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Mar 04, 2014
| ISBN 9780425259627
Dec 04, 2012
| ISBN 9781101613450
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Mar 04, 2014 | ISBN 9780425259627
Dec 04, 2012 | ISBN 9781101613450
He never planned on becoming a leader—or a hero . . .In early October of 1944 Private William Meller was 20 years old. Joining I Company, 28th Divison as a rifleman, he was indoctrinated on the front line to the horrors of fighting the battle-hardened German Wehrmacht in the wet freezing cold of the Huertgen Forest. In early November, fighting with only rifles and grenades for three days and without food, water or medical supplies two hundred men of I Company were surrounded, killed, wounded or captured. This created the only Cease Fire in WWII. Meller and two GIs escaped to the American lines with the guidance of a German Corporal.In early November I Company was re-formed, with Meller as Sergeant-squad leader, second Platoon and moved to the Ardennes; installed their Outpost one half mile facing the Siegfried Line on the German-Luxembourg border next to Walthausen. At 6:30 AM December 16 the Panzer Lehr German Division crossed the Our River: With Staff Sergeant Meller, now the Platoon Leader, 12 men stopped the German Armored Infantry offensive until they ran out of ammunition and the Panther Tanks arrived at 4:30 PM. This was beginning of The Battle of the Bulge.INCLUDES PHOTOS
He never planned on becoming a leader—or a hero… In November 1944—Sergeant William Meller was just twenty years old. Very soon into the fighting in Huertgen Forest, he found himself promoted to squad leader by attrition, since every single officer in the rifle companies had already been killed or wounded. Meller and his men, living in freezing foxholes and armed only with rifles and a few machine guns and grenades, fought against the Wehrmacht’s battle-hardened soldiers and its juggernaut Panzer tanks, all while under withering barrages of artillery fire. The bravery and determination of Meller and the soldiers of Meller’s 28th Infantry Division allowed them to survive what would become the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought in its history. But they would get little respite from the carnage. Almost immediately, they were sent to fight the Germans in the densely forested and bitter-cold Ardennes. Again, Meller and his GI’s were vastly outnumbered and out-equipped in the fight which would soon become known as the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler’s final offensive. The vaunted Wehrmacht threw everything they had in their arsenal against the American dogfaces. This is the true story of a man in combat who continuously adapted to his circumstances with grace and courage, ultimately transforming himself from an ordinary young GI to a leader who helped show his soldiers, by example, how to survive war.
William F. Meller graduated from Gettysburg College in 1947 with a BA degree in liberal arts. Meller and his wife raised a family, and he enjoyed a successful business career. Now retired, he lives South Carolina.
“A gripping and deeply felt account of one infantryman’s experience in WWII. Its lessons, however, transcend time and space to teach us about all wars and all warriors.”— Nathaniel Fick, New York Times bestselling author of One Bullet Away“William Meller’s journey from inexperienced dogface to hardened combat leader is a truly fascinating story that oozes with drama and authenticity. From the Huertgen to the Bulge to his days in captivity, Meller shares the emotion and trauma of a small-unit leader’s experiences as few ever have. This is one of the finest combat memoirs I have ever read and I highly recommend it.”—John C. McManus, author of The Deadly Brotherhood and Grunts“William Meller is capable of transforming the harsh and bitter battle experience of the 1944 Huertgen Forest into a true piece of outstanding literature, gripping and convincing. This is very rarely found. A masterpiece.”—Christian Frey, TV Director, German History Channel
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