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The Battle of Hurtgen Forest (Siegfried Line 4) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Juli 2007

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The U.S. Army regards the Hurtgen Forest as one of the most desperate battles it has ever fought. Flanking the key German city of Aachen, the forest was one of the formidable natural barriers interspersed with German fortifications in the West Wall in September 1944. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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Charles Whiting served with a reconnaisance outfit in WWII and has since become one of the premier historians of the war. Among his many best-selling works are Patton, The Last Assault, and Death on a Distant Frontier. He currently lives in York, England.
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10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good battle review, difficult to read 19. April 2002
Von H.G.P Gootzen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Mr. Whiting gives a perfect recollection of the different divsions' struggles in that (otherwise beautiful) part of Germany. I have but two remarks. The first the popular reference to the commanding officers as 'Top Brass'. If you use it too much it just gets annoying! Then there is little graphical support of the text. Small situational drawings would have done miracles here. But considering all its a good book.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
This Way To The Death Factory 20. November 2008
Von M. G Watson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
You can say what you want about Charles Whiting. Not a "credentialed" historian. Prejudiced against Americans. Plays fast and loose with sources and refuses to use anotate his work. Makes assertions which are demonstratably untrue. Recycles his own material like a cow chewing its cud. It's all true to some degree ...but it doesn't quite tell the story, either. Whiting has produced some important and very valuable studies in his long career, and while there are decided brown spots on some of his works, he's of that rare breed of historian - in which I would include John Keegan, Stephen Ambrose, David Irving, Alan Clark, and Richard Payne - who writes history in such a manner that people actually want to read it. That is to say, he has some sense of literary aesthetics and an entertaining prose style (the majority of historians can't write to save their a**).

THE BATTLE OF THE HUERTGEN FOREST is one of his best books, not only compulsively readable, but tackling a part of WW2 very few Americans know about - mainly because it was conveniently edited out of the postwar histories (including Eisenhower's entertaining exercise in selective memory, CRUSADE IN EUROPE.) And after reading Whiting's brutal saga of stupidity and slaughter, it's easy to understand why. For the record, the Huertgen is a fifty square mile triangle of primeval forest, in the border country between Belgium and Germany. In 1944 it was weakly held by the Germans, who quite rightly believed no one would be stupid enough to attack through it, much less the Americans, who had just demonstrated their mastery of mobile, open-country warfare while liberating France. Forget the fortresses of Metz or the "impregnable" Siegfried Line - the forest itself was a nearly impenetrable barrier, one which negated Allied air superiority, made wheeled movement impossible, rendered tanks almost useless, and generally favored the defender in every way. For reasons that have to do with ego, bad judgement and a kind of horrible, bureacratic momentum (a sort of throwing good blood after bad), one American division after another was nevertheless fed into what the GI's referred to starkly as"The Death Factory", a decision which eventually cost the U.S. Army 30,000 men, and which becomes all the more appalling when one takes into account the strategically worthless nature of the forest itself.

Told from both sides, Whiting's book recounts the heroic and often futile attempts by the American army to bludgeon their way through the stubborn German resistance, sparing no detail of misery that the soldiers in question had to endure: the impenetrable darkness of the nights, the mud, the freezing rain, the lice, the dank, stinking dugouts, the artillery blasts that would turn the trees into hailstorms of shrapnel, the screams of wounded or shell-shocked men, the confusion and maddening disorientation. (Whiting points out rather acidly that William Westmoreland was a regimental commander during this fighting, and seems to have learned nothing from the experience). No gruesome or heart-redning detail is spared, and the reader comes away from some of the more violent chapters feeling as if he's been clubbed over the head. While it's true that the Americans "won" the battle, finally gaining control of the forest in the spring of 1945, it's hardly the sort of victory anyone celebrates, and it's certainly not the sort of story most historians want to sell to the public. For that reason alone, I'd recommend it, if only to see the bloody mess Eisenhower left on his editing-room floor.
12 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The "Death Factory" in a dark forest 1. Juni 2002
Von Stone Dog - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I thought the book was well written although the maps included never seem to show the places and landmarks described in the chapter it is placed.
I feel the author does an excellent job of communicating the conditions in which the fighting took place: the dreary, dark, forest that seemed to close in on the soldiers, the dampness and the cold, the difficult terrain of ridges and canyons.
The author also does an excellent job of explaining how personal pride and reputation led to feeding division after division, regiment after regiment into a meat grinder that made no strategic difference to the overall campaign. The book shows the complacency of allied "Top Brass" - as he continually refers to them - who thought the war was as good as won. It also shows a detachment of the generals from the guy with a rifle getting shot at every day that is appalling - Ike and the generals living it up in Paris while the average riflemen is trying to stay dry and warm in a foxhole half-filled with water.
On the other side of the fence, in spite of repeated decimation of their ranks, the Germans were still able to put up a deadly defense. One of the most important points of this book is the complete reliance by American infantry on support weapons such as artillery and air power. When those assets were missing, such as in the dense forest, American troops were less effective than the Germans who focused on tactics, unit cohesion, and individual initiative.
There are a lot of lessons for military professionals and historians in the Hurtgen Forest - and they should be learned.
14 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Great Personal Accounts, Suspect Leadership Analysis 18. April 2004
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
As someone who has read a decent number of books on WWII history, I found Whiting's working commendable for his inclsuion of so many personal accounts--they really helped to make the history come alive. I also appreciated his respect for the common soldier and evident respect for their sacrifice and heroism. Unfortunately, I felt the book fell short in a number of ways that damage Whiting's credibility.
First of all, one gets the feeling that he feels pretty much any soldier beyond the rank of Capt is a fool, motivated only by personal ambition. In addition, he slams the character of several senior, senior flag officers with no real cited evidence. For instance, he paints Eisenhower as some sort of philandering, out of touch, comfort-seeking oaf.
Second, Whiting's overall attitude makes him come off as an arrogant know-it-all Monday morning quarterback type. The kind of person you occasionally meet that acts like the answer to every difficult issue is disgustingly simple and those in charge are just complete idiots. Whether or not Whiting is this kind of person or not, I have no idea. However, his writing comes across this way.
Finally, add the first two criticisms to a relatively weak bibliography and I can only conclude that it would be dangerous to put too much faith in Whiting's work. I fear Whiting may use some of the Hurtgen history as a backdrop for his own personal opinions without being honest enough to identify it as his opinion versus known fact.
I cannot for a minute recommend buying the book.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
30,000 Americans wounded, dead, or MIA in the Hurtgen Forest 2. August 2013
Von a serious reader in - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a well written book overall by a prolific British author on the misery and death suffered by green American soldiers from September, 1944 to February, 1945 in the attempt to crack open the West Wall to Nazi Germany. The author used the term "Death Factory" to describe the misery and carnage encountered in the Hertgen Forest in a region of the Ardennes separating Belgium from Germany. This major campaign was waged by eight American infantry and two armored divisions in extremely difficult terrain, favorable to the Germans. Only U.S. General James Gavin questioned why the area needed to be attacked in view of the futility of previous American efforts to break through to Nazi Germany using the same unsuccessful tactics of infantry assaults against dug in German pillboxes and deadly artillery fire into tree tops that were as deadly as shrapnel.

The Romans suffered the loss of an entire legion of soldiers two thousand years before by German tribesmen attacking from nowhere to destroy long columns of legionaires and their camp followers. The same lesson: don't go into dense forests that lack adequate roadnets to support tanks and supply trucks was learned in the Hurtgen campaign, but forgotten twenty years later by another generation of American soldiers attempting attacks in dense jungle terrain in Vietnam from 1965-73.
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