Talk:Battle of Hürtgen Forest

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This article might benefit from wider sourcing.

For casulties, you could look at looking at the official US Army Surgeon General's history of the battle, at:

The account says: "The divisions suffered over 30,000 casualties in killed, wounded, missing in action, combat exhaustion, and to various disease and non-battle injuries....The fighting in the Hürtgen Forest was but one part of the overall Siegfried Line campaign during which the U.S. Army suffered very significant battle casualties, missing in action and captured, and disease and nonbattle losses. First and Ninth U.S. Armies 57,095 incurred battle casualties alone during the entire Siegfried Line Campaign. First U.S. Army combat losses totaled 47,039 (Killed 7,024 Wounded 35,155 Missing and Captured 4,860)."

The account concludes by saying:

"As the First Army G-3, General Thorson, put it succinctly: "We had the bear by the tail, and we just couldn't turn loose." More than 8,000 men from the First Army fell, prey in the forest to combat exhaustion and the elements. Another 23,000 were either wounded, missing, captured, or killed. That was an average of more than 5,000 casualties per division."

What had been gained at this cost? The Americans had battered at least six German divisions. They also had eliminated hundreds of individual replacements. They had conquered a formidable forest barrier by frontal assault. They also had forced the Germans to commit some of the forces intended to be held intact for the Ardennes counteroffensive. Beyond these, the fight in the forest had achieved little in the way of positive advantages—no German industry, limited roads. The basic truth was that the fight for the Huertgen Forest was predicated on the purely negative reason of denying the Germans use of the forest as a base for thwarting an American drive to the Rhine. In the process the fight thus far had failed to carry the only really critical objective the forest shielded—the Roer River Dams." Gaintes (talk) 16:08, 2 October 2008 (UTC)


You might want to watch When Trumpets Fade Find out more about it at


Please do not put umlauts on every word. Google UK and other search engines distinguish between a word with a umlaut and without. If the article has all the words spelt Hürtgen then people searchin with Google in the UK NZ Aus SA and other will not find it. Neither of the references supplied use umlauts or the ue spelling. Philip Baird Shearer 20:34, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Ok, I get your point now. However, the name is Hürtgenwald, and leaving out the ü makes it another word. The ue is a barely acceptable replacement, a plain u is not. To help the search engines I propose we add a statement like "(sometimes called Hurtgenwald in English-written literature.)". Ok? --Yooden 20:58, 2005 Jan 31 (UTC)

No this is an English Encyclopedia not a German one it is not wrong to leave out the umlaut on the word in English. Just leave the first word without an umlaut. The German in brackets informs anyone who needs or wants to know that the correct spelling in German is with an umlaut. Philip Baird Shearer 01:15, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The policy very clearly states use the most commonly used English version of the name. The most commonly used English version is "Hurtgen". I am holding a copy of the Whiting book, one of the two English-language histories of this battle (by someone who was a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and lived in Germany, i.e. not some random illiterate), and it uses "Hurtgen" throughout. "Hürtgen" is correct in German, "Hurtgen" is correct in English. Noel (talk) 04:46, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, but this is hardly a good argument. "Hurtgen" is never correct in English, whereas "Huertgen" would be correct if you didn't want to use the umlaut in an English text. Just dropping the umlaut without proper substitution of the vowel with the vowel-"e"-combination is either sloppiness or ignorance, and will potentially change the meaning of the word in question. We should therefor use Munich or München, but not "Munchen" :-)) MikeZ 18:32, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
I second this opinion. The widespread, accepted transliteration of umlauted U in German is to use ue in English. The ignorance of authors of books does not make changing umlaut-U to simply U correct. I think we should be spelling it Huertgen everywhere, no matter what authors did in the past. The guys who wrote those WWII books, and drew the maps, often did not know a whit of German (and didn't care). It's just going to continue to confuse people to dumb this down to Hurtgen, because people are going to fail in their searches.Harborsparrow 02:08, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

It is not the ignorance of authors it is common English usage (see WP:UE). See Google results:

  • Books 1 - 10 of 61 on "Battle of Hurtgen Forest" -"Battle of Hürtgen Forest"
  • Books 1 - 1 of 1 on -"Battle of Hurtgen Forest" "Battle of Hürtgen Forest".
  • Scholar 1 - 5 of 5 for "Battle of Hurtgen Forest" -"Battle of Hürtgen Forest".
  • Scholar -"Battle of Hurtgen Forest" "Battle of Hürtgen Forest" - did not match any articles.

