- Taschenbuch: 256 Seiten
- Verlag: The History Press Ltd (1. Juli 2007)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1862273960
- ISBN-13: 978-1862273962
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12 x 3 x 20 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.060.657 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
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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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.
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.
The author predominately writes about the losses and setbacks the GIs experienced without giving equal time to the successes and achievements; he gives the impression the US messed up most of the time. (He does give a few examples of American bravery.) The Germans had all of the advantages: prepared defenses, control of the high ground, knowledge of the forest, experience in forest fighting. The Americans had poor support from tanks, artillery and little air cover. Many of the soldiers were replacements with little or no experience; the logistics were poor. With these disadvantages and the German advantages, the author is right that the Hurtgenwald should have been bypassed but it wasn't and the US troops did eventually overcome these serious obstacles, reaching the Roer River.
The author, by using what seems like hundreds of personal experiences, does present the hardships of fighting in the forest and the clever practices of the Germans that had to be overcome but the coverage of battle was not complete. The largest amount of time is spent on the repeated attempts by 9th ID and 28th ID and others in reaching, capturing and keeping the important town of Schmidt but there is only tactical snippets of Grosshau, Merode, Gey, Strass etc. Theres a little bit on the dams, Operations Veritable, Grenade, capturing the Ruhr and the end of Model. The author closes the book with Vietnam and on how the US didn't learn anything from the horrors of the Hurtgen Forest and the destruction of young men by enjoining another meat grinder.
Outside of the campaign on capturing Schmidt, there is really very little tactical coverage of the many battles; books by MacDonald, Rush and Miller are much more complete and still show the difficulties of battle plus poor planning and command but with less emphasis on sarcasm and debasement.
There were three general maps but none of them showed deployments or axes of attack. There were a few photos, showing men and the battlefields of the Hurtgen Forest.
There is a simple Notes section and index but no Bibliography.
If the author wasn't so disparaging to the GIs, four stars would have been given. If you read this book, please read one of the other authors as well to get a fuller account of the tactical aspects of the campaign and a more balanced account of the GIs' performance.
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.