The Longest Battle Ever Ever Fought by the US Army - Hürtgen Forest

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The Battle of Hürtgen Forest, known in Germany as Schlacht in Hürtgenwald, is the most extended single Battle the US Army has ever fought.

It was composed of a series of ambushes, skirmishes, and offensives in the Hürtgen Forest on the Belgian-German border between September 19 and December 16 of 1944.

The US's goal was to keep the Germans busy from reinforcing the units fighting in the Battle of Aachen. Additionally, American troops were tasked with capturing Schmidt and Monschau, paving the way for venturing into the heartland.

American author Ernest Hemingway, a reporter for a magazine at the time, and friend of Col. Lanham, an American officer who took part in the clash, described the Battle as "Passchendaele with tree bursts."

As a WW1 veteran himself, he recalled the grim encounter of 1917 in which British and Canadian forces suffered more than 300,000 casualties in gaining a little more than a five-mile salient.

In Hürtgen Forest, the Americans suffered nearly the same fate. Surrounded by overgrown darkness and attacked by the cold weather, they paid with blood every inch of ground they took from the last German defenders of the Reich.

Many Allied soldiers believed the Battle was useless because it had no clear strategic purpose from the very beginning. It was a failure that cost more than 30,000 unnecessary lives in the US.

The admirable German resistance shown during the fierce encounters was a prelude of what was to come with every future Battle the Americans would face as they approached Berlin.

American GIs referred to the three months of continuous combat as the Green Hell that almost broke US troops' morale on the Western Front.

- As images and footage of actual events are not always available, Dark Docs sometimes utilizes similar historical images and footage for dramatic effect. I do my best to keep it as visually accurate as possible. All content on Dark Docs is researched, produced, and presented in historical context for educational purposes. We are history enthusiasts and are not always experts in some areas, so please don't hesitate to reach out to us with corrections, additional information, or new ideas. -
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