Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Battle of Huertgen Forest (October-November 1944)

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by merdiolu, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Istanbul Turkey
    I am wondering why every WWII enthustiastic is aware of Operation Market Garden or Battle of Bulge (probably due to improper press coverage ) but not about Huertgen Forest batttles in West Wall during 1944 autumn. Is it because it was slow grinding attrition battle under adverse weather conditions and uninteresting for press corps , is it because due to huge number of casaulties among US troops ? (33.000 were killed , wounded or missing) , is it because it was a German defensive sucess and they held 12th Army Group on West Wall and Rhineland frontiers long enough to regroup for Ardennes Offensive ?

    Huertgen forests were by the way both strategicsally worthless (after capture of Aachen and Roer dams 1st US Army could by pass it instead Bradley and Hodges sent more and more divisions to easily defended woods fortified by Germans with defensive belts) German Army Group B commanded by Field Marshall Model was aware of the route Allied advance would take between Aachen and Roer , prepared its positions in woods accordingly and thoughly to cause maximum number casaulties to approaching US infantry divisions. Between October-November 1944 more than eight US infantry divisions fought on there to advance six miles and suffered heavily. 4th and 28th US Infantry Divisions both lost almost half of their strength were pulled back and sent relatively "quiet" Ardennes sector to rest only to be attacked there on December 1944 when "Wacht on Rhine" commenced.
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    93
    I don't ever recall watching a film called 'The Battle of Huertgen Forest' when I was younger. :unsure:
     
  3. The Great Greek

    The Great Greek Sock Puppet

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Mt. Olympus
    Heurtgen? Whats to tell?

    The actions of some 8 different divisions to clear and occupy the two towns of Kommerscheidt and Schmidt. The rolling, rockhard forrested terrain mixed with a liberal sprinkling of fixed defenses and other terrifying toys. Attempting to complete the mission involved a tortturous advance along the Kall Trail, before settling into 'jump off" positions before the twin objectives.

    The Kall trail was isolated, rugged and narrow, everything a less than suitable supply route should be. After two months of extreme difficulties just moving supplies, the project was abandoned, leaving a host of units with a long casualty list (lots of limbs gone from mines), and cases of people breaking down completely from the strain for the first time since D-Day and the Bocage. Additionally for the first time since D-Day and the bogage, the Allied Armies were losing men and materials faster than the Nazis.

    Remember it? Man, that place was the 'Peleliu' of the ETO!!

    Nobody wanted to remember!
     
  4. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,670
    Likes Received:
    273
    I think the operating question here is why Bradley and Hodges kept shoving troops into a meat grinder for such questionable objectives. Did we learn anything from Italy and the bocage? Apparently not. Hemmingway called it "...a Passchendaele with tree bursts". If one can find it, there's a good little book put out way back in '63 and reprinted in '84 called "The Battle of the Huertgen Forest" by Charles B MacDonald (who also wrote "Company Commander"). By the way, it's believed that German and American casualties were about equal.
     
  5. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Istanbul Turkey
    Actually German casaulties in Huertgen were far less , between 10.000 - 14.000 and they held Kommerscheidt and Schmidt then retreated beyond Kall in good order in November. US casaulties were no less than 33.000 though.
     
  6. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Messages:
    1,192
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    CA Norte Mexico, USA
    https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?type=odc059&hspart=avast&hsimp=yhs-001&p=when+trumpets+fade

    Dwight Yoakam,

    Starring

    Ron Eldard
    Frank Whaley
    Zak Orth
    Dylan Bruno

    Music by

    Geoffrey Burgon

    Distributed by

    HBO

    When Trumpets Fade is a TV war film from 1998 directed by John Irvin, produced by John Kemeny and written by W.W. Vought. It is based on a true story of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest in Autumn of 1944.

    Not great but you get the difficulty aspect of hitting the Siegfried line and the resultant morale issues.
     
  7. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,670
    Likes Received:
    273
    Merdiolu,

    Where did you get your stats? Most of what I've read places German casualties in the 25-28 thousand ball park. Many German records and unit histories have been lost or destroyed so an exact number is unlikely to be found.
     
  8. The Great Greek

    The Great Greek Sock Puppet

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Mt. Olympus
    Just recall that in the Great War, the British Army tried very hard to believe that it's losses on the Somme were less, or even on par with, their defending german foe.. At Third ypres, the same claim was made. Both claims were ludicrous whitewash.

    I suspect something like that went on with Huertgen; Omar Bradley wishing to explain away a bloodbath operation, something he was solely responsible for, and fudging your own casualties as "equal to the enemy" is an old trick that fools no-one.

    Morrison's history of the ETO makes little mention of this debacle. One would think Bradley wrote that chapter while Sam was on holiday.
     
  9. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,670
    Likes Received:
    273
    Excuse me, but that is speculation TGG. It is possible that you're correct but you have shown no proof of that.
     
  10. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,661
    Likes Received:
    69
    Huertgen forest was Bradley's two biggest mistakes and contributed to the initial defeat in the Bulge attack.
     
  11. The Great Greek

    The Great Greek Sock Puppet

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Mt. Olympus
    True Harold, true.

    But ask yourself this. This was not the first time an Omar Bradley inspired mess that was hard to get the full picture concerning casualties. The number of dead and wounded suffered on Omaha bBeach, D-Day was an obscured figure for quite a long time. Only recently have we been able to piece it together, certainly no thanks to anything Gen. Bradley might have said in his memoirs or elsewhere.

    Bradley strove hard to portray his time in 44-45 Europe as an example to all, the 'soldiers soldier' delivering the goods without fuss nor feathers, whilst rude maveriks like Patton stole all the glory. It was an act that went as far as Bradley totally misrepresenting Georgie (during his co-operation for the film "Patton-Lust for Glory") as an old pagan with a messiah complex, sprouting scripture and seeing visions. Patton wasn't like that at all, but there was Omar's name right up there as a technical advisor, promoting the Bradley Myth all the way.

    Patton was an intellectual first and foremost, who had read more books on the practice of military theory as it applied to Europe than possibly any other living American of his day. He certainly made people like Omar Bradley look ordinary. And of course, Omar was a good boy for Eisenhower, with no outbursts for the media. But, look at Pattons use of the media and see that soldiers in Bradley's army would have been hard pressed to tell you who he was.

    Ask any man in the Third Army, down to the last cook, who was running their 240,000 man operation and they would have told you alright. Patton may have looked like a fool to some sections of the press, but to others he was larger than life, and who was Omar Bradley again?

    So, you get the picture that cloaking your own casualties in a shroud for years tends to invite suspicion that there may just well be something to hide from the perspective of one General Omar. N. Bradley, United States Army in Europe.
     
  12. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,670
    Likes Received:
    273
    Well, TGG, it seems our casualties in the Huertgen were fairly well documented: approx. 33,000 if you include non-battle casualties such as trenchfoot, other diseases and psych casualties. It's the German casualties that are up in the air. Are you saying that Brad suppressed the number of German casualties in that battle?
     
  13. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    WW2 enthusiasts are probably aware of Huertgen...it is one of my favorite reads..it wasn't as ''splendid'' as MG<>gliders/paras/bridge battles/etc
     
  14. dude_really

    dude_really Doesn't Play Well With Others

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2014
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    3
    plus there isn't the habitual tourist sector village with hotels and camping sites to receive many veterans and their families...
     

Share This Page