Battle of the Hurtgen Forest _Hurtgenwald_

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					Battle of the Hürtgen
Forest (Hurtgenwald)
• Battle of Hürtgen Forest is name given to series of
  battles fought in the Hurtgen Forest, afterwards
  known to both Americans and Germans simply as the
  Hurtgenwald.




                 The snow hit us as we hit Hurtgen.
• The Battle of Hürtgen Forest was overshadowed by the
  American victory in the Battle of the Bulge, and as a result, few
  books and articles have been written about it.




                          Looks pretty but it ain't.
• The American High Command was flush with
  success after the breakout at Normandy and the race
  to Germany, and therefore overconfident.




      Gen. Oliver, Gen Bradley, Lt. Col. MacFarland, Gen. Eisenhower, Col. Cole,
      Lt. Col. Entrekin, Lt. Col.Foss confer near Zweifall, Germany.
• The Battle of Hürtgen Forest was fought in an area of
  heavy forestation between September 13, 1944, through
  February 10, 1945.




     November 2, 1944. G.I.'s of CO E, 110th IR/28th ID moving through the forest near
     the Raffelsbrand road junction.
• The Hürtgen Forest, was described by those who were
  there, as a "weird and wild" place. It was not a ancient
  forest but it was hand planted in modern times at the
  order of the Army to take the most advantage of every hill
  and valley using the spruce and balsams thick squat
  limbs like football linemen challenging advance. Here
  "the near one hundred foot tall dark pine trees and dense
  tree-tops gave the place, even in daytime, a somber
  appearance.”
• It was like a green cave, always dripping water, the firs
  interlocked their lower limbs so that everyone had to
  stoop, all the time. The forest floor, always in darkness,
  had no underbrush. Add to this gloom, a mixture of sleet,
  snow, rain, cold, fog and almost knee deep mud. This was
  to be setting for the most tragic battle of World War II.




                This mine exploder on a tank didn't last long enough.
• And it was fought in a corridor barely 50 square miles
  in an area that begins about 5 miles south and east
  of Aachen, Germany and falls into a triangle outlined
  by Aachen, Duren and Monchau on the border of
  Germany.
• Although the battle did not officially end until
  February of 1945, the major part of the Battle
  of Hürtgen Forest was fought during the 3 wet, cold,
  miserable months of mid-September through mid-
  December 1944. The battle claimed 24,000
  Americans; killed, missing, captured and wounded,
  plus another 9,000 who succumbed to trench foot,
  respiratory diseases and combat fatigue




                 But we couldn't keep them dry..
• The Germans were delighted that the Americans wanted to
  throw their weight into an attack against dug-in troops in a
  forest where the American preponderance of artillery and
  command of the air would be of little value. Also,
  delighting the Germans was that the Hürtgen Forest was of
  little military value and, if lost to the Americans, could be
  flooded since the Germans held flood control dams above
  the level of the forest. It was a battle that the Germans
  really couldn't lose.
• The battles were characterized by the American High
  Command not recognizing the true objectives of the
  forest, the dams that controlled the height of the Roer
  River, until December.




Brandenburg and Bergstein are representative of the edge of the Hurtgen Forest near the Roer River. The
high ground on the north side of the Roer permitted observation for the enemy artillery and mortar fires
even after the Germans had been forced across the stream.
The area of the Roer River dams can be seen in the distance.
• Had the Germans blown the dams, they could have
  flooded a region far to the south, delaying American
  advances. Multiple divisions were sent in, only to be
  wrecked and replaced by still more divisions.
• British General Horrocks (one of the few generals, if not
  the only general to do so) made a surprise front line visit to
  the 84th division and he was disturbed by the failure of
  American commanders and their staffs to ever visit the
  front lines. He was greatly concerned to find that the men
  were not even getting hot meals brought up from the rear,
  in contrast to the forward divisions in the British line. He
  reported that not even battalion commanders were going to
  the front. Senior officers and staff didn't know what they
  were ordering their rifle companies to do. They did their
  work from maps and over radios and telephones. And
  unlike the company and platoon leaders, who had to be
  replaced every few weeks at best, or every few days at
  worst, the staff officers took few casualties, so the same
  men stayed at the same job, doing it badly.
• Air, artillery, and armor, all advantages of the
  Americans at this time were nullified because of the
  terrain, and the Germans were happy to delay the
  much stronger force using smaller numbers and good
  defensive positions.




  This one came into Gergstein and was captured.



                                                   A German self-propelled 75 mm
When American troops who had fought in Sicily, Italy,
Normandy and Holland, finally took the forest, they said they
had never seen anything that could compare to this for the
amount of shattered military equipment scattered throughout
and the countless American bodies..




          Recovery of American bodies for American Graves Registration
End

				
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