A Google Web search returns a lot of false positives it is necessary to to to the last page returned to see the true figures:

  • Web 241 for "Battle of Hurtgen Forest" -"Battle of Hürtgen Forest" -wikipedia (page 25)
  • web 46 for -"Battle of Hurtgen Forest" "Battle of Hürtgen Forest" -wikipedia (page 5)

--Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:31, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I have to disagree. Hurtgen/Huertgen/Hürtgen is not what one would call a household word in English-speaking countries, so it has no commonly used English form. The Wikipedia policy is then explicit (Wikipedia:Manual of style): "Foreign words originally written in a Latin alphabet with diacritics (accent marks) are normally written with those diacritics in Wikipedia, unless a form without diacritics has become generally accepted in English."

Beyond that, the argument seems to be that umlauts and other diacritics, by extension, are not proper English. This cannot be supported. The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Wall Street Journal all use umlauts, tildes, accents, and so on, when necessary. (That list should cover the political spectrum. I single out these newspapers only because I am familiar with them, and I presume many others have the same policy.) Furthermore, some words, mostly technical, are now written in English with diacritics: Mössbauer effect, El Niño/La Niña, jökulhlaup (the last is itself a revision of the original Icelandic jøkulhlaup; there might be a lesson of some sort there).

In conclusion: the name should be rendered Hürtgen. Wikipedia has provided us with the means to comply with their stated policy, so do it. PKKloeppel (talk) 03:25, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

More remarks: 1. The argument based on use of Google UK is irrelevant; that is a problem for Google, not Wikipedia. Wikipedia style should not be overridden by an external agency. Besides, that would impede the search of one who uses the correct spelling in favor of one who does not. In any case, that is what redirects are for. 2. Concerning frequency of use: A (limited) search in Google Books indicates that the number of books using "Hurtgen" is about equal to the number using "Hürtgen." Both are swamped by those that use "Huertgen." The last is to be expected, as most books on the subject were written shortly after the war, when "ue" was accepted for "ü," as electronic typesetting was not then known. 3. It is anomalous to have "Hürtgen" throughout the article (excepting other Wikipedia sites that repeat the error) and have "Hurtgen" in the title. PKKloeppel (talk) 13:55, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

FWIW neither a UK English nor a US English keyboard has any key of a character with an umlaut, thus any UK or US user has to use the Character Map simply to use a character with an umlaut, or to search for a word including such a character. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:02, 2 December 2017 (UTC)


Does any one know how to get a de.wikipedia map to display on an en.wkipedia page? See: thumb|right|Hurtgenwald Area. If not perhapse someone can copy it over to Images. Philip Baird Shearer 20:51, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I believe I've done what you wanted here. -- Jmabel | Talk 21:49, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

Esta batalla fue una derrota para los aliados, los aliados no ganaron ninguna posición y les toco por el contrario retroceder lo que estimulo la campaña de las ardenas, si los alemanes hubieran sido derrotados, la campaña de las ardenas no hubiera sido llevada a cabo.


Does the count of American "casualties" here mean only fatalities, or does it include the wounded? Either way, a less ambiguous wording should be adopted, citation should be provided, and this article and Siegfried Line should be reconciled with one another on this matter. -- Jmabel | Talk 21:40, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

Casualty means killed and wounded, if it means that, the word casualty should be used, but not if it only means dead. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 7 Jan 2005.
Yes, I know that's what it should mean, but in my experience people often use it incorrectly, and there is no citation. -- Jmabel | Talk 19:42, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Done, made link for casualties on 23 jan 2006 The preceding unsigned comment was added by Poldiri (talk • contribs) .

