Follow Me And Die: In Nov. 1944, the 28th Infantry Division, under inept commanders,was ordered to attack the Germans in the Hurtgen Forest near the Siegfried Line.It was one of the first incursions of U>S> forces into the German homeland.
Resistance was fierce. The American infantry-men, though courageous, were demoralized by cold, hunger, exhaustion, and fear. They broke and ran.American casualties rose to 75 percent.
From access to recently declassified documents, and with first-hand testimony from both German and American survivors, the virtual destruction of an American division in one of WWII's most costly and useless attacks is revealed in detail for the first time.
The author does a good job establishing the fact that U.S. generals did not understand conditions that the 28th Infantry Division faced in the Hurtgen Forest during the latter days of World War II. He also showed that, despite the fact that objectives were not gained, or troops were even repulsed or fled the fighting, the regimental and division staffs reported otherwise to higher headquarters. As a result, a division suffered excessive casualties and was wasted.
However, after the author demonstrates that military leadership was not always what it should have been during the war, he reaches too far and loses some of his credibility. On the last two pages he praises General Douglas MacArthur for setting the standards for achieving victories at the lowest possible costs to the soldiers under his command. Nope, it didn't happen that way.
MacArthur's headquarters also issued reports, including uncounted press releases, that claimed low casualties while his divisions were being bled dry. For a good example of this, read "The Ghost Mountain Boys," a story of just one division that suffered from the egotism of MacArthur and his staff.