) units, composed of boys as young as 12.
Lead elements of the two Allied pincers met on April 1, 1945,
near Lippstadt. By April 4, the encirclement was completed and the Ninth Army
reverted to the command of General Bradley's 12th Army Group. Within the Ruhr
Pocket about 370,000 German soldiers of Army Group B, which comprised 21
divisions of the Wehrmacht, and millions of civilians were trapped in cities
heavily damaged by numerous bombings.
While the main operations headed further toward central and northern Germany, American forces concentrated on the pocket, taking it section by section. On April 12, 1945, the U.S. First and Ninth Armies divided the area coming from the south; the smaller, eastern part surrendered the next day. The western part continued a weak resistance until late April 1945.
If you are a reenactor or even a veteran that would like to participate in this unique scenario we urge you to contact Johnathan Morrison who is coordinating this scenario. If you are a WWII Veteran would like to share your experience with the public, please contact Veteran Program Coordinator Eric Montgomery.
The Scenario Plan at the 2017 Event
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