June 29, 2011
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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.