Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-14-2022


Historical Studies


One of the stranger episodes in the history of World War II occurred over a period of 90 hours in the Belgian village of La Gleize in December 1944. During the bloody Battle of the Bulge, Hal McCown, a major in the U.S. 30th Infantry Division, was captured by troops of the Nazi Waffen SS and taken to La Gleize, where Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) Joachim Peiper had established his headquarters. Peiper commanded a battlegroup whose orders were to capture crossings over the Meuse river, thus opening the way to Antwerp, the primary German objective. It was also the battlegroup responsible for the murder of American POWs near the town of Malmédy. Over those 90 hours, McCown and Peiper forged an improbable relationship of mutual admiration and trust that is unique and which this essay analyzes and places in broad historical context.