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Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

Article about: Hello All, I have just come back from a great trip to The Hurtgen Forest. From the start it was only meant to be a field trip to learn about the terrain and to hopefully find a few unmoleste

  1. #1

    Default Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

    Hello All, I have just come back from a great trip to The Hurtgen Forest. From the start it was only meant to be a field trip to learn about the terrain and to hopefully find a few unmolested foxholes, However to our amazement we found some relics just laying on the surface !!
    On closer inspection we soon realised that these were indeed a case of one man's rubbish is another man's treasure as these had been lifted from the foxholes and then discarded to one side ! worst of all is that the treasure hunters had carried on digging through the original dimensions of the holes and then covered over some surface archaeology with the spoil. As excited that we were to find these fantastic pieces we were appalled at the blatant disregard to this very important area of historical importance - they had even thrown their food wrappings all over the place !!
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture SDC11964.jpg   SDC12002.jpg  

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

    A nice mix of US and German stuff ( Garand clips and egg renade fuzes ) ..... funny how the same guys used the same foxholes - or captured weapons!!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

    hello Dan, We thought the same thing, the first area that we explored was a position occupied by some US engineer's and these produced the full M1 clips as well as spent rounds and end blocks, one of the most interesting things that we discovered were the armoured piercing rounds (maybe for tree penetration) this area also produced a lot of coms wire as well as remnants of blanket's and raincoat's.
    The second area produced the mixture of items, these included the egg grenade fuses, K98 stripper clips and a section of leather ammo pouch. this area was originally used by US infantry in defence of an important trail but was then occupied by the Germans. It is a strong possibility that these items found their way into the same foxhole as a result of post war clear up - maybe we will never know..

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

    Sorry but you are to late :-))

  5. #5

    Default Re: Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

    Hi sgtfingers and welcome to the forum.

    As I am sure you are aware, metal detecting in the Hurtgen is strictly forbidden, as is the removal of any relics. The chances are that you stumbled upon a hole and relics that we in the process of being 'dug' when the diggers found themselves faced with one of the many Foresters in the Hurtgen, who regularly patrol for relic hunters. They will have been arrested on the spot and their finds confiscated along with any vehicles and equipment.

    I am sure you are also aware that the transportation of live ammunition across any European border is illegal, as is the possession of any armour piercing projectile.

    I do hope you stayed within the law.

    Steve T

  6. #6

    Default Re: Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for the reply, we fully understood the delicate nature of this site prior to leaving our sunny shores, however, it was such a shock to even see such relics lying on the surface ! We are all very interested in the American involvement and as such wanted to see and understand the american lines in this bloody part of the conflict but were very dismayed to see the damage that the treasure hunters had left behind.
    My everyday job see's me working in a very similar environment but we don'd throw our litter around after lunch ! and if we had ever the need to dig a hole we would take care to fill it in afterwards. throughout this region you will find hundreds of spot holes and nearly all of them had a valueless piece of shrapnel or communication wire dropped nearby. I fully understand the necessity of modern equipment to find historical relics but I do believe that the practises that we had witnessed during our trip go a long way to tarnish the reputation of all law abiding and history respecting enthusiasts.

    Rant over !! - Wow what an amazing region !! this trip had met and fully surpassed all of our expectations and we are already planning a return trip....

  7. #7

    Default Re: Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

    Glad to hear it sgtfingers.

    I'd just like to repeat for those who are not aware, metal detecting for and removal of relics from the Hurtgen is strictly against the law and prison sentences are not uncommon if you're caught.

    Soapbox moment over....

  8. #8

    Default Re: Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

    It's a few year since I was last there, but I recall seeing plenty of smaller relics lying on the forest floor - the rusted out shell of a tellermine nearly gave me a heart attack - as I stood on it before I saw it - & I really should have been being more careful!. We were amazed how many fox holes still had blankets lining them and found a few where german rifle cases were scattered to one side and American to the other - indicating use by both sides. Even then the rules were strict and we saw a couple of police patrols who saw we were only taking photos and left us alone - However we did surprise an illict detector user who had a small pack literally over-flowing with bayonets etc - but he was not at all talkative! and appeared to be trying to keep under cover as he made his way back to the car park. Also saw lots of American condensed milk tubes, shells and lids of canteens and even found the gear-change instruction plate from a jeep (I admit to keeping that) - then looked around and realised we were surrounded by scattered bits of said jeep! must have been a mine or direct hit!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

    Hi Nick,
    Many thanks for the story ! I was very interested to hear that you had found blankets in and around the foxholes which is something that caught our eye. Upon taking a closer look we found that the raincoat seemed to have been placed in the hole first followed by a blanket which was draped over the edge of the hole with loaded clips carefully placed under a folded edge (kept the clips clean) In another hole we found that the blanket had been replaced with a woollen overcoat which made us ponder why it was left in the hole !

    Again all of this was discovered as a result of somebody else doing the illegal digging !!
    Regards sgtfingers

  10. #10

    Default Re: Hurtgen Forest trip 2012

    Hi Guys!

    I am fascinated with relic hunting and would like to pursue this on my next trip to Europe. I have been to Normandie, Foy and the Alsace and have found many fighting holes but never really took the opportunity much further than a few photo's and lunch. After reading here about how prohibited (forbidden) relic digging is in the Hurtgen ( Btw. . .this location is on my itinerary for my next trip as well as Nimegen, Arnhem and Seelow Heights) what exactly are the rules of engagment for relic hunting in Europe or where can I find out????

    God forbid I should get arrested for violating the local law through stupidity and ignorance.

    Please advise soonest.


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