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"Hell in the Forest: The 22d Infantry Regiment in the ..." Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2021 8:18 p.m. PST

….Battle of Hurtgen Forest

"On 16 November 1944, the 4th Infantry Division attacked into the Hurtgen Forest as one of the ten divisions participating in Operation Queen, a combined offensive by the First and Ninth U.S. Armies to seize the Rhine River crossings into Germany.

As one of the infantry regiments of the 4th Division, the 22d Infantry spent 18 days in November and early December 1944 in the Hurtgen Forest. In a battle many believed mattered little in the big picture, the 22d suffered 2,773 casualties, or 85% of its normal complement of 3,257 soldiers, to take one village and 6,000 yards of forest. Each rifle company went into action averaging 162 soldiers. Seven days later the rifle companies averaged 87. Even this number required 42% replacements. By the end of the battle, losses of the rifle companies reached an estimated 151% of their original strength.

Although the 22d Infantry suffered these very heavy casualties, the U.S. Army's practice of replacing casualties while units were still in combat kept the unit from ever falling below 75% strength. Total replacements amounted to 1,988 soldiers. GEN Rudolf-Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorf, chief of staff for the German Seventh Army, called the fighting in the Hurtgen worse than anything he had seen on the Russian Front, and compared it in intensity to the battles of attrition conducted during the last two years of World War I…"
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Nine pound round14 Nov 2021 4:28 a.m. PST

The phrase "Passchendaele with tree bursts" was Ernest Hemingway's – it's not mentioned in the article, but Hemingway and Lanham were close friends, and Hemingway tagged along at the 22nd's CP through much of the Hurtgen fighting. Just as Hemingway was principally a writer who wanted to be a man of action, Lanham was a man of action who wanted to be a writer. They two men remained close after the war, corresponding with one another up until Hemingway's suicide. Lanham is generally thought to be the original for the character of "Colonel Cantwell" (a somewhat dubious name) in "Across the River and Into the Trees."

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2021 2:26 p.m. PST



Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2021 7:54 p.m. PST

Exhausted GIs of the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, after hours of fierce fighting in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, November 18, 1944. [1760x1501]



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