A Dark and Bloody Ground: The Hurtgen Forest and the Roer River Dams, 1944-1945

By Waddell, Steve R. | Military Review, September/October 1997 | Go to article overview

A Dark and Bloody Ground: The Hurtgen Forest and the Roer River Dams, 1944-1945


Waddell, Steve R., Military Review


A DARK AND BLOODY

GROUND: The Hurtgen Forest and the Roer River Dams, 1944-1945 by Edward G. Miller. 250 pages. Texas A&M University Press. College Station. 1995. $29.95.

This book gives a detailed account of the September 1944 to February 1945 battle of Hurtgen Forest. The author focuses on a detailed tactical examination of the battle and an overview of the operation's objective-or lack of one. The objective issue centers on why senior leaders did not recognize the Roer River dams' importance early in the operation.

Miller superbly gives the reader an awareness of the complexities of forest combat, following VII Corps' entry into the forest, through the Battle of Schmidt and to the eventual capture of Hurtgen Forest and the Roer River dams. This book helps the reader understand the difficulties inherent in fighting in the woods in bad weather against a determined opponent. The nightmares of trees bursting, freezing rain, frozen ground, limited visibility, lack of training, a poor replacement system and limited combined arms capability is all too apparent.

Miller's detailed examination of the battle's tactical side is the book's strongest aspect. The ferocity of the fighting, the heavy casualties and the battle 's ultimate futility bring Miller to his second point. …

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