George Mergenthaler had it all. Young, charismatic, strikingly handsome, a gifted athlete, an Ivy League graduate who spoke fluent German and French, “Merg” as his friends called him, was also the sole male heir to a vast family fortune.
However in December 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor none of that mattered. Wanting to do his part, Merg gave up his charmed life and enlisted in the Army. He was assigned to a Reconnaissance Troop in the 28th Infantry Division, that would fight through France, Belgium and Luxembourg. In mid-November 1944, after two weeks of horrific, bloody fighting in the Huertgen Forest, the battered and battle-hardened 28th Infantry Division was sent west to Luxembourg for some much needed R&R.
Merg and the rest of the Recon Troop were sent to the small town of Eschweiler, where the soldiers quickly bonded with the townspeople, sharing their homes, meals, hopes and dreams. Able to easily communicate, and sharing his bountiful care packages from home, Merg was quickly embraced by the town as one of their own. For that brief period, life seemed almost normal.
The idyll was shattered a month later when the Germans launched a surprise attack through the Ardennes Forest. The Battle of the Bulge had begun. Eschweiler, along with the rest of Luxembourg, was about to be overrun by the rapid German advance. Forced to retreat from Eschweiler, the Recon Troop drove into the spearhead of the German advance in that sector. Pinned down, with capture or death their only options, Merg proved what a truly exceptional man he was.
After more than ten years of researching and reviewing numerous battle maps and plans, after-action reports, unit histories, various news articles of events of the times, family histories and memoirs, personal accounts, historical documents and records, and conducting scores of interviews with veterans, local historians, townspeople and relatives, PETER LION presents for the first time the definitive and true story captured in "MERG".