Obergefreiter Merkel was a Heer NCO serving under Hauptmann Friedrich von Hecht. He was the leader of a group of German soldiers hunting for Turner and the children in the woods. He hoped that if he captured the American, von Hecht would give him a promotion.
He and two other soldiers, Fritz and Horst, started searching for the trail they thought that Turner was using, and split up. Merkel was the one who found the trail. Hearing crying sounds coming from the nearby bushes, he investigated and discovered Bianca Freedling with Mario and Maria. As he called out to his two subordinates, he was attacked by Silvio, who attempted to hit him, but Merkel hit the boy across the face with his MP40.
Turner then ran up behind him and killed him with a knife, and used his MP40 to kill Fritz and Horst when they came running.
- He is played by Goffredo Unger.
- His rank is never stated in the film and comes from Michael Avallone's novelization, where he is referred to as "Corporal Merkel." However, he lacks an obergefreiter's bicep insignia.