World Battlefronts: Battle of the Roer

The Germans fought for the Roer River, between Aachen and Cologne, as if it were the Meuse, the Marne and the Somme of the last war all rolled into one. German radio broadcasts called it "the most terrible and ferocious battle in the history of all wars."

Hardly more than a creek in summer, the Roer was now swollen by rain. The Germans increased the flood by blowing dams and opening sluice gates, until the shallow brown water in one place spread almost a mile across the plain. Lieut. General William ("Texas Bill") Simpson's Ninth Army inched painfully forward until it held...

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