The Bloody Forest: Battle for the Huertgen, September 1944-January 1945

By Gerald Astor | Go to book overview

10
THE START OF THE GREAT NOVEMBER
OFFENSIVE

Originally, the plan called for the new offensive to start as early as 10 November, but through the 13th, the weather refused to cooperate. Heavily overcast skies, frequently punctuated by outbursts of rain or even snow, canceled air missions. And while the strategists vainly waited for more benign skies, the ordeal for some American tenants in the forest continued. On 10 November, while the men of the 28th Division and the 707th Tank Battalion vainly struggled to maintain the semblance of an organized armed force, at First Army, Sylvan summarized: Situation was more or less status quo. The need to hold Vossenack; 1st Bn. of 109th in north and 2d Bn. of 109th and 3d Bn. of 112th made astonishing progress to within 1,000 yards of Huertgen. What is truly astounding is the credence the First Army granted to any indication of success, for it was obvious to anyone except perhaps those at Hodges's headquarters that the 28th Division soldiers were themselves under siege. The first reinforcements, the troops of the 12th Infantry, had already been repulsed with such tremendous damage that the outfit could not play any immediate role in the coming offensive.

The appalling conditions soon seemed to blast the unwarranted optimism and hopes. Sylvan noted the next day: ". Gerow was closeted in . [ Hodges] office this afternoon from 2 until almost 5:30. The Gen. is still far from satisfied with the situation and the relief of 28th Div. Concerned with what steps to take to enhance the military situation. Main question of the day was about the weather, and preliminary reports gave no cause for hope and the final report telephoned shortly before 12 o'clock being no."

With the First Army still grounded by the atmospheric conditions on 12 November, Sylvan deadpanned, "After lunch Gen. left for the VII Corps, where Gen. Collins tried unsuccessfully to woo away from

-179-

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The Bloody Forest: Battle for the Huertgen, September 1944-January 1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - At the Westwall 1
  • 2 - The Attack Begins 10
  • 3 - Into the Woods 37
  • 4 - Stalled 53
  • 5 - Schmidt Number One 65
  • 6 - Schmidt Again 85
  • 7 - Turns for the Worst at Schmidt 105
  • 8 - Defeat Deepens 127
  • 9 - The Grand Disaster 148
  • 10 - The Start of the Great November Offensive 179
  • 11 - We Were There Tobe Killed 203
  • 12 - Thanksgiving Celebrations 231
  • 13 - Costly Successes 256
  • 14 - Deeper into the Woods 273
  • 15 - Overlooking the Roer 300
  • 16 - The Capture of the Dams 332
  • 17 - Postmortems 356
  • Roll Call 367
  • Bibliography 377
  • Index 381
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