There was a brief lull in the fighting in the Fall of 1944.  Senior German Army officers were at a war game, training for what they would do if the Americans attacked through the Hurtgen Forest. They were halfway through the exercise when they were notified that the Americans had entered the Hurtgen in force. They grabbed their game plans and ordered reinforcements into the Hurtgen.

It made little sense. It had been expected that the Americans would just screen the Hurtgen and attack elsewhere. The Hurtgen forest was a nightmare of steep hills and dense forests with only a couple of small roads and a number of old firebreaks. All of the American advantages would be negated—air support, artillery, armor, mechanized units, communications and supply. And the Germans had been preparing field fortifications.

Indeed, the Americans were quickly bogged down in what would prove to be the longest battle in the history of the United States Army. Elements of 10 different divisions would suffer heavy casualties in the dark shattered woods, at first in the rain, later in snow.

On one overgrown trail, possession kept changing from one side to the other. Eventually the medical stations were no longer evacuated and German and American doctors and medics just ran one station together.