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Encyclopedia > Battle of Hurtgen Forest
Battle of Huertgen Forest
Part of World War II

Date September 19, 1944February 10, 1945
Location German-Belgian border
Result Pyrrhic American victory
Combatants
United States Germany
Commanders
Courtney Hodges Walter Model
Strength
120,000 80,000
Casualties
33,000 casualties 12,000—16,000 deaths[1] (est.; total casualties unknown)

The Battle of Huertgen Forest (German: Schlacht im Hürtgenwald) is the name given to the series of fierce battles fought between U.S. and German forces during World War II in the Hürtgen Forest. The battles took place between September 19, 1944, and February 10, 1945, in a corridor of barely 50 square miles (129 km²) east of the BelgianGerman border. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Image File history File links HurtgenForest. ... is the 262nd day of the year (263rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... is the 41st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with devastating cost to the victor. ... Image File history File links US_flag_48_stars. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... Image File history File links US_flag_48_stars. ... Courtney Hicks Hodges (January 5, 1887 – January 16, 1966) was an American military officer, most prominent for his role in World War II, in which he commanded the U.S. First Army in Northwest Europe. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany_1933. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... American soldiers cross the Siegfried Line The drive to the Siegfried Line was one of the final Allied phases in World War II of the Western European Campaign. ... The 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade was tasked to cross the Ghent Canal about five kilometers south of Bruges at a small village called Oostcamp. ... Combatants United Kingdom United States Canada Poland Germany Commanders Bernard Montgomery Brian Horrocks Roy Urquhart James M. Gavin Maxwell Taylor Stanislaw Sosabowski Walter Model Wilhelm Bittrich Kurt Student Strength 35,000 20,000 Casualties 11,377 dead,wounded or missing 6,450 Captured 2,000 Killed 6,000 Wounded Operation... Nancy is a city in France. ... The Battle of Overloon (Code named Operation Aintree) took place between September 30th and October 18th 1944. ... Combatants United States Germany Commanders William Simpson Gerhard Wilck Strength 100,000 soldiers 12,000 soldiers Casualties 2000 killed 3000 wounded 5500 killed or wounded, 5,600 POW The Battle of Aachen was a battle in World War II that took place in October 1944 in the German city of... Combatants Nazi Germany United States of America Commanders Colonel Gerhard Wilck Colonel George A. Smith Jr. ... Combatants Canada United Kingdom Poland Belgium Norway Germany Commanders Guy Simonds (acting) (First Canadian Army) Gustav-Adolf von Zangen (German 15th Army) Strength  ?  ? Casualties 12,873 total; including 6,367 Canadian  ? The Battle of the Scheldt was a series of military operations which took place in northern Belgium and south... Combatants United States United Kingdom Germany Commanders Omar Bradley Walther Model Strength 100,000 soldiers 40,000 soldiers Casualties  ?  ? Operation Queen was a joint British-American operation during World War II at the Western Front between Aachen and the Rur river in November 1944. ... During World War II, the Western Front was the theater of fighting west of Germany, encompassing the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Denmark. ... Combatants Kingdom of the Netherlands Germany Commanders Henry G. Winkelman, Jan Joseph Godfried baron van Voorst tot Voorst Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Strength 9 divisions, 676 guns, 1 tank (inoperational), 124 aircraft Total: 350,000 men 22 divisions, 1,378 guns, 759 tanks, 1150 aircraft Total: 750,000... This article is about a Second World War battle in 1940, for the 1658 battle of the same name see Battle of the Dunes (1658) Combatants United Kingdom France Belgium Germany Commanders Lord Gort General Weygand Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Ewald von Kleist (Panzergruppe von Kleist) Strength approx. ... Combatants Canada United Kingdom Germany Commanders Louis Mountbatten J. H. Roberts Gerd von Rundstedt Strength 6,086 1,500 Casualties Canada: 950 dead, 2,340 captured wounded or not; United Kingdom: 600; United States:4+; 311 dead, 280 wounded The Dieppe Raid, also known as The Battle of Dieppe or... Combatants Croat SS soldiers Germany Commanders Ferid Džanić Unknown Strength 500-1,000 Unknown Casualties 146 N/A The Villefranche-de-Rouergue uprising took place on September 17, 1943, when a division composed of about 500-1000 Croats and Bosnian Muslims from Croatia, which has been sent by force... Combatants United Kingdom United States Canada Free France Poland Germany Commanders Dwight Eisenhower (Supreme Allied Commander) Bernard Montgomery (land) Bertram Ramsay (sea) Trafford Leigh-Mallory (air) Omar Bradley (U.S. 1st Army) Miles Dempsey (UK 2nd Army) Harry Crerar (Canadian 1st Army) Gerd von Rundstedt (OB WEST) Erwin Rommel (Heeresgruppe... Combatants United States1 United Kingdom2 Free France3 Germany Commanders Lt. ... American soldiers cross the Siegfried Line The drive to the Siegfried Line was one of the final Allied phases in World War II of the Western European Campaign. ... Combatants United Kingdom United States Canada Poland Germany Commanders Bernard Montgomery Brian Horrocks Roy Urquhart James M. Gavin Maxwell Taylor Stanislaw Sosabowski Walter Model Wilhelm Bittrich Kurt Student Strength 35,000 20,000 Casualties 11,377 dead,wounded or missing 6,450 Captured 2,000 Killed 6,000 Wounded Operation... The Battle of Overloon (Code named Operation Aintree) took place between September 30th and October 18th 1944. ... Combatants Canada United Kingdom Poland Belgium Norway Germany Commanders Guy Simonds (acting) (First Canadian Army) Gustav-Adolf von Zangen (German 15th Army) Strength  ?  ? Casualties 12,873 total; including 6,367 Canadian  ? The Battle of the Scheldt was a series of military operations which took place in northern Belgium and south... Combatants United States Germany Commanders William Simpson Gerhard Wilck Strength 100,000 soldiers 12,000 soldiers Casualties 2000 killed 3000 wounded 5500 killed or wounded, 5,600 POW The Battle of Aachen was a battle in World War II that took place in October 1944 in the German city of... Combatants United States  United Kingdom Germany Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Omar N. Bradley George S. Patton, Jr. ... Located near Alsace in Eastern France, the Colmar Pocket was the site of a ten-day battle during the Second World War that saw four divisions of the French Army and an entire Corps from the U.S. Army overwhelm German resistance. ... During World War II, Operation Plunder was the crossing of the Rhine river at Rees, Wesel and south of the Lippe Canal by the British Second Army, under Lieutenant-General Miles C Dempsey, and the US Ninth Army, under Lieutenant-General William H Simpson. ... Hürtgenwald is a municipality in the district of Düren in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The Hurtgen forest (or Huertgen Forest, for Hürtgenwald in German) is located along the border between Belgium and Germany in southwest corner of the German state of North_Rhine-Westphalia. ... is the 262nd day of the year (263rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... is the 41st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ...