The 12,000 German casualty figure was ridiculous, that was the German Dead, casualties were close to that of the Americans, estimated at 28,000. I only have Steven Ambrose Citizen Soldiers here at home, and he just states that both sides had similar casualties, I got the 28,000 number elsewhere. I will find a scholarly sources later. But trust me, we did not take 2 1/2 times their casualties, that is silly, they were about even. And the reference comes from the German Wikipedia site, which is not a serious reference. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fkalich (talkcontribs) 06:01, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

why should the german wikipedia site not be a serious reference, you idiot? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:48, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Editing needed[edit]

The section entitled "other" (1) is not in very good English and (2) seems to be POV without citation. Would someone knowledgable on this topic (I'm really not) please take it on? Thanks. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:37, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

  • Someone recently added an NPOV tag, anonymously and without comment. I will assume that this is endorsement of my issue here, unless someone says otherwise. -- Jmabel | Talk 19:22, August 14, 2005 (UTC)
I removed the NPOV tag. If you think that "is not in very good English" then you can always improve it. Without knowning about 2 you can not judge if it is a NPOV or not. If you think it is factually incorrect then remove it. I think that if you wish to add a template then the one you should use is: {{Sectfact}}. But see Wikipedia:Template messages for more options particularly Disputes and Cleanup --Philip Baird Shearer 16:25, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

BTW I have just been and followed the external link on the article page to Comprehensive History of the Battle went to "Timeline" and did a search on "Hill 400". If you do a google search on ["Hill 400" Bergstein] it throws up some URLs on the issue. --Philip Baird Shearer 16:39, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

The first article in the search was Hopes Dashed in the Hürtgen By Edward G. Miller and David T. Zabecki. It contains this:

Anyone looking at the 28th's plan of attack is struck immediately by its serious flaws, which should have been obvious to the greenest lieutenant. In fact Cota had very little say in the plan. This recipe for disaster was largely dictated to him by Gerow and his staff, who apparently believed that since the Americans faced German units made up mostly of old men and young boys, one more good, hard push would be sufficient to end the war.

Which I think covers "ongoing discussion whether this battle did make any sense" that the original wikipedia contributer meant. -- Philip Baird Shearer 17:16, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

  • I don't have time to take this on right now, but it looks like Philip's remarks here may give what is needed ot clean this up if anyone wants to follow through. -- Jmabel | Talk 01:17, August 18, 2005 (UTC)
    • I see you added the reference. I'll do my best to copy edit the section. -- Jmabel | Talk 00:33, August 19, 2005 (UTC)

Remarks from a vet[edit]

The following was placed directly in the article. It is clearly talk page stuff. - Jmabel | Talk 21:01, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

[begin moved material]
One thing that is not made absolutely clear is that the 22nd Regiment actually fought its way through the forest and did not ask to be relieved until it had done so.

The opening account of the battle says that divisions engaged in the Hurtgen had landed on Omaha Beach. That would have to be a reference to the First Infantry Division but they only fought on the northern fringe of the forest just south of Aachen. What that account did not say was that the 4th Infantry Division which had suffered more casualties in the forest than any of the other divisions engaged in that battle had made the initial landings on Utah Beach on D-day.

Two other soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division were awarded Medals of Honor for action in that battle one of whom was LTC George Mabry, the second most highly decorated US soldier in WW II.-- Irving Smolens, D-day and Hurtgen Forest veteran of the 4th Infantry Division The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 11 Jan 2006.
[end moved material]

Huh? They could be mistaken, but other sources say that the American 1st and 4th Infantry divisions landed on Omaha Beach, and the 29th Infantry division was the only one that landed on Utah Beach. Besides reinforcements coming the next day, the 29th Infantry was able to link up with an airborne division that had landed on the morning of D-Day. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Reported 24,000[edit]

One report has a reported 24,000 U.S. soldiers killed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

A source would be helpful... --Delirium 03:41, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
This is almost certainly a confusion of killed vs. casualties.
One of the article's sources says, "The battle claimed 24,000 Americans; killed, missing, captured and wounded, plus another 9,000 who succumbed to trench foot, respiratory diseases and combat fatigue."
Which is paraphrased as, "The Germans inflicted well over 24,000 casualties on American forces during the battle. The Americans suffered an additional 9,000 casualties due to fatigue, illness, and friendly fire."
—wwoods 04:51, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Artillery/ mortar usage[edit]

I edited the following : "While defenders were protected from shrapnel by their defensive positions, attackers were in the open and vulnerable – lying flat (the natural response) or open foxholes were no protection. Conversely, attacking mortar teams needed clearings in which to work – these were few and dangerous, so support was often unavailable to rifle teams." Shrapnel was changed to 'shell fragments' - shrapnel was hardly used during WW2; even though the term is often used, it is not correct. Also, laying flat is actually an effective tactic when under artillery fire - not nearly as good as being dug-in with overhead cover, but vastly safer than remaining standing. DMorpheus 16:39, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

