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Battle of the Hurtgen Forest September 19 - December 8 1944 September 1944 Allied forces were pushing into Germany General Courtney Hodges wanted to close to the Rhine River and to do that required driving Nazi forces out of the Hurtgen Forest Laying on the German-Belgian border just east of the Roer River the forest was about 50 square miles It was densely wooded with fir trees that reached 20-30 meters into the air Lack of sunlight turned the forest floor into a dark damp place devoid of underbrush Sgt George Morgan 4th Division describes it best The forest was a helluva eerie place to fight You cant get protection You cant see You cant get fields of fire Artillery slashes the trees like a scythe Everything is tangles You can scarcely walk Everybody is cold and wet and the mixture of cold rain and sleet keeps falling They jump off again and soon there is only a handful of the old men left Ambrose p 167 Not only were the fighting conditions horrible but the reason for the soldiers to be there was meaningless If Allied troops got to the river valley the Germans to the north could release the Roers Dams and flood the valley The forest without Roers dams was completely useless The real objective should have been the Dams which would have been a priceless asset to the Allies The plan of attack was also severely flawed turning the campaign into one of the most useless battles in the European Theater of Operations On September 19 the 3rd Armored and 9th Infantry Divisions began the attack Lieutenants and captains soon found that controlling their men was impossible The troops couldnt see but a few feet past their faces The forest contained no clearings and only narrow trails When the German troops saw the Allied troops from their bunkers they called in presighted artillery fire The few roads that allowed
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