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Download Hell in Hürtgen Forest: The Ordeal and Triumph of an American Infantry Regiment (Modern War Studies) epub

by Robert S. Rush

Some of the most brutally intense infantry combat in World War II occurred within Germany's Hürtgen Forest. Focusing on the bitterly fought battle between the American 22d Infantry Regiment and elements of the German LXXIV Korps around Grosshau, Rush chronicles small-unit combat at its most extreme and shows why, despite enormous losses, the Americans persevered in the Hürtgenwald "meat grinder."

On 16 November 1944, the 22d Infantry entered the Hürtgen Forest as part of the U.S. Army's drive to cross the Roer River. During the next eighteen days, the 22d suffered more than 2,800 casualties--or about 86 percent of its normal strength of about 3,250 officers and men. After three days of fighting, the regiment had lost all three battalion commanders. After seven days, rifle company strengths stood at 50 percent and by battle's end each had suffered nearly 140 percent casualties.

Despite these horrendous losses, the 22d Regiment survived and fought on, due in part to army personnel policies that ensured that unit strengths remained high even during extreme combat. Previously wounded soldiers returned to their units and new replacements, green to battle, arrived to follow the remaining battle-hardened cadre.

The German units in the Hürtgenwald suffered the same horrendous attrition, with one telling difference. German replacement policy detracted from rather than enhanced German combat effectiveness. Organizations had high paper strength but low manpower, and commanders consolidated decimated units time after time until these ever-dwindling bands of soldiers disappeared forever: killed, wounded, captured, or surrendered. The performance of American and German forces during this harrowing eighteen days of combat was largely a product of their respective backgrounds, training, and organization.

Rush's work underscores both the horrors of combat and the resiliency of American organizations. While honoring the sacrifice and triumph of the common soldier, it also compels us to reexamine our views on the requisites for victory on the battlefield.

This book is part of the Modern War Studies series.

Download Hell in Hürtgen Forest: The Ordeal and Triumph of an American Infantry Regiment (Modern War Studies) epub
ISBN: 0700611282
ISBN13: 978-0700611287
Category: History
Subcategory: Military
Author: Robert S. Rush
Language: English
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas; 1st edition (November 1, 2001)
Pages: 403 pages
ePUB size: 1988 kb
FB2 size: 1888 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 343
Other Formats: lrf docx doc rtf

"Hell in Hurtgen Forest" is a simply wonderful piece of work. This book has multiple layers to provide material for a diverse set of readers and students of WWII history.
First, "Hell" is a thoroughly researched study of the battle of the Hurtgen Forest. The first few chapters detail the 4th Infantry Div, 22d Reg in particular and the opposing German LXXIV Corps - their training, makeup and histories leading up to the battle. Approximately the next half of the book goes through the battle in an organized fashion that one can follow the sequence of events on the different fronts. Dr. Rush uses footnotes liberally to support his work and I found this refreshing - details were present but not "messing up" the flow of the text. Rush (or his editors?) also does something I wish other treatises of this type would do: make clear distinctions between Allied and Axis battle groups in a way a developing student of the field can follow. In "Hell" Rush does this by italicizing all German units - thus it is clear when he is writing about a German vs an American group.
Second, Rush, by detailing a single battle of attrition fought over a limited time span has been able to compare and contrast American and German combat replacement systems and battle effectiveness. Other military historians have previously severely criticized the American troop replacement system of WWII and have proposed that combat effectiveness suffered as a result. Dr. Rush provides ample evidence from his analysis of the Battle of the Hurtgen that this previous thesis is at its heart not accurate. In fact, in this one battle of attrition the American system prevailed and won the battle - and Hurtgen is just one example of this. Thus. "Hell" is also a wonderful work of new thinking that challenges conventional wisdom.
Third, "Hell" is a wonderfully written work. While it is not as "flowery" as books by C. Ryan or S. Ambrose, it is clear, concise and well organized. This book was an absolute pleasure to read. Many historical works with this much depth are quite dry and hard reads, not so with "Hell". Five stars!!!!
Several historians judge the US Army in WWII as a second class competitor when compared to their German opponents. One of the most important comparisons which influenced US Army personnel policies in the 1980's was the supposed great value of the German regimental system when assessing combat effectiveness of the two armies. While some historians have been skeptical of the great value attributed to the German system, the prevailing opinion influenced the US Army to adopt a system more closely allied to the German model. Robert Rush provides the data and analysis to demonstrate that the US Army personnel replacement system in WWII was superior. It is not possible to adequately describe the pro's and con's of the two systems in a short review. Therefore, this is a must-read book for those who care about the influence on combat effectiveness of raising, training, and then replacing casualties under the stress of war.
Very insightful. The book offers a very comprehensive look at the formation of regiments and officer promotions and training. It illuminated the draft and war in ways not seen in previous reads. It gives good insight on the 4th Infantry Division and how regiments progressed and suffered through the war and especially how replacements were used in battles including D-day and the European campaign. A must read!.
The hell that was the Hurtgen was over shadowed by the battle of the Bulge, however the carnage that was endured needs to be told. The book is a masterful account of the bravery of men who fought in tough terrain and inhospitable climates. The book, which draws from first person accounts, tells in great detail the battle as it unfolded, and the horrors of war. While I have read other books on the subject, this gripping, easy to read book is a must for any ETO scholar.
My father was a replacement in the 22nd infantry regiment while it was engaged in the Hurtgen Forest.

If you are interested in a detailed account of this regiment's actions in that battle, this is a book you will definitely want to read.

Extraordinarily detailed with wonderful maps. I'm a student of the Civil War and my main complaint about books I've read about Civil War battles is that they contain a paucity of maps.

This book doesn't have that deficiency.
If you want to plot out which company went where, which platoon was on which other platoon's flank, or what executive officer had to replace which commander, this is for you. If you are looking for a narrative describing what if felt like to be in the hell of the Hurtgen you will find very little of that here. This is fairly dry, much is like an after-action report. There is not much of the story of the men who fought and died here.
Very informative but dry reading. This is a thorough account of the battle in Hurtgen...sometimes tedious but worth the reading.
If you are an American who loves to read about American military superiority, then definitely do not ready this. Well written, well paced. I've read a couple of different books on this battle and this one is a little dry, and that is not a bad thing.