If artillery is bursting in the tree tops, laying flat actually presents more of a target for the treebursts above to hit....Michael Dorosh 20:57, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikify dates and units[edit]

This article needs the dates wikified eg 12th September to 12 September and the unitis mentioned should be put into standard unit formats and linked to the approprate page (see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (military units)) --Philip Baird Shearer 09:10, 7 September 2006 (UTC)


Sources available to me indicate that the Americans did not start the assault to seize the dams, they failed to recognize their importance at first. Instead, they planned to nail German forces in the area in order to prevent reinforcements to the front further north around Aachen, where the fighting was almost as heavy as in the forest, and maybe even to outflank said frontline through the mountains. I will take the liberty to correct this if no one objects. --Derfflinger 23:48, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

That's correct. The *Germans* recognized the importance of the dams and that's what they were fighting to protect. The US mistakenly believed the forest could threaten other operations. They would have been better off leaving it alone. DMorpheus 00:00, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Rewrites of March 20–21[edit]

G’day fellow contributors,

I hope I didn't step on anyone’s toes with my pervasive copyediting of the past two days, but I found the article so interesting that I couldn’t resist: I think you’ve done a great job of pulling all that information together, so I thought I’d try to do it justice. (Apologies if this sounds partronizing—I don’t mean it too: this is really what I think.)

The main weaknesses that I’ve tried to address were ones of clarity and consistency; for example, there was a mixture of Commonwealth English (BrE) and U.S.-American English (AmE) spellings and some abbreviations that, while perhaps familiar to military and WWII buffs, might have been confusing to the uninitiated reader (doubtless I’ve introduced a few of these myself, too...).

Any fact checking I did, I did by comparing this article against its corresponding article in the German Wikipedia and articles linked to from here (and sometimes their corresponding German articles). In addition to these, there’s a German article called de:Rurfront that is related to the Battle of Hürtgen Forest in that Rurfront is what the Germans call(ed) the front line along the Rur River.

In any case, quite a few ambiguities still remain. The ones I could (or can) identify, I have marked (or will mark) with those in-line “citation needed” (etc) tags; this way, those of you who are more knowledgeable of these details can fill in the blanks. For example, in some places the article refers to the dams of Rur Lake, whereas the German mentions only one dam (called Rurtalsperre Schwammenauel); could someone make sure that the changes (there are three) I made from plural to singular are correct? Elsewhere, do any of you know the first name of the German General Schmidt who is supposed to have commanded the German forces? He’s not mentioned in the German article.

If you're able to verify any of the queried (tagged) spots, please supply your source, either with an embedded message or a citation of some sort (<ref>your source</ref>). If you leave the query tag, I’ll remove it on a later copy-editing pass.

I also intend to add some material from the German article about the Hürtgen Forest today—did you know that they still come across several sets of remains every year? I thought that amazing. The area is also still riddled with mines and such, as well as full of memorials to the fallen from both sides.

As to whether there is a Rur Valley or not, I could not discern. The German refers to the Rurtalsperre, which could be interpreted to mean “the Rur Vally dam” or “dam in/of the Rur Valley,” but other than that I could find no references to just a Rurtal (Rur Valley); I addressed this by rewriting the spots mentioning a Rur Valley to say “low-lying areas downstream from the dam” or something similar. Best regards, Jim_Lockhart 13:06, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

False Labelled sources.[edit]

Someone is using the German Battle of the hurtgen forest article, edited by 62.28....(annon user) as a proxy with unsourced information. Then this user uses that false information in this page and link it with the german page of the article so it could look real. Please any editor try to solve this now. -Miguel- —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:28, 14 May 2007 (UTC).

That “someone” is I. The casualty figure is neither falsely labeled nor unsourced in the German article—unless you’ve read all the citations in the German article (it lists at least six works at the end)! Of course, if you’ve got reliable sources that give different figures, you’re welcome to insert them; but leave the accusations at the door, please. Jim_Lockhart 22:53, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Please tell me your sources , internet or books. I cant manage to get any one on the german Page of the article.