U.S. commanders’ initial goal was to pin down German forces in the area so as to keep them from reinforcing the front lines further north, between Aachen and the Rur (Roer) River, where the Allies were basically fighting a trench war between a network of fortified towns and villages connected with field fortifications, tank traps, and minefields. A secondary objective may have been to outflank the front line. The Americans' initial objectives were to take Schmidt, clear Monschau, and advance to the Rur. The Germans fiercely defended the area for two reasons: It served as staging area for the Ardennes Offensive (what became the Battle of the Bulge) that was already in preparation, and the mountains commanded access to the Schwammenauel Dam[verification needed] (Rurtalsperre Schwammenauel) at the head of the Rur Lake (Rurstausee) which, if opened, would flood low-laying areas downstream and deny any crossing of the river. The Allies only recognized this after several heavy setbacks, and the Germans were able to hold the region until they launched their final major, last-ditch offensive on the Western Front, into the Ardennes. Oche redirects here; in darts the oche is the line from which players must throw. ... The Rur (-German, in Dutch and French: Roer, not to be confused with the Ruhr) is a river in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. ... “Flanking” redirects here. ... Monschau (French: Montjoie) is a city in the west of Germany, located in the district Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia. ... Combatants United States  United Kingdom Germany Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Omar N. Bradley George S. Patton, Jr. ... A representation of the changes in territory controlled by Allies and Axis powers over the course of the war. ... During World War II, the Western Front was the theater of fighting west of Germany, encompassing the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Denmark. ... The Ardennes (IPA pronunciation: ) (Dutch: Ardennen) is a volcanic region of extensive forests and rolling hill country, primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching into France (lending its name to the Ardennes département and the Champagne-Ardenne région). ...

