France, Belgium, and the Hürtgen Forest
In late July 1944, the regiment was still in division reserve when it was ordered to be prepared to assist in a breakout through the German line near St. Lo. On 25 July, the Big Red One closely followed the 9th Infantry Division in the breakout attempt. Two days later the 16th Infantry was launched on an attack through a break in the lines near Marigny and seized the city of Coutances on 29 July. By this time, the Germans were in headlong retreat and attempting to establish a new line well to the east.
Meanwhile, in an effort to keep up with the retreating Germans, the men of the 16th Infantry piled on trucks, tanks, and anything else they could find to move eastward as quickly as possible. After motoring south past Paris, the regiment caught up with the enemy again near Mons, Belgium, where it helped the 1st Infantry Division destroy six German divisions in August and early September. From Mons, the regiment pushed on with the Big Red One toward Aachen, Germany, just across the German frontier. For the next three months, the men of the 16th Infantry would experience some of the most grueling fighting of the war in the infamous Hürtgen Forest near Aachen, Stolberg, and Hamich, Germany.