Battle at the Huertgen Forest 1944/45
'Lest we forget !'
Stretching north-east from the Belgian-German border, the Huertgen Forest covers an area of about fifty square miles within the triangle formed by the towns of Aachen, Dueren and Monschau. From September 1944 to February 1945 thousands of American soldiers advanced upon the Germans through this forest. Other battles on the Western Front of World War II have been more dramatically decisive, but none was tougher or bloodier.- Close-ranked fir trees, towering 75-100 feet made the Hürtgen Forest a gloomy, mysterious world where the brightness of noon was muted to an eerie twilight filtering through dark trees onto spongy brown needles and rotted logs.
The following American units fought in those woods, at one or the other time:
- o Infantry: The 1st, 4th, 8th, 9th, 28th, 78th, 83rd, 104h Division and the 82nd Airborne Division
- o Armor: The 3rd, 5th, and 7th Division.
- o Support was rendered by individual tank, tank-destroyer, ranger, cavalry, artillery, engineer, chemical and medical units.
- o P-38 Lightnings, P-47 Thunderbolts, and P-51 Mustangs of the 'USAAF Tactical Air Command' supported the groundforces whenever the weather was flyable.
Those German units opposed the US Forces:
- o Infantry Divisions: 12th, 47th, 89th, 272nd, 275th, 344th, 353rd 3rd Fallschirmjägerdivision, 6th Fallschirmjägerregiment
- o Armor: 9th and 116th Panzerdivision. Approximately 120,000 Americans, plus individual replacements, augmenting that number by many Thausends ,fought in the battle.
More than 24,000 Americans were killed, went missing, were wounded or captured. . Another 9,000 succumbed to the misery of trench foot, respiratory diseases and combat fatigue.
Some 80,000 German soldiers fought in this battle. An estimated 28,000 were rated casualties. „A major military error!“ - „The Death Factory!“ - „A Hell of Icicles!“ were echoes from those men who were thrown into the inferno of the Huertgen Forest Battles. This website commemorates a battle which should never have been, - a battle which senior staff officers in the rear fought on maps, not being aware of, that battles are never won or lost on maps, - but „Up Front!“
A German veteran, at that time aged 17, who has launched this page, conducts Battlefield Tours, for more than 25 years by now. He takes groups and individuals to the sites of past severe battles and their silent witnisses. He tells them what happened in those dreary days, weeks and cold month in 1944/45 during the rather unknown and costly Battle of the Huertgen Forest, - in Germany.
Interested in Touring the Huertgen Forest Battlefield Sites ?
Please contact : Klaus R. Schulz