Aachen - First to Fall
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Before October 1944, no large German city had been directly assaulted by any Allied army. German soldiers were continuing to fight stubbornly throughout Europe, even after Germany's defeat became a certainty; so US commanders had every reason to worry resistance on German soil would be tenacious. In the city of Aachen itself, the street fighting was expected to be severe, just as it had been in other hard-fought cities. The situation along the border itself was even worse; the infamous West Wall loomed in front of Aachen, enclosing the city with miles of concrete bunkers, casemates and "dragon's teeth." The sense of foreboding among the GIs assigned to the attack, as well as their commanding generals, was evident and warranted.