I have told you my source. How about if you do the same? If you can cite a source to substantiate your changes, then do so and I will not revert; but until you do, I think the article should stand as it is. Further, since the figure you are taking issue with is marked clearly as an estimate, I see no justification for replacing it with another figure that is not so marked, yet is also no attributed.

I don’t understand what you mean by “cant [sic] manage to get any one [sic] on the german [sic] Page [sic] of the article.” If you mean that you can’t read the page yourself, and you can’t get anyone to read it for you, then perhaps you could leave that bit of verification to someone else and concentrate on other sources or other parts of the article—there are plenty of details that need checking. (Look for the “citation needed” and other similar tags.) Jim_Lockhart 22:47, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

If i dont understand german thats not my fault, iam asking you to tell me your source, you say that it is in the german article but you dont neither show me the Book name nor the web page. Please answer. This is my source look here.

I have told you that my source was the German article, several times, and I've even provided a footnote; I was asking you to do the same (provide a source citation). Now that you've finally done so, I thought perhaps we could move on. But on reading your source—I read all five pages of it, twice!—I noticed that it does not name one figure for the German casualties; all it says of the German numbers is that they are estimated as high but below those of the Americans:

Estimates of German casualties were high but below that [sic] of the Americans.

As I have written before: if you want to change the number or add a different one, go ahead; all I'm asking is that you cite a reliable source; even if my source is inaccessible to you (regardless of the reason), that (nor anything else) does not release you from your obligation to cite a reliable source. Jim_Lockhart 08:52, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Jim do you think iam an idiot? Your source can be the corresponding german article, but what is the source of the german article. I havent seeb one in the whole article!!. How you can know the exact number of 12,000 killed when in any part of the german article that number is strickly given. The american casualties of my source matches the default number of the current allied casualties, and i think its ok. But there is no REAL source on the german article, i havent seen one consistent statement of the german looses.

Regardless of what you have or haven’t seen in the German article, if you change something, the onus is on you to substantiate the change; this you have not done. As I have written repeatedly, if you want to put in a new number, then do so; all I’m asking is that you substantiate it with a reliable source as per WP:ATT.

Though the German article may lack the in-line citations that are growing increasingly common in English Wikipedia, the article overall is quite well researched and far more balanced than the English one, and it has at its end a long list of sources, including Enlgish-language works:
  • Charles B. MacDonald: The Battle of the Huertgen Forest. University Of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 0-8122-1831-0
  • Charles B. MacDonald: The Siegfried Line Campaign. United States Army in World War II: The European Theater of Operations. Office of the Chief of Military History Department of the Army, Washington D.C. 1963
  • Adolf Hohenstein und Wolfgang Trees: Hölle im Hürtgenwald. Die Kämpfe vom Hohen Venn bis zur Rur Sept. 1944 bis Februar 1945. TRIANGEL Verlag, ISBN 3-922974-01-5
  • Heinz Guderian: Das letzte Kriegsjahr im Westen. Die Geschichte der 116. Panzer-Division - Windhund-Division. 1995, ISBN 3-932436-01-6 (Deutscher Alt-General schildert minutiös die Geschehnisse aus „deutscher“ Sicht. Viele militärische Details und Quellenzitate mit Fundstellenangaben)
  • Kurt Kaers: Das verstummte Hurra. 2004 (Bericht eines Überlebenden der Kämpfe im Hürtgenwald aus der Sicht einer amerikanischen und einer deutschen Einheit)
  • Hans Kramp: Rurfront 1944/45, Verlag Fred Gatzen, ISBN 3-923219-00-8
  • Alexander Kuffner: Zeitreiseführer Eifel 1933-45. Helios, Aachen 2007, ISBN 978-3-938208-42-7.
  • Denis und Shelagh Whitaker: Endkampf am Rhein - Der Vormarsch der Westalliierten 1944/45 1998, ISBN 3-8289-0291-X.
It also supplies several Weblinks, some of which I checked when I copyeditted the English version.

