The Last Hill is a new book by Robert Drury and Tom Clavin about a little-known fierce battle fought in December 1944 to capture a strategic hill in the Hürtgen Forest on Germany’s border.
The 400 metre (1,315ft) steep-sided ‘Hill 400‘ lies 5 kilometres inside the German border with Belgium. The US 1st Army had been tasked with taking the Hürtgen Forest and those 5 kilometres had already cost them 4,500 casualties from the 9th Infantry Division’s initial attack in Sept 44, and another 6,000 casualties when the 28th Infantry division tried to push forward. It was a bloodbath, and they hadn’t even got to the heavily-defended Hill 400.
So, the elite 2nd Ranger Battalion were called in. These are the guys who climbed the cliffs at Point du Hoc on D-Day. Outnumbered and outgunned, they fought a heroic battle to reach the top, which was defended furiously by crack German troops. Why? Because, unknown to the Allies the view from the top of Hill 400 looked down into the Roer River Valley where Hitler was gathering his forces for a little adventure known now as the Battle of the Bulge!
Here, in this stream from the US National Archives, the authors explain what the book covers, why it is such a compelling story, and who some of the main characters were.
As I learned from my ex-wife, who is an author, the film & TV rights are often quickly snapped up on new books. Many of those rights are not exercised, but producers like to cover their options on books that might turn out to make great movies. So I would be very surprised if the rights to The Last Hill haven’t already been bought by a major production company. What do you think?
Feature image: Men of E Company, the 110th Regiment, 28th Infantry Division treading warily through the Hürtgen Forest (US National Archives, Public Domain)