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The Battle of Hurtgen Forest: The Untold Story of a Disastrous Campaign Hardcover – Jun 1989


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Hardcover, Jun 1989
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Pub; 1 edition (Jun 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517566753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517566756
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,920,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. J. Ellis on 14 Sep 2002
Format: Paperback
What a book, my friends pestered for years to read this and boy do I wish I had read it sooner. The information in this book shows the utter waste of war and poor judgment of the commanding generals. The Germans showed how poorly the allied division were able to cope with being at the 'sharp end' without aircover and in a harsh environment without proper supplies. The book shows the allies doing what they do best 'sheer brute force' to achieve there aims in taking the forest and the aims set by those in rear; who had no idea and did not wish to know how the 'poor bloody infantry' lived and died. A meat grinder of book is what the book shows, not for the faint hearted.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Antill on 27 April 2007
Format: Paperback
While the subject matter is of great interest Whiting's book does not do it justice. The book does portray the horror and bitterness of the fighting in the forest well but fails in other areas. In particular it is somewhat poorly written and highly repetetive. It description of operational detail is lacking and while the book starts off well it eventually becomes a very poor "will they or won't they" style thriller.

I would recommend readers consider a different book on this subject.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By IstanbulPricey on 4 Jan 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr Howells has provided a very detailed synopsis of the battle, so I won't labour that point. I have to say, I was blissfully unaware of this particular battle until I fell on the book here on the Amazon web site. I finally read it and I did find the book quite absorbing. The descriptions of the horrors experienced by the poor bloody infantry (and the tank crews, artillery men, etc) are well-represented. That the battle was largely pointless, leading to casualties numbering in the tens of thousands for the US army (and, indeed for the Germans) to try and take 50 square miles of forest is well made by the author, Charles Whiting (noms de plume: Leo Kessler, Duncan Harding and John Kerrigan, and writer of some 250 books, many of which were novels.) It's a hard read, as chapter after chapter describes further unsuccessful attempts to overrun the German positions - inevitably with the same result - massive casualty numbers for little gain. Huertgen was unarguably a bitterly fought battle.

So, this is an important, but little known, battle, if only to demonstrate that the rush from Brittany to Germany was not without its difficulties and that the Germans fought a hard campaign of attrition on the Allies.

What I had more difficulty with is Mr Whiting's style. It struck me right from the start with his constant references to the commanders (general level) as the 'Top Brass', an expression you don't hear frequently these days. Mr Whiting served during the war (52nd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment in NW Europe) and I don't know if he had some bad experiences with generals, but he certainly has little time for them.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David I. Howells on 20 Jun 2007
Format: Paperback
This terrible story of the battle of the Hürtgen forest is told by the celebrated military historian Charles Whiting. It's fulcrum centres around a needless battle fought by the US army that led to the wasteful slaughter of over 30,000 US servicemen. This historically neglected battle was later overshadowed by the battle of the Bulge and its 90,000 casualties which took place soon after.

In the autumn and early winter of 1944, the US army was advancing between the Rhur river and Aachen. Instead of bypassing the dense conifered Hurtgen forest and isolating its defenders the US army entered the area to take it from the Germans. In an area broken by few roads, tracks and firebreaks and where vehicular movement was restricted, the GI's advanced against well prepared and stoutly defended German positions. The battle then commenced without the customary overwhelming allied air and armoured superiority.

On the defensive side the small numbers of routes and clearings had allowed German machine-gun, mortar and artillery teams to pre-range their weapons and fire accurately. In this defensive environment relatively small numbers of determined and prepared defenders were highly effective...as the GI's found out to their cost! The German defenders had prepared their defensive positions well with blockhouses, minefields, barbed wire, and booby-traps. There were also a number of bunkers in the area belonging to the deep defences of the Siegfried Line, which were centres of stiff and determined resistance. The dense forest also allowed infiltration and flanking movements by both sides and it was sometimes difficult to establish a front line or to be confident that an area had been cleared of the enemy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hussar on 27 Nov 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very absorbing book and very worthy of the pleasing reviews it has received so far. I loved reading it and found the style very different from normal history books - being written, seemingly, by someone who fully understands the perspective of the PBI.

Well worth reading and well worth adding to your bookshelf.

More people sould know about this battle.
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