Battle Of The Hurtgen Forest-The Hürtgen Forest, located on the border between Germany and Belgium, was an area of about 129 square kilometers wide, completely wooded. And it was the scene of a battle of great historical significance: the well-known battle of the Hürtgen forest. The region provided a shortcut for the Allies to penetrate Germany. Courtney Hodges, Lieutenant General of the United States Army, was assigned to take over the wooded terrain. However, such a task quickly became a significant stalemate. This is because the well-positioned German defense has diminished the advantage of American troops.
BATTLE OF THE HÜRTGEN FOREST, THE LARGEST CONFRONTATION BETWEEN US AND NAZI GERMANY
The enemy had all the advantages of a robust defensive country in the Battle Of The Hurtgen Forest, and the attacking Americans had to rely almost exclusively on infantry because of the thickness of the forest, “said Dwight Eisenhower, former president of the United States.
After nearly a month of fighting incessantly, US troops had 4,500 casualties. And they had managed to advance a few miles through the forest. Had they gone a little further, the Germans might have opened some dams nearby and flooded the entire forest.
But Hodge had a card up his sleeve. Some members of his army surrounded the northern city of Aachen while battles were taking place in the forest. On October 21, 1944, Aachen became the first major city in Germany to be made by Allied forces. Hodges, instead of encompassing the Hürtgen Forest and bringing much of his troops east to central Germany, decided that it would be best to annihilate German forces in the forest and secure the southern flank.
Thus, in early November, a new offensive was launched by the Allies. However, Hodges army soldiers found several tree traps to which explosives were attached. This was a technique employed by the Germans, in which bombs exploded in trees about 25 to 30 meters above the ground.
The explosions that occurred in the treetops caused shards and pieces of wood to fall like deadly rain on US troops. Some uselessly ducked at the first sounds of the explosions, while others clung to the trees. Minimizing the body area that was exposed to debris that “fell from the sky.”
Battle Of Hurtgen Forest Facts
- Surprises and pitfalls
Substitute soldiers regularly entered the forest, but the pace did not keep pace with the growing number of casualties. Some of the units even lost their entire contingent due to heavy fighting. “It was brutal,” said Jacob Penner, one of the soldiers who entered the forest as a replacement. According to some reports, the soldiers could not see very well while in the forest. That’s because she was so dense and dark. You could hear the wounded screaming for help, and often, the soldiers couldn’t even help their friends.
In addition to the tree traps, the Germans set up a 4-kilometer wide zone with explosive mines every eight steps. This is to prevent any advance of the American troops. Not enough bombs and mines, German shooters were scattered throughout the forest, shooting down all US soldiers who eventually survived the traps.
During the Battle Of The Hurtgen Forest, US troops suffered 33,000 casualties, 9,000 of which were attributed to things not directly linked to combat, such as illness and death by accident. On the other hand, the Germans had 28,000 casualties. Many historians believe that lost lives in the forest were in vain. Since the region had little strategic value. Moreover, while the Americans fought in the woods, the dams on the Roer River remained under German power.
“One way or another, they caught you. You froze to death, or you got sick, or you were blown to pieces,” said Army Lieutenant and Hürtgen survivor Leonard Lomell.
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Conclusion On Battle Of The Hurtgen Forest
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