Hermes' Wings

History, Writing and Personal Musings

The Campaign in the Hurtgen Forest

The Green Hell: The Hurtgen Campaign | PDF | 128 Pages | 47 Mb

The Green Hell (4e)

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In the summer of 1944, as the Allied armies swept out of Normandy and Western France, the end of the war seemed within their grasp. But then American troops from the First Army reached a little-charted forest at Hürtgen and a great opportunity arose. Breaching this would gain them the western banks of the Rhine River – the last natural obstacle into Nazi Germany. But almost immediately what started out as a promising advance became a brutal slog.

Ferocious fighting crippled three American divisions and mauled another. The fighting consumed so much that men didn’t even have the energy to bury the dead. Replacements came “bug-eyed, in small, frightened bunches,” many soon to join the casualty lists. One American general called it a dreadful place and “one of the most costly, most unproductive and most ill-advised battles that our army has ever fought.” Another eyewitness, Ernest Hemingway, wrote a novel on the events. But a myopic focus on other campaigns reduced the Hürtgen fighting to a dim memory. Today it is virtually forgotten, especially in America. But Hürtgen remains a landmark of war’s inhumanity, of heroism and the limits of human military endeavor.

Includes: 14 Maps, +80 photographs and illustrations, a detailed order of battle.

This monograph is a result of the surprising number of people who have contacted me over the years asking for more information about this campaign – all because of a study I had once done on a now-defunct website. This work would not have been possible without their interest.

Instead of publishing it for monetary gain, I have instead released my research on this website in the hopes that it will add to the growing public awareness about this half-forgotten campaign and the men who fought it.


Associated pencil art




Ernest Hemingway, a correspondent for Colliers magazine, and a willing participant in combat.


14 responses to “The Campaign in the Hurtgen Forest

  1. Gaspar September 2, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Just some thankful words for sharing this huge research work on such a tough and obscure topic. THANKS.

  2. Erik Jellema March 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    What a wonderful gift by a gifted man! But.. is this book also available as hardcoy?


    • Akhil Kadidal March 14, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks, Erik. No, I decided not to have it published and offered it as a free download to help aid awareness on the Hurtgen Forest campaign.

      • Erik Jellema March 14, 2015 at 1:12 pm

        Pity, I will try to make a good print.

        Thanks anyway and keep up the good work.

      • Akhil Kadidal March 15, 2015 at 12:57 am

        If I remember correctly, I believe that the version of the book available for download is high-resolution. It should print just fine. Let me know if there are any problems. I may have set some PDF restrictions.

        Best wishes on your tour

  3. Norbert Rosin August 3, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Hallo from Germany,
    The picture on page 10 is not artillery fire in the Huertgen Forest but it is a picture of a blown up bunker by the Americans near Uebach Palenberg north of Aachen. You can see the mast with the signal lines at the railroad track. from Geilenkirchen to Aachen.

  4. Norbert Rosin August 3, 2017 at 5:00 am

    On page 11,
    The name of the German Field Marshal is Walter Model, not Mödel.

    • Akhil Kadidal August 3, 2017 at 5:27 am

      Yeah, there are a few typographical errors and corrections to the document that I’ve never gotten around to fixing because it involves a fair amount of time and work — the files needs to be opened in Indesign, corrected, rendered and then uploaded. It’s a pain. I’ll get it done in a couple of months when I get some free time. The monograph does need updating anyway.

  5. John Chernitsky May 22, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Nicely done, my Father fought with the 28th, 110th Infantry Regiment, from Normandy across France and was eventually captured during the Bulge, a Technical Sergent of an Anti-Tank company. He always said the Hurtgen was the worst, that the brass never came to the front and there was never any mention of the dams.

    • Akhil Kadidal May 22, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Many thanks. I appreciate you mentioning details of your father’s service. Your last statement, however, is interesting because it seems to indicate that the brass never really informed the regimental commanders and those below about the strategic objectives of the campaign.

  6. Anonymous August 26, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Just saw your website. I read your pdf file on the Huertgen campaign and enjoyed it. Thanks for writing. I wondered in your research, did you manage to get the total German casualties? I have read numbers of 28,000 with 12,000 dead?

    • Akhil Kadidal August 26, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Hi, I’m out of town at the moment and for the life of me, I can’t remember any of the casualty figures in my research notes. I’ll have to get back to you at the end of the week.

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