Contents

Background

By mid-September 1944, the Allied pursuit of the German army after the landings at Normandy was slowing down because of extended supply lines and German Army rebuilding. The next strategic objective was to move up to the Rhine River along its entire length and prepare to cross it. Courtney Hodges1st Army experienced hard resistance pushing through the Aachen Gap and perceived a potential threat from enemy forces using the Hürtgen Forest as a base. Combatants United Kingdom United States Canada Free France Poland Germany Commanders Dwight Eisenhower (Supreme Allied Commander) Bernard Montgomery (land) Bertram Ramsay (sea) Trafford Leigh-Mallory (air) Omar Bradley (U.S. 1st Army) Miles Dempsey (UK 2nd Army) Harry Crerar (Canadian 1st Army) Gerd von Rundstedt (OB WEST) Erwin Rommel (Heeresgruppe... It has been suggested that River Rhine Pollution: November 1986 be merged into this article or section. ... Courtney Hicks Hodges (January 5, 1887 – January 16, 1966) was an American military officer, most prominent for his role in World War II, in which he commanded the U.S. First Army in Northwest Europe. ... Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. First Army. ...


In early October, the U.S. 1st Infantry Division arrived, joining elements of the U.S. XIX Corps and VII Corps, which had encircled Aachen. Although the 1st Infantry Division called for the surrender of the German garrison in the city, German commander Colonel Gerhard Wilck refused to capitulate until October 21. The 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army —nicknamed “The Big Red One” after its shoulder patch—is the oldest continuously serving division in the United States Army. ... Oche redirects here; in darts the oche is the line from which players must throw. ... ... Colonel Gerhard Wilck was the German commander who defended the German city Aachen in the Battle of Aachen. ... is the 294th day of the year (295th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


It was also necessary to remove the threat posed by the Rur dam[verification needed]. In German hands, the stored water could be released, swamping any forces operating downstream. The direct route to the dam[verification needed] was through the forest.


In hindsight, military historians are no longer convinced of these arguments. An American historian, who served in the Hürtgen battle, has described it as “a misconceived and basically fruitless battle that should have been avoided.”[cite this quote]


Geography

Map showing the area of the battle
Map showing the area of the battle

The Hürtgen Forest occupies a rugged area between the Rur river and Aachen. The dense conifer forest is broken by few roads and tracks and firebreaks; vehicular movement is restricted. In the autumn and early winter of 1944, the weather was cold and wet and often prevented air support. Ground conditions varied from wet to snow cover. Download high resolution version (889x591, 110 KB) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (889x591, 110 KB) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ...


The German defenders had prepared the area with blockhouses, minefields, barbed wire, and booby-traps, hidden by the snow. Also there were numerous bunkers in the area, mostly belonging to the deep defenses of the Siegfried Line, which were also centers of resistance. The dense forest allowed infiltration and flanking attacks and it was sometimes difficult to establish a front line or to be confident that an area had been cleared of the enemy. The small numbers of routes and clearings had also allowed German machine-gun, mortar and artillery teams to pre-range their weapons and fire accurately. Apart from the bad weather, the dense forest and rough terrain also prevented proper use of the Allied air superiority which had great difficulties to spot any targets. The original Siegfried line (Siegfriedstellung) was a line of defensive forts and tank defenses built by Germany as a section of the Hindenburg Line 1916-1917 in northern France during World War I. However, in English, Siegfried line more commonly refers to the similar World War II defensive line, built...


