“Keeping Hearts and Courage High”
The experiences of the 9th Infantry Division in the Hürtgen Forest Battle
September 1944 – February 1945
“Keeping hearts and courage high – The experiences of the 9th Infantry Division in the Hürtgen Forest Battle
September 1944 – February 1945″
This book project is currently the biggest project I am working on.
As part of the 9th Infantry Division in WWII publications, this will be the first volume to be completed and published.
About the book (work in progress):
The 9th Infantry Division was the first unit to fight in the Hürtgen Forest area. It crossed into Germany in September 1944, and its three regiments got involved in heavy fighting from the start. In many of the history books, the battles in the Hürtgen Forest area have often been overlooked. Some of the books that deal with the subject, often write about the 9th Infantry Division fighting in the area for several weeks, not managing to get their objectives, and then mention they were pulled off the line and replaced by other Divisions. However, elements of the 9th Infantry Division have been in combat continuously from September 1944 until February 1945. I felt that the stories of these men had to be told and I present these in the form of this book. After the men finally managed to get out of the forest area, battles followed for small villages, farmhouses, castles, muddy crossroads and the always present weather elements. Rain and snow had became a new enemy, but still the men pushed on and overcame the difficulties.
For the book I have studied the many archival reports available such as After Action Reports, Combat Interviews, Journals, maps and photographs. Then I have gone through great efforts in order to track down and contact veterans. I managed to talk to around 75 veterans, and have been in touch with nearly 800 families. Each of them have shared stories, pictures, maps, journals and diaries with me. I also have received countless private memoirs, many never even published. These were all valuable and through my studies of the reports, I have managed to verify each piece of information I received. The reports are the base for my book, but I feel that the personal stories of the men who fought during these battles, is what makes this book special. Many people have no idea what has happened in the forest area, and in the small villages in the area. Walking the actual battlefield with veterans, families, historians and experts, I have been able to create a detailed overview of the actions that these men were a part of.
Book status: In progress
I am currently still writing the book. My goal is for the draft to be finished in 2021, with a 2022 release.
The working title is “Keeping hearts and courage high“. The subtitle might change slightly.
Please note that the cover image is just a placeholder for now. The final book cover will be done by a professional designer.
Providing material for the book
If you have an interesting story or picture that you feel should be included in the book, please contact me. I am very interested in getting more personal stories, citations, quotes, pictures of places in the Hürtgen Forest area, items or uniforms used by the men, maps or anything else that could be useful for the book. Share your stories or pictures by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I will add updates on progress on the book on this page as time goes on.
Sincerely, Yuri Beckers