After failed attempts to contact Ernie Herr, author of “The Hϋrtgen Forest”, I am going ahead with this piece. Author Ernie Herr’s works appears in Italics .
“There are stories that may need half a century or more to age before being told—Read this as an honor to those were never properly recognized.
The Hϋrtgen Forest is roughly fifty square miles of near one hundred feet tall pine trees-It was like a green cave, the forest floor almost in perpetual darkness, dripping water—add to this sleet, snow, rain, and almost knee-deep mud. This was the setting for the most tragic battle of World War II. The companies went into battle against the formidable lines, with hand-grenades, and rifle bullets against Pill Boxes. Those who fought the battle from the American side were the magnificent kids of high school classes of 1942-43, and 44.” And ….. Frank Nieto Lujan, age 32., father of four with one more on the way.
From Frank Lujan’s War Diary:
“August 14, 1944. I left my home; I said goodbye to all my children. With an aching soul I left them perhaps never to see them again.
Oct. 20 – Germany—I joined my company, The 9th Division (Company F.47th Infantry Division). I am on German territory.
Oct. 24 – We lost two comrades from my Company last night.
Nov. 19 – Since my last entry we have seen nothing but battle. Many of my comrades are no more.
Nov. 27 – Oh! incredible night! We lost three of our Sergeants last night! We finally got through. The sky is lit by the many fires that are burning. We dug into our foxholes, we are all muddy and without sleep. All calibers of bullets come our way. We are so close to enemy lines we took firing from our own artillery all night long.
Belgium November 11, 1944 – We were relieved on the evening of the 28th. We left “The Front”. All of us talk about nothing but days I shall never forget. Some have been fighting since “D Day”. They say that they have never seen such a terrible battle as this one.”
Dec. 10, 2000 – An e-mail from Dr. Juan Roberto Lujan (Frank’s brother).
“Elisa: The articles about the uselessness of the Hϋrtgen Forest, and the “Bulge Campaign” did not come out until rather recently. It has been hard to talk about the mistake of what had been referred to as a “Glorious Victory by our side”. It seems that Patton’s suggestion was to allow Germans in “The Bulge “ to remain there and run out of supplies. The last recommendation (Montgomery’s) was accepted by ”Ike”. Or so the story goes.
Herr closes with: “At the Hϋrtgen Forest battle, it was Generals Bradley, and General Hodges who were responsible for those costly mistakes. The blame for this catastrophe was the failure of generals at the highest levels. Taking the time to read this account might diminish the possibility of this type of disaster to happen again—Then again maybe not.”
Like Vietnam-Korea- Iraq, and Afghanistan?
See the following link to “The Hϋrtgen Forest”: http://bellsouthpwp2.net/e/a/ea_herr/huertgenForest.html