The American advantage in numbers (as high as 5:1), armor, mobility, and air support was greatly reduced. In the forest, relatively small numbers of determined and prepared defenders could be highly effective. As the American divisions took casualties, inexperienced recruits were brought up to the front as replacements: the U.S. Official History[verification needed] says: “Any numerical advantage the Americans may have possessed lay in bug-eyed replacements, who began to arrive in small, frightened bunches.”[cite this quote] The impenetrable forest also limited the use of tanks and hid anti-tank teams equipped with panzerfausts. Later in the battle, it proved necessary to blast tank routes through the forest. Transport was similarly limited by the lack of routes: at critical times it proved difficult to reinforce or supply front-line units or to evacuate their wounded. The Germans were hampered by much of the same difficulties, of course— their divisions had taken heavy losses on the retreat through France and were hastily filled up with untrained boys, men unfit for service, and old men. Transport was also a problem because of the difficult roads and the lack of trucks and fuel. Most supplies had to be manhandled to the front line. But the German defenders had the advantage that their commanders and many of their soldiers had been fighting for a few years and had learned the necessary tactics for fighting efficiently in winter and forest, whereas the Americans were often well-trained but inexperienced. 4 Panzerfausts in the original casing, displayed in Helsinki Military Museum Panzerfaust. ...


The tall forest canopy also favored the defenders. Artillery fire was fused to detonate as tree bursts. While defenders were protected from shell fragments (and wooden splinters from the trees) by their dug-in defensive positions, attackers were in the open and much more vulnerable.[2] Conversely, U.S. mortar platoons needed clearings in which to work—these were few and dangerous, so support was often unavailable to rifle platoons. An air burst occurs whenever an explosive device such as an anti-personnel artillery shell or a nuclear weapon is detonated in the air instead of on contact with the ground or target or a delayed armor piercing explosion. ...


Opposing armies

The Hürtgen Forest lay within the area of Courtney HodgesU.S. First Army. Responsibility fluctuated between the V Corps and VII Corps. Courtney Hicks Hodges (January 5, 1887 – January 16, 1966) was an American military officer, most prominent for his role in World War II, in which he commanded the U.S. First Army in Northwest Europe. ... Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. First Army. ...


At the start, the forest was defended by the German 275th and 353rd Infantry Divisions; under strength but well prepared—5,000 men (1,000 in reserve)—and commanded by General Schmidt[citation needed], they had little artillery and no tanks. As the battle progressed, German reinforcements were added. American expectations that these troops were weak and ready to withdraw were not matched by events.


U.S. divisions

  • 1st Infantry
  • 3rd Armored
  • 4th Infantry
  • 8th Infantry
  • 9th Infantry
  • 28th Infantry
  • 78th Infantry
  • 83rd Infantry
  • 104th Infantry
  • 5th Armored
  • 7th Armored
  • 366th Fighter Group
  • 82nd Airborne

German divisions

  • 3rd Fallschirmjäger
  • 12th Volksgrenadier
  • 47th Volksgrenadier
  • 89th Infanterie
  • 116th Panzer
  • 272nd Volksgrenadier
  • 275th Infanterie
  • 344th Infanterie
  • 353rd Infanterie

Battle

First phase

This phase concentrated on the town of Schmidt, astride an important German supply route, and the southern part of the forest.


The engagement began on September 19, 1944, with a probe by the U.S. 60th Infantry Regiment that entered the Hürtgen Forest but was beaten back by the terrain and opposition. is the 262nd day of the year (263rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... 60th Infantry Regiment DUI The U.S. 60th Infantry Regiment is a regimental unit in the United States Army. ...


On October 5, the U.S. 9th Infantry Division attacked the town of Schmidt using the 60th and 39th Infantry Regiments while the 47th held a defensive position. The Monschau–Düren road was quickly cut but both regiments were slowed by defenses and suffered significant casualties: the 60th’s 2nd battalion was reduced to a third after the first day. The 39th was halted at the Weisser Weh stream; there were problems with narrow paths, air bursts in trees, fire breaks blocked or enfiladed. Evacuation and supply was difficult or impossible. is the 278th day of the year (279th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The 9th Infantry Division was a unit of the United States Army in World War II. World War II Activated: 1 August 1940. ... The United States Thirty-Ninth Infantry Regiment is a is currently a parent regiment in the United States Army. ... Düren is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, capital of Düren district. ... Butchers Creek, Omeo, Victoria A stream, brook, beck, burn or creek, is a body of water with a detectable current, confined within a bed and banks. ...