Given that all I’ve asked of you is that you provide citations for your new numbers (which could even be listed together with those already presented to show that different sources give different figures—I don’t see why this has to be an all-or-nothing proposition), I fail to see the need for you to address me with repeated uncivilty and obvious contempt, such as accusing me of falsely labeling my sources and asking whether I think you’re an idiot. I have made no comments warranting such abuse, much less insinuated that you were an idiot. I find it difficult to assume that you are acting in good faith, and therefore consider an continuation of this exchange as a waste of time. Jim_Lockhart 09:02, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the sources i will start checking them. Bye

Casualties vis-a-vis Omaha Beach[edit]

Does it really make sense to compare the casualty figures for Hurtgen Forest with Omaha? We're talking about a 3-month battle vs one day. -- Hongooi 12:33, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

I think not, there where 2 complete different engagements. One lasted less than one day, and casualty numbers suffered are not well recorded by many reasons; number of missing pressumed dead listed as KIA. And the combat nature of the beach landing.

In one part of the article it says that some veterans compared the Huertgen Forest as a horrible battle even worse than Omaha. This depend a lot considering that the first wave of landing craft that hit the beaches suffered the most. For one Day casualties reached over 2000 casualties at the Omaha Beach. And some 2,000 at the Utah sector (considering MIA Airborne casaulties). So in one way of another casualties suffered by the allies during the initial days of D-Day reached 8,000. Of course the Battle of the Huergen forest lasted 3 months, with no evident and desisive Allied Strategical gain. In other words, this campaign is largely considered to Passchendale or Vietnam Battles, not a desesive Strategic gain abeit a huge cost. Best regards, Miguel

I think that the point of the comparison lies in the relative profile of the two battles. Not being American this is a bit of a guess, but corrections welcome. Omaha has a high profile as a heroic, essential battle against adversity and heavy casualties - it's a successful part of the successful US campaign in Europe. Hurtgen on the other hand is largely forgotten (few histories give it much space, much of the info I dug out is in a book by a British historian). It contrasts with the image of a largely purposeful US thrust into Germany - some historians argue that Hurtgen was unnecessary or badly managed or both. The comparison with Omaha is meant, I believe, to demonstrate the bloody nature of the battle and the impact on the units and men involved. As such, it's valid and should be kept, IMO. BTW, please sign your edits as shown at top of page. Folks at 137 17:45, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Pyrrhic victory?[edit]

So, was American warfare in Europe seriously compromised after winning the battle?--Ukas 19:44, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Wasn't this more a clear defeat than anything else? What was achieved that wasn't lost by the German Ardennes Offensive? c.f Charles Whiting's 'Battle of Hurtgen Forest' The Fat Contractor 16:33, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

If the battle is considered to have lasted until Feb. 1945 (i.e. including the successful Allied response to the Ardennes offensive), then all the American objectives were achieved, and they went on to win the war, so the victory could hardly be Pyrrhic. It might have been a costly victory, but for a victory to be Pyrrhic requires more than high cost-- it must also lead to the ruin and downfall of the victor, which this battle didn't. MayerG (talk) 07:00, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, ish. There is an inconsistancy between/within this article and the one on the Battle of the Bulge. If you take the whole sequence to be one battle then it is a clear Allied (not American BTW) victory. It certainly wasn't a Pyrrhic victory. However this article only references the Battle of the Bulge as part of the 'Aftermath' suggesting that the battle was over before the German offensive. If this is the case (and I'm not saying it necessarily is) then it was not a victory at all. Where does one battle end and the other begin? AFAIUI the Ardennes Offensive was a separate attempt to split the allies and destroy their supply lines and not a counter-offensive in the Hurtgen Forest. Personally, I'd split this into 3 phases/battles - Allied defeat, German Defeat, Allied Victory. I'll let wiser heads than mine say if that's right. The Fat Contractor (talk) 19:45, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Hello. I took out "Pyyrhic" victory reference because it can't be backed up well enough at this time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:23, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Looks like some people here love the term and will use it every time winner lost few more lives than the defeated party. --Ukas (talk) 02:31, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

In regards to the original question, then yes, it did compromise the american army, (specifically the divisions that fought in the forest) and also the german sabotage of the dams, which contrary to some historians (rush i believe) it did slow down the american advance for weeks. the fighting itself also significantly weakened the american units who fought in the battle (i believe this is the opinion of whiting, astor and miller) I dont believe it can be classes as a german victory, but it cannot be called a straight american victory, losing 3 times as many as the opposing side, bad leadership leading to no-one noticing the importance of the dams and the weakening of the divisions who fought mean it surely is not an american victory. (talk) 15:52, 10 August 2009 (UTC)


