The 1944 Battle of the Hürtgen Forest, east of Aachen, Germany, raged from September into December, when the Battle of the Bulge overtook it. It featured brutal combat against dug-in German troops in dense woods, testing GIs’ endurance. NATIONAL ARCHIVES photos
Two medics treat Benny Barrow for wounds sustained the very same day he helped his buddy up the hill. Barron was one of up to 35,000 American casualties—killed, wounded, or missing—in the Hürtgen Forest.
Troops ride 3rd Armored Division tank destroyers up a narrow, muddy road in the Hürtgen Forest. The overall goal of the US advance in the German woodland was to pierce the forest, cross the Roer River, and reach the Rhine. But tangled woods, impassable roads, and dug-in enemy firepower turned the assault into a bloodbath.
In January 1945, at the end of the Battle of the Bulge, three men of an intelligence and reconnaissance platoon use skis on patrol in the snow-covered Hürtgen Forest. Their mission is to explore an underground tunnel that the Germans used, it seemed, to get behind the American lines.
The Hürtgen Forest was secured in early 1945, but that didn’t make it an easy place to navigate. This half-track of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, braves a flooded road in the battle-ravaged forest.