The slogging match continued. By October 16, 3,000 yards had been gained at the cost of 4,500 casualties. The U.S. 28th Infantry Division, a Pennsylvania National Guard unit, arrived on October 16 to relieve the battered 9th. October 16 is the 289th day of the year (290th in leap years). ... The 28th Infantry Division [Mechanized] is a unit of the United States Army formed in 1917 in World War I. It continues its service today as part of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. ... Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  Ranked 33rd  - Total 46,055 sq mi (119,283 km²)  - Width 280 miles (455 km)  - Length 160 miles (255 km)  - % water 2. ... The United States National Guard is a component of the United States Army (the Army National Guard) and the United States Air Force (the Air National Guard). ... October 16 is the 289th day of the year (290th in leap years). ...


The 28th Division was reinforced with armor, tracked transport Weasels and air support. Of its three regiments, one was deployed to protect the northern flank, another to attack Germeter, and the third to capture Schmidt, the main objective. The area had terrible terrain with the Kall Trail running along a deep river ravine. This was not tank country, despite the need to support the infantry. // History Background We can look back now and say that Hitlers Germany was not as close to producing an atomic bomb as we thought but during the early part of WWII things did not look quite that way. ... Kall is a village and a municipality in the district of Euskirchen in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ...


The attack by 28th Division started on November 2; the defenders were expecting it and were ready. The U.S. 109th Infantry Regiment was impeded after 300 yards by an unexpected minefield, pinned down by mortar and artillery fire and harassed by local counterattacks. One mile was gained after two days, the 109th dug-in and endured casualties. The U.S. 112th Infantry Regiment attacked Vossenack and the neighboring ridge, which were captured on November 2. The 112th was then halted on the Kall by strong defenses and difficult terrain. The U.S. 110th Infantry Regiment had to clear the woods next to the River Kall, capture Simonskall, and maintain a supply route for the advance on Schmidt; again these were very difficult tasks due to weather, prepared defenses, determined defenders, and terrain. The weather prevented tactical air support until November 5. is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Closing the Falais-Argentan Pocket and the Mortain counterattack 6-17 August 1944 A counterattack is a military tactic used by defending forces when under attack by an enemy force. ... // The 2d Battalion 112th Infantry (Mechanized) heritage can be traced back to the Logan Guards (Lewistown) and the Bellefonte Fencibles both organized in 1858. ... is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The 112th captured Schmidt on November 3, cutting the German supply route to Monschau but no American supply, reinforcement or evacuation was possible as the Kall Trail was blocked. A strong German counterattack by tanks of 116th Panzer Division and infantry from 89th Division rapidly expelled the Americans from Schmidt and they were unable to counterattack. For two days, the 112th remained hard pressed to hold its positions outside Schmidt. is the 307th day of the year (308th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


On November 6, the U.S. 12th Infantry Regiment was detached from the U.S. 4th Division and sent to reinforce the 28th Division. is the 310th day of the year (311th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The 12th Infantry Regiment is a regiment of the United States Army. ... The 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) is a combat division of the United States Army based at Fort Hood, Texas, with one maneuver brigade stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. ...


At Vossenack, the 2nd battalion of the 112th disintegrated after constant shelling and fled a German attack. Following the providential arrival of two U.S. armored platoons of tanks and M10 Wolverine tank destroyers, supported by those 2nd battalion men who had held tight and two companies of 146th Engineers operating as infantry, the fighting for Schmidt continued until November 10. The M10 Gun Motor Carriage known as Wolverine in British service was a US tank destroyer of World War II. // Usage American doctrine planned for tank destroyers to engage enemy tanks while tanks were used principally to support infantry. ... A self-propelled anti-tank gun, or tank destroyer, is a type of armoured fighting vehicle. ... is the 314th day of the year (315th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Second phase

In this phase, the U.S. 4th Div was to clear the northern half of the forest between Schevenhütte and Hürtgen, capture Hürtgen and advance to the Rur (Roer) River south of Düren. From November 10, this would be VII Corps' responsibility and it was part of the main VII Corps effort to reach the Rur. The 4th Division was now fully committed to the Hürtgen, although its 12th Infantry Regiment was already mauled from its action at Schmidt, leaving just two fully effective regiments to achieve the divisional objectives. U.S. VII Corps was opposed by German forces, mainly from the 81st Corps, consisting of three understrength divisions. In the Hürtgen, there was the 275th Division—6,500 men with 150 artillery pieces. They were well dug-in and prepared. The Rur (-German, in Dutch and French: Roer, not to be confused with the Ruhr) is a river in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. ... Düren is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, capital of Düren district. ... is the 314th day of the year (315th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The abstract of a Defense Technical Information Center report describes what happened:[3]