Both here and the German Wiki(Which this article links to)don't seem to have a source for their estimates. Anyone have anything? If not, then at the end of the week I will replace it with unknown- not because I doubt the figures, but because there appears to be no source.ShaneMarsh (talk) 00:28, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was Move Parsecboy (talk) 03:13, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Battle of Hurtgen ForestBattle of Hürtgen Forest — {{{2}}} — PKKloeppel (talk) 13:26, 6 September 2008 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support for reasons I have stated in the section on umlauts above. PKKloeppel (talk) 13:55, 6 September 2008 (UTC)


Okay, here goes. Wikipedia suggests consulting three types of sources to find common usage, if it exists: Google books, other encyclopedias, and maps. A search on Google books for "Hurtgen" gives a lot of hits, including both "Hurtgen" and "Hürtgen." A lot of the hits are false positives (authors named one or the other, biographies, and the like). To eliminate them and to distinguish the two cases, one must go through the list item by item. This is a pain in the butt, but I did it for the first 80 or so hits. The results were something like 20 for "Hurtgen" and 20 for "Hürtgen," and a somewhat smaller number in which separation is not possible because neither form appears in the limited extracts provided. In any case, a search on "Huertgen" gives a much cleaner sample (fewer false positives), as well as a larger number of examples. Because the results of the two searches were contaminated differently, I cannot give a more precise statement. (This would indicate that the preferred English form is "Huertgen," which I would —reluctantly— accede to, but that is an artifact of the days when books were composed on typewriters, and it was then considered acceptable to replace "ü" by "ue." Since we are no longer so constrained, why not do it the right way?)
Encyclopedia Britannica Online has no article for Hürtgen in any form, nor could I find any reference to the battle or place in any other articles where it would logically be mentioned. I couldn't believe this, so I consulted a paper edition (1974) of Encyclopedia Britannica. It likewise has no relevant references. Zilch. Nada. I don't want to suggest that the Wikipedia article could be a convenient starting point for EB to extend the range of its offerings, but. . . At any rate, an encyclopedia search does not indicate any alternative prevailing English usage.
I have not come upon any map that has any form other than "Hürtgen." This includes the maps in MacDonald's Siegfried Line campaign, which uses "Huertgen" in the text. (By the way, this is probably the best English-language history of the battle; it is the semi-official US Army history, and in addition was written by a man who was there.) The town is too small to be even noticed by National Geographic. Online maps that go into sufficient detail to show towns as small as Hürtgen invariably show local usage. Again, no prevailing English usage is found.
It is pretty clear that no alternative name is common in English, so the entire question comes down to how we handle the "ü." Wikipedia manual of style says "ü"; "ue" is considered acceptable by some translators, but is, in the quaint terminology of our editors, deprecated; "u" is just plain wrong.
PKKloeppel (talk) 14:03, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
I forgot to mention the Library of Congress. If you do a category search there on "Hurtgen Forest," you will be redirected to the category "Hürtgen Forest." That is just one more nail in the coffin. PKKloeppel (talk) 14:35, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
This seems far more inconclusive to me than it is to you. I would expect the town, mentioned apart from the battle, to be named Hürtgen, so that doesn't sway me. (Similarly, we use Braunschweig, but House of Brunswick and Brunswick-Lüneburg; the conventional English form has lost ground for the modern town, but not in historical references.)
The Britannica does seem odd; where do they discuss the events? Perhaps we should merge somewhere (with Battle of the Bulge?) after all. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:12, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
I can't explain EB. My personal opinion is that their coverage of World War II is pretty weak.
I guess honesty requires that I report an argument that those who want to call it "Huertgen" can use. I ran a search of the New York Times for the period 1 September 1944 to 8 April 1945 (I meant to go to the end of the war, but mistyped it. I don't think it made any difference, as the reporting was over by mid-February). As the Times did not use diacritics at that time, I did not search on "Hürtgen." The search based on "Huertgen" gave 151 hits, 149 of them between 23 Sept 44 and 10 Feb 45 (141 days). The search on "Hurtgen" for the same dates gave 1 hit. (I was curious about that one hit: How did the author escape what was evidently the NYT style manual? It turns out that the article was not reporting military action. It was a piece entitled "Wood, Field, and Stream," decrying the loss of trees, good fishing spots, wildlife, and the like. I don't think I would rest my case on that.)
Anyway, it appears that the spelling "Huertgen" and not "Hurtgen" was in widespread use right from the beginning. I still prefer "Hürtgen" as mandated by Wikipedia's style, but historical usage might be a compelling issue to some. PKKloeppel (talk) 19:36, 8 September 2008 (UTC)


