Hell in Hurtgen Forest: The Ordeal and Triumph of an American Infantry Regiment

By Gates, James | Air & Space Power Journal, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview

Hell in Hurtgen Forest: The Ordeal and Triumph of an American Infantry Regiment


Gates, James, Air & Space Power Journal


Hell in Hurtgen Forest: The Ordeal and Triumph of an American Infantry Regiment by Robert Sterling Rush. University Press of Kansas (http:// www.kansaspress.ku.edu), 2501 West 15th Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66049-3905, 2001, 400 pages, $34.95.

The guns had barely cooled from World War II when the US Army's performance came under scrutiny. Historian S. L. A. Marshall set the tone in 1947 with his Alen against Fire: The Problem of Battle Command in Future War, which argued that, at best, only 25 percent of soldiers had fired their weapons-and these men were elite troops, like rangers and paratroopers! Later studies such as Col Trevor N. Dupuy's Numbers, Prediction, and Wary: Using History to Evaluate Combat Factors and Predict the Outcome of Battles (1979), Russell F. Weigh ley's Eisenhower's Lieutenants: The Campaign of France and Germany, 1944-1945 (1981), Martin van Creveld's Fighting Power: German and US Army Performance, 1939-1945 (1982), and John Ellis's Brute Force: Allied Strategy and Tactics in the Second World War (1990) argued that the Allies bludgeoned their way to victory with superior numbers.

Nearly all of these authors criticize the US Army for its replacement system and the number of divisions fielded. Known as the 90-division gamble, the plan involved creating a small number of divisions but keeping them at full strength with a huge replacement pool. In theory this was a great idea, but in practice it did not work well. Fighting on four fronts (Italy, France, the Central Pacific, and the Southwest Pacific) forced commanders to keep units there too long, and the latter rarely had the opportunity to pull back for rest and refit. Consequently, as the argument goes, replacements went directly into combat with little opportunity to acclimate themselves either to the unit or to combat conditions, resulting in a reduction of effectiveness.

With the publication of Keith E. Bonn's When the Odds Were Even: The Vosges Mountains Campaign, October 1944-January 1945 in 1994, this image has undergone reevaluation. The terrain, weather, and enemy strength favored the Germans, yet US troops successfully overcame these disadvantages to defeat a battle-hardened and tenacious foe. Besides Bonn's work, the University Press of Kansas has published a trilogy that directly challenges the Army's detractors. Michael D. Doubler's Closing with the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945 (1994) argues that the US Army entered France on D day as a green, untested force, but its ingenuity, imagination, and flexibility enabled it to adapt to new and unforeseen situations quickly and defeat the Germans. Instead of exhibiting a "how stupid they were attitude," Doubler presents an army that expanded from roughly 160,000 men in 1940 to over 8 million by 1944, successfully invaded France, and within 11 months destroyed the German army in the west.

Peter R. Mansoor's The GI Offensive in Europe: The Triumph of American Infantry Divisions, 1941-- 1945 (1999) takes Doubler's work a step further by examining the performance of US infantry divisions. Contrary to the stance of van Creveld and others, Mansoor maintains that the American Army was more effective than the armies of its adversaries. He agrees that the replacement system was not ideal but argues that the Army took steps to mitigate its disadvantages and generate the combat power necessary to defeat the enemy.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hell in Hurtgen Forest: The Ordeal and Triumph of an American Infantry Regiment
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.