The VII (U.S.) Corps, 1st Army attacked 16 November 1944 with 1st Inf Div, 4th Inf Div, 104th Inf Div, and CCR 5th AD to clear Huertgen Forest and the path of 1st Army to the Roer River. After heavy fighting, primarily by the 4th Infantry Division, VII Corps' attack ground to a halt. V Corps was committed on 21 November 1944. Attacking with 8th Inf Div, and CCR 5th AD, the V Corps managed to capture Huertgen after stiff fighting on 28 November 1944.

The attack started on November 16. The two infantry regiments attacked in parallel columns: the 8th along the northern edge of the forest towards Düren, the 22nd further south in parallel. The open flanks invited infiltration. Similar tactics elsewhere in Hürtgen had “invited disaster”. November 16 is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 45 days remaining. ...


Attacks by the 8th Infantry Regiment on Rother Weh stream hit heavy resistance and were repulsed with heavy losses. The 22nd failed to take Raven’s hedge, beaten back by heavy machine-gun and artillery fire along the firebreaks. After three days there were 300 losses, including officers and NCOs. NCO may mean: a numerically-controlled oscillator in electronics a non-commissioned officer in the military   This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


By November 18 tanks were deemed essential, so engineers blasted tank routes through the forest. Communications and logistics remained a problem, so on November 19 the attack paused to allow re-supply and evacuation of the wounded. German reinforcements arrived from 344th and 353rd Divisions and resistance stiffened further. On November 20, Russell J. York, a medic with the 4th Engineer Battalion, earned a Silver Star in the Weisser Weh battle when heavy shelling hampered efforts to install a bridge. is the 322nd day of the year (323rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 323rd day of the year (324th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 324th day of the year (325th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Russell J. York (b. ... The 4th Engineer Battalion [1] Motto: Volens Et Potens (Willing and Able) Symbolism: Scarlet and white are the colors of the Corps of Engineers. ... The Silver Star is the fourth highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States Armed Forces. ...


Responsibility was returned to V Corps and, on November 21, 8th Division attacked the Weisser Weh valley, continuing towards Hürtgen. The 121st Infantry Regiment hit heavy defenses immediately. Despite armored support from the 10th Tank Battalion, daily advances were less than 600 yards. Hürtgen was taken on November 29 and the battle continued to Kleinhau, one mile north. is the 325th day of the year (326th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The 8th Infantry Division was a unit of the United States Army in World War I and World War II and later. ... is the 333rd day of the year (334th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The final action in the Hürtgen Forest was at Merode, on the northeastern edge of the forest. Two American companies took the village but they were later destroyed in a German counterattack. Merode is an Object Oriented Enterprise Modeling method developed at Kuleuven (Belgium). ...


Elements of the 8th and the 28th Infantry Divisions then advanced on Brandenberg. The 28th Division, just like the 9th before it (and the 4th Infantry Division, which would relieve the 28th), also took heavy casualties during its stay in the Hürtgen Forest. On November 14, the 2nd Ranger Battalion arrived to relieve elements of the 112th Infantry Regiment. On December 6, the Rangers moved on Bergstein and subsequently took the strategic position of Hill 400. Shortly thereafter, on December 12, the towns of Gey and Strass were taken by American Forces. is the 318th day of the year (319th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... December 6 is the 340th day of the year (341st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Hill 400 (also known as Castle Hill) was a 400 meter high hill that provided a view of the entire Hurtgen Forest (German:Hürtgenwald). ... is the 346th day of the year (347th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Aftermath

A U.S. halftrack in the Hürtgen Forest, February 15, 1945
A U.S. halftrack in the Hürtgen Forest, February 15, 1945

On December 16, 1944 German forces began the Ardennes Offensive, more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge. The surprise German offensive caught Allied forces off guard and forced a gigantic bulge in their lines. American units stationed in the area, including the 8th Division, the 104th, the 82nd Airborne and the 101st Airborne staged a defense, typified by the defense of Bastogne, in one of the most important battles of the war and the largest in U.S. history. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (988x1024, 224 KB) Description: A 1st Infantry Division half-track plows its way through a muddy road in the Hurtgen Forest. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (988x1024, 224 KB) Description: A 1st Infantry Division half-track plows its way through a muddy road in the Hurtgen Forest. ... is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants United States  United Kingdom Germany Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Omar N. Bradley George S. Patton, Jr. ... The coat of arms of the Bastogne municipality. ...


