On 7 March 1945 the Allies seized the only remaining intact bridge across the Rhine at Remagen. This was followed by Operation Lumberjack and Operation Plunder from 22 and 23 March 1945 respectively. The Allied armies – British, Canadian and US 9th in the north, and the US 12th Army Group in the centre and south, which included the French army under de Lattre – pushed eastward. German General Model’s Army Group B was surrounded in what became known as the Ruhr pocket, finally surrendering on 18 April, with 325,000 German soldiers taken prisoner. General Bradley’s 12th Army Group, including Patton’s 3rd Army, now pushed east and southward, surrounding the German 11th Army. The River Elbe, the official eastern objective, was reached by advance elements of the Allied army by 11 April. By 14 April some units had crossed the river and stood ready to advance on Berlin. However, that prize would be left to the Russians.
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