Early April 1945: Combat engineers of the 31st Engineer Combat Battalion emplace a bridge over the Neckar River during the assault on Heilbronn. German artillery -- particularly "flak" or antiaircraft artillery units -- sited in the hills overlooking Heilbronn to the east played havoc with the engineers' attempts to emplace a bridge across the fast-flowing Neckar. Frequently, no sooner would a bridge be completed and the first tanks roll on when the Germans would destroy the span, sending the vehicles and their crews to the bottom of the river. Until the American armor got across the river, the infantrymen of the 100th Infantry Division were at the mercy of German armor (including several heavy Jagdpanther tank destroyers) prowling the rubbled streets of the heavily-contested east bank.

US Army Signal Corps photos contributed by Ray Denman, L/397th Infantry Regiment.

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