The Ardennes Offensive was completely halted by mid-January, and in early February, American forces attacked through the Hürtgen Forest for the final time. On February 10, the Schwammenauel dam was taken by American forces, although the Germans had opened the floodgates of the dam the day before and thus the Rur Valley was flooded, halting the U.S. push for the Rhine across the little river for two further weeks, until the attackers finally managed to cross the river on February 23rd when the waters had sunk again. is the 41st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Rur (-German, in Dutch and French: Roer, not to be confused with the Ruhr) is a river in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. ...


Two soldiers of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division were awarded Medals of Honor for action in the battle one of whom was Lieutenant Colonel George Mabry[1], the second-most highly decorated U.S. soldier of World War II. The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. ... In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ...


Private Edward Donald Slovik, assigned to the 28th Division, chose a court martial rather than fight in the Hürtgen Forest. On January 31, 1945, he became the first American soldier to be executed for desertion since the American Civil War. Private Eddie Slovik Edward Donald Eddie Slovik (February 18, 1920 - January 31, 1945), a private in the United States Army during World War II, was the first United States soldier to be executed for desertion since the American Civil War. ... A court-martial (plural courts-martial) is a military court that determines punishments for members of the military subject to military law. ... is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ...


Casualties

A memorial in Vossenack dedicated to all who fell, regardless of allegiance, victims of the battle for the Hürtgen Forest
A memorial in Vossenack dedicated to all who fell, regardless of allegiance, victims of the battle for the Hürtgen Forest

The U.S. Official History[verification needed] estimated that 120,000 troops, plus replacements, were committed to Hürtgen; by the end there had been 24,000 casualties plus 9,000 non-battle. Two divisions, the U.S. 4th Infantry Division and the U.S. 9th Infantry Division, were so badly mauled that they were withdrawn from the line to recuperate. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 669 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1024 × 918 pixel, file size: 331 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Cross for the victims of the Battle of Hurtgen Forest in Vossenack, Germany Own Foto File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 669 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1024 × 918 pixel, file size: 331 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Cross for the victims of the Battle of Hurtgen Forest in Vossenack, Germany Own Foto File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to... It has been suggested that U.S. 1st Brigade 4th Infantry Division be merged into this article or section. ... The 9th Infantry Division was a unit of the United States Army in World War II. World War II Activated: 1 August 1940. ...


The battle for Schmidt cost 6,184 U.S. casualties—compared with about 4,000 losses by the two divisions at Omaha Beach. German casualties were fewer than 3,000. Combatants United States Nazi Germany Commanders Omar Bradley Norman Cota Clarence R. Huebner U.S. 1st Infantry Division U.S. 29th Infantry Division Dietrich Kraiss German 352nd Infantry Division Strength 43,250 Unknown Casualties 3,000 1,200 The build-up of Omaha Beach: reinforcements of men and equipment moving...


In the second phase, the U.S. 4th Division had advanced 1½ miles by November 20, having suffered 1,500 battle casualties plus non-battle casualties numbering in the several hundreds due to trench foot, frostbite, and exhaustion. After two weeks, three miles had been gained for 4,053 battle and 2,000 non-battle casualties, bringing the November totals to 170 officers and 4,754 men. The 22nd Infantry Division had 2,500 casualties compared to its starting strength of 2,500. is the 324th day of the year (325th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Some units fighting in this operation also fought at Omaha Beach; comparing the two, veterans said the Battle of Hürtgen Forest was a much bloodier fight than Omaha. Ernest Hemingway, who was there, described the battle as “Passchendaele with tree bursts”[2], an appropriate epitaph. Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and journalist. ... Combatants British Empire Australia Canada New Zealand South Africa United Kingdom France German Empire Commanders Douglas Haig Hubert Gough Herbert Plumer Arthur Currie Max von Gallwitz Erich Ludendorff Strength Unknown Unknown Casualties 448,000 killed and wounded 260,000 killed and wounded Western Front Frontiers – Liège – Antwerp – Great Retreat...


