Battle of Hürtgen Forest

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by CharlesMcCain, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. CharlesMcCain

    CharlesMcCain New Member

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    Here is an excerpt from a blog piece I wrote about the hardships faced by American GI's in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. You can find the rest at my blog Charles McCain


    "There are many battles in World War Two fought by the US Army which were badly planned and fought with untrained troops commanded by generals who had no idea what conditions their soldiers were fighting in or even what was happening at the front. But most of these battles had to be fought. A few did not. The Hürtgen Forest is one of these. The battle is little known. It is overshadowed by the 'Battle of the Bulge' which took place toward midway through the battle. We needed to capture territory on the other side of the forest as staging areas for Allied troops to cross the Rur and Rhine rivers. We also needed to seize two very important dams. We could have gone around the forest on one side or another which is precisely what the Germans expected us to do. But we didn't. We marched right into it. "
     
  2. CharlesMcCain

    CharlesMcCain New Member

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    An excerpt from the Second-Part of the article, which can also be found on my blog Charles McCain

    "To make the Battle for Hürtgen Forest worse, American GIs were badly supplied, equipped, and trained. Incredibly, the US Army was actually short of riflemen since planners in Washington had miscalculated the amount of infantry required to do battle in Western Europe and way underestimated what their casualty rate would be. And their casualty rate was high. By the winter of 1944/45, the US Army was taking 20,000 casualties - killed or wounded - every week. While five million men had been drafted into the American Army, so many were in specialized positions that only 300,000 men were available in infantry and armor to take on the Germans in North West Europe in late 1944/45.

    Cooks, clerks, and surplus ground crew from the US Army Air Force (the US Air Force was part of the US Army until 1947) were rounded up and sent into the line as infantry replacements. Support formation commanders who were ordered to produce a certain number of infantry replacements sent their misfits and jail birds. Men in rear echelons convicted of various offenses short of capital crimes were offered service in the infantry instead of imprisonment. Although most of the German Luftwaffe had been shot out of the sky, the US Army still deployed 198 anti-aircraft battalions. Finally the absurdity of that was noticed and 52 battalions were broken up, producing 38,000 infantry replacements.

    Few of these replacements had received substantive infantry training and there wasn't time to train them. Because the US Army was short of men, it could not pull formations out of the front line for rest, refit, and the training and absorption of replacements. In order to bring decimated units back up to strength, individual replacements were sent."
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  3. CharlesMcCain

    CharlesMcCain New Member

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    CharlesMcCain is a balanced individual [0]
    Here is an excerpt from the last part of the 3-part article you can find the rest on my blog Charles McCain

    "The Hürtgen Forest campaign is a battle that should never have been fought. Thousands upon thousands of American GIs were killed or wounded for no reason in this bloody series of battles. In their CPs far behind the lines, American generals would often wait for hours and hours to hear the results of attacks they had ordered. But word often didn't come until the next day when a scout from another unit would report the attacking unit had been completely shattered with half their men killed and almost everyone else wounded. This went on for months.

    he fighting was so intense that platoons, companies, battalions would have three or four commanding officers in the same number of days. Many units sustained 100% casualties in a few days. When the Battle for the Hürtgen Forest concluded, the "butcher's bill" was as follows: 24,000 Americans: killed, missing, captured, and wounded, plus another 9,000 non-battle casualties which includes soldiers suffering from trench foot, respiratory diseases, and combat fatigue, this last also known as ‘shell shock’, ‘battle fatigue,’ and now ‘post traumatic stress disorder' Many soldiers put in a situation of constant danger for long periods of time will suffer various psychiatric symptoms. Everyone has a breaking point and the longer a person is in a situation such as that the sooner they break."
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  4. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    What's worse, at one point a division was pulled out of Hurtgen to rest and refit...and sent to a "quiet zone" known as the Ardennes. Not too long afterwards, Hitler kicked off the Battle of the Bulge.
     
  5. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Dam, would that just not stink?
     
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