Any additional comments:
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Added an image of the plaque in Commons[edit]

But didn't add it in the article to prevent overburdening it with images. Image is high-res though and allows reading the print on the plaque in full resolution. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:25, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

External links[edit]

At least two of the external links are dead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:21, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Someone keeps skewing the casualty figures[edit]

Second time someone has come into this page and changed the casualty figures to show 50,000 US and 12,000 German. Problem is the sources cited say 33,000 American and 28,000 German. The editor doesn't change the source at all, just the numbers. Methinks someone has an agenda. Wokelly (talk) 17:55, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Article timeline[edit]

There is a problem in this article in which the end of the action states 10th February 1945 in the infobox. Yet the battle section clearly states from 19 September - 16th December. I will change the time line in the infobox as per wiki guidelines with the results until a third phase within the article is created or even perhaps a separate article. This being the result of no offensive moves made by allied forces between 16 December - to early February in the area (because of the German counter offensive further South). ChrisWet (talk) 21:27, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Ruhr vs. Rur[edit]

This article doesn't make a clear distinction between the river Rur, located next to the eastern part of the Hürtgenwald, and the river Ruhr, located in the Ruhr Metropolitan Region. I'm not sure whether these rivers were confused in some places.-- (talk) 13:58, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

Questionable caption for armored vehicle track photo[edit]

Under the "Battle/First Phase" section, the current caption on the photo is "A track from a U.S. armored vehicle that was hit and burned in the Kall Valley. The track section has melted into the road."

Last weekend I was out in the Kall Valley and walked to the spot on the trail where this photo was likely taken. If you look at the picture (and the actual section of track), you can see that the side of the track we are looking at is the side of the track that would touch the ground or road, i.e. it is the outer side of the track. Had a tracked vehicle burned here, we would be left with the remnants of the inner side of the track pads (which would be rectangular, not curved). Moreover, had a vehicle burned on this spot, there would have been damage (e.g. melting) of the track shoes and cooling tubes of the track sections. No melting damage is evident.

I would venture that U.S. troops deliberately placed this section of track here, with the outer side face up, in order to help other vehicles (and perhaps even soldiers) get better traction when going up or down this section of the trail. Or perhaps they put it there as a field-expedient way to reinforce the trail, because the side that the track is on is adjacent to the downward slope of the hill. The piece of track was pushed down into the soil and gravel over time by vehicle and foot traffic, and now it is embedded in the trail.

In any case, I think that the current caption is incorrect for the reasons I've stated. Unless someone produces evidence that a vehicle was hit and burned there, I would say that the caption should be changed to something along the lines of "A section of track from a U.S. armored vehicle that is embedded in the Kall Valley trail." The current caption intimates a dramatic and tragic story that there is no proof of. Without that "backstory," it's just a bland artifact, and maybe then the photo should be removed from the article altogether.

Wrong Picture Caption[edit]

Hi folks,

the picture Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-J28303,_Hürtgenwald,_schweres_Infanteriegeschütz.jpg features the english caption "A German heavy mortar firing in defense against a U.S. attack on 22 November 1944 in the Hürtgen forest". While the gun seen is clearly not a mortar, but the sIG 33 ("schweres Infanterie Geschütz 33" or "heavy infantry gun 33"), I would like to change the caption and add a link it to the corresponding article on wikipedia. Also, the original german caption states "Bei Düren, Wald von Hürtgenwald.- Schweres Infanteriegeschütz beim Feuern, Aufnahme am 22.11.1944" also mentioning it’s a heavy inf. gun and not a mortar. Maybe some mortar fan wanted to augment the air burst/firing from clearings thing. Cheers Kohlesheriff (talk) 07:48, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Recent changes[edit]

A user of different IP adresses keeps changing the result and the sources. The sources from blogs and forums do not correspond to WRS, so therefore I have restored the previous accepted sources. Shire Lord (talk) 08:55, 18 April 2017 (UTC)