Erstwhile enemy remembered

There is a stone monument with a bronze plaque at the Hürtgen military cemetery dedicated by veterans of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division to the memory of Friedrich Lengfeld, a German lieutenant. Lengfeld died on November 12, 1944, of severe wounds sustained while trying to help a wounded American soldier out of the “wild sow (Wilde Sau)” minefield. It is the only such memorial for a German soldier placed by his erstwhile opponents in a German military cemetery.[2]


Historical analysis

Historical discussion revolves around whether the American battle plan made any strategic or tactical sense. One analysis is that U.S. strategy underestimated the strength and determination remaining in the psyche of the German soldier. The impassibility of the dense Hurtgen Forest (and the result-poor artillery & air support) was especially misunderstood by American commanders. Additionally, American forces were concentrated in the village of Schmidt and neither tried to conquer the strategic Rur Dams nor recognized the importance of Hill 400 until an advanced stage of the battle.[4] Hill 400 (also known as Castle Hill) was a 400 meter high hill that provided a view of the entire Hurtgen Forest (German:Hürtgenwald). ...


Today tourists can visit a museum in Vossenack, look at a few of the many Siegfried Line bunkers, and take a walk on the famous Kall Trail.


Notes

  1. ^ Corresponding German Wikipedia article (“Schlacht im Hürtgenwald”)
  2. ^ a b “Tree bursts” refers to a technique using air bursts by deploying artillery shells set to go off in the treetops. This causes hot metal shrapnel and wood fragments to rain down. Since American soldiers had been trained to react to incoming artillery fire by hitting the ground, the technique proved particularly deadly until American GIs learned to “hug a tree” instead during bombardment.
  3. ^ Huertgen Forest: Offensive, Deliberate Attack, Forest, 16 November 1944. http://www.dtic.mil/+(1984).+Retrieved on 2007-02-03.
  4. ^ “Hopes Dashed in the Hürtgen” by Edward G. Miller and David T. Zabecki August 16, 2005, originally an article in World War II magazine

An air burst occurs whenever an explosive device such as an anti-personnel artillery shell or a nuclear weapon is detonated in the air instead of on contact with the ground or target or a delayed armor piercing explosion. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  • Regan, G. More Military Blunders. Carlton Books, 1993.
  • Whiting, Charles. The Battle of Hurtgen Forest. Orion Books, New York, 1989
  • The West Wall Series, Volume 4. Combined Publishing, 2000
  • Miller, Edward G. “A Dark and Bloody Ground: The Hurtgen Forest and the Roer River Dams, 1944–1945” in the Military History Series, Volume 39. Texas A&M University Press.
  • Astor, Gerald. The Bloody Forest: Battle for Hurtgen September 1944—January 1945. Presidio Press, 2000

Further reading

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Battle of Hurtgen Forest
  • The 22d Infantry Regiment in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest
  • 5th Armored Division
  • The Battle of Hürtgen Forest
  • The Battle of the Hürtgen Forest

  Results from FactBites:
 
INEX: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Battle of Hurtgen Forest) (544 words)
The Germans were heavily entrenched in the forest and inflicted heavy casualties in the longest single battle the American Army has ever fought in its history.
There is an ongoing discussion whether the American battle plan made sense; one possibility is that they grossly underestimated the strength remaining in the German military at this point in the war.
The Battle of Hurtgen Forest by Charles Whiting, 274 pp.
Battle of Hurtgen Forest - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2677 words)
The Battle of Hurtgen Forest (German: Schlacht im Hürtgenwald) is the name given to the series of fierce battles fought between the American and German forces during World War II in the Hürtgen forest (or Huertgen forest).
In this phase, the U.S. 4th Div was to clear the northern half of the forest between Schevenheutte and Huertgen, capture Huertgen and advance to the Roer south of Duren.
Hurtgen was taken on 29th November and the battle continued to Kleinhau, 1 mile north.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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