Operations in the Hurtgen Forest
By Captain Kenneth A Peters
An Historical Example of Armored Employment in Woods
Operations in the Hurtgen Forest will be long remembered in the minds of many American soldiers who so gallantly fought the most bitter forest battle of World War II. It has been stated by the Germans that this was the most terrible and ferocious battle in the history of all wars. 1
The history of this battle compiled from observers, documents, and after action reports cannot possibly do justice to the undaunted determination, outstanding courage, and grim tenacity of those men of the fighting divisions who played so vital a role. It is the intent of this article to display a portion of that role, the employment of armor in woods, an historical example of Combat Command R, 5th Armored Division.
The employment of armor in woods poses many problems and difficulties. At first sight, it would appear that armor could not be employed, and if used, committed in a piecemeal and fragmentary manner until the tactical integrity of tank units ceased. Though the primary characteristics of armor in woods is not attained, considerable support can be furnished to further the advancing forward elements.