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A few examples from Medal of Honor citations won in the Huertgen illustrate the desperate kind of heroism fighting in the forest inspired. First Lt. Bernard J. Ray, Company F. 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, set out alone to blast a path through a German concertina entanglement that blocked his unit's advance. Ray stuffed blasting caps in his pockets, wrapped primer cord around his body, and grabbed several bangalore torpedoes. He made it to the wire but was severely wounded as he set his charges. Apparently, realizing his wounds would disable him before he could complete his task, Ray connected a bangalore to the caps in his pocket and the primer cord around his body and set off the explosion. Pfc. Francis X. McGraw, Company H. 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, withstood a German artillery barrage and then halted the German ground assault with fire from his heavy machine gun. Running out of ammunition, he hurriedly replenished his stocks and continued firing until he had again exhausted his ammunition. Grabbing a carbine, McGraw continued to engage the advancing Germans until he was finally killed. S. Sgt. John W. Minick, Company I, 121st Infantry, 8th Infantry Division, single-handedly assaulted and neutralized an enemy machine gun. Continuing forward, he encountered a German company and again attacked, killing twenty Germans and capturing twenty more. Minick continued his one-man advance, knocking out another enemy machine gun position. Once more moving ahead of his unit, the young sergeant stepped on one of the many mines planted in the Huertgen and died.

On 13 December, the newly committed 83d Infantry and 5th Armored Divisions finally emerged from the Huertgen Forest near the towns of Gey and Strass. Although the eastern section of the forest and the town of Schmidt remained in German hands, First Army forces had finally closed on the west bank of the Roer.

Hodges had belatedly realized the implications of not holding the Roer River dams and refused to attack across the Roer until he could neutralize their potential effects. Initially, the Allies tried to breach the dams by bombing, but they proved too strong. Hodges then decided to take them by ground attack and gave the mission to Gerow's V Corps.

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