In the final desperate months of World War II the Hitler Youth deployed Wolfgang von Trips to Belgium for combat training. After learning to handle machine guns and shoulder-mounted anti-tank rockets he suffered what was described as a nervous breakdown. He was dismissed, only to be enlisted with his father to dig foxholes as Cologne prepared for a last-ditch defense against American GI's advancing eastward toward the Rhine River.
Wolfgang and his father skipped out. Instead of digging, they packed Wolfgang's mother and grandmother into the family Opel and went into hiding. As the U.S. troops closed in, they cross they crossed the old bridge spanning the Rhine minutes before the retreating Germans detonated it.