The Battle of the Hürtgenwald refers to a series of three Wehrmacht defensive battles against the attacking US Army in the Northern Eifel region towards the end of World War II. The battles for the Hürtgenwald are among the most serious battles of the Second World War ever. Individual aspects were literarily processed by Heinrich Böll and Kurt Vonnegut, among others.
In the American memory culture, this battle, in which Ernest Hemingway and Jerome D. Salinger also participated, plays an essential role. It is after the capture of Aachen as the first major battle of the Americans on German soil at all, was referred to as the longest battle of the US Army in general and compared in terms of death numbers with the Battle of Gettysburg. From a military point of view, the attempt to cross the Eifel was a disaster and in hindsight difficult to understand. The topography favored the defenders massively, an effective use of armored units was almost impossible in the dense forests and on the narrow and steep paths. In the General Staff training courses of the US Army, this battle is treated as "Verdun in the Eifel" and as "the greatest disaster of the American troops in the Second World War".