Sven hassel books

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Jeremy Chan
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Post by Jeremy Chan » 25 Sep 2005 14:46

macgoy wrote:Hi, I think the Hassel's book are just entertaining.

But for what concerns Hassel himself, check the following site :

http://members.lycos.co.uk/haaest/Mains ... 0table.htm

He seems to be just a fraud.


Polynikes wrote:Apparantly Scen Hassel's books are the recollections of various soldiers who fought in WWII.

Hassel listened to the stories and wrote a series of books - rarely with any kind of date information and seemingly jumbled up anecdotes.

I loved them as a boy. My favourites were Liquidate Paris and Monte Cassino.

As with all books like this - the heroes got to fight in every campaign conducted by the Wehrmacht.

Cheers from Rich

When you read a number of 'apparentlys' and 'seems' and 'maybes' -- this about an author who's convictions are debateable -- you're opening a different kettle of fish. Do I hear the 'gullible' alarm working overtime?! :?
You stumble upon a bird-nest of goodies when Googling 'Sven Hassel'. I've been reading here what is tantamount to regurgitations of colourful fairytales and white lies -- to say the least -- about Hassel you can fish from cyberspace.
"He was a bike thief during the war . . . dressed up in SS-uniforms" "His wife owned a brothel" "He didn't write the books"

And those who swallow these jokes are no different to the other end of the spectrum who claim, "I saw a captioned photo of Sven Hassel in a German rmy uniform from googling. It's authentic I KNOW it has to be!!!" 8O :roll:

The content of the books is debateable and laughable at times I admit. But swallowing whatever info you read about him as gospel -- most likely so-called libel by what Hassel calls "that lunatic extreme rightist" Erik Haaest -- is just as naive.

I've got SS-General and Legion of the Damned. Both are the new Cassell editions. Slices of it, are clearly fictionalised. And whatever you may think of him -- just consider -- he's a bloody fine storyteller! :)
Cheers,
Jeremy
Last edited by Jeremy Chan on 25 Sep 2005 16:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom Houlihan
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Post by Tom Houlihan » 25 Sep 2005 14:54

Jeremy Chan wrote:The content of the books is debateable and laughable at times I admit. But swallowing whatever info you read about him as gospel -- most likely so-called libel by what Hassel calls "that lunatic extreme rightist" Erik Haaest -- is just a naive.


Hmmm..... This is almost a mirror image of the discussion about The Dirty Dozen! Same drivel, same entertainment genre, different perspective?

nihil
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Post by nihil » 25 Sep 2005 19:53

Jeremy Chan wrote:The content of the books is debateable and laughable at times I admit. But swallowing whatever info you read about him as gospel -- most likely so-called libel by what Hassel calls "that lunatic extreme rightist" Erik Haaest -- is just as naive.


Erik Haaest is not entirely an lunatic. He have collected stores of danish SS veterans in a 3 book series in 1975, which are some of the central works about Frikorps Danmark.
I can guess that he (Haaest) is/was angry on Sven for saying such BS about the war and calling it the truth, that he (Haaest) wrote this nonsense about Sven. Mabye his twist is doing in the Hassel style (totally over the top)

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USMC03
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Post by USMC03 » 23 Mar 2006 22:16

Porta was always my fav..2nd was Tiny..I too have read them since I was a kid...I liked the one at Monte Cassino best..."we were putting on airs in front of the paratroops..."

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USMC03
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Post by USMC03 » 23 Mar 2006 22:18

Tom

Have you read these books? I think youd like them...Leigh

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DXTR
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Post by DXTR » 04 Apr 2006 14:44

First of all, I have only read one or two of Hassels books, while highly entertaining I will not go into a debate on whether fictional history is a good thing or not. However I followed a link from Portas Kitchen where HAssel claims that his main characters were actually based upon real people. On his own Website Hassel has even published pictures of these characters. My knowledge of Est front history is not as extensive as a number of other members to the AHF, but when I went through the pictures of real life porta and Tiny I must say that I was a bit surpised when Hassel published this scaled down picture http://www.svenhassel.net/ilustra5.htm and the caption reads "Tiny in the turret of a Panther at the Don arrow".

I remembered having seen this picture before in a larger scale. So I went to Paul Carrells "Scorched Earth - The Russian German Wae 1943-1944" (Schiffer 1994). And there it is on page 81 (B) and it is clearly not Panthers but tigers, any fool can tell you that when the picture is in this size, and secondly it reads "Tigers Moving Forward in the Belgorod Area".
I don't know if the Don Arrow is related to the Belgorod area. But to me its a bit strange that Hassel presents a tank commander in the turret of a tiger, as Tiny in a panther. Unfortunately Hassels webpage has been altered and the illustrations can only be accessed through "portas kitchen" or the above link. The index page of his Webpage http://www.svenhassel.net/index.htm does not lead to the illustrations and neither does he give any explanation to the origin of these pictures. But my personal theory is that Hassel, hard pressed, wanted to maintain that his characters were not fictional but were based on reallife characters, and he then dug out a number of pictures from different sources and later claimed them to be of his own characters. Either way it clearly discredites any authencity or credibility to what he claims to be true - fictional or not fictional.

I have little respect for Erik Haaest, but Hassel strikes me as someone with a dubious view on the truth.

regards
David/DXTR

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USMC03
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Post by USMC03 » 04 Apr 2006 19:21

You bring up very good points...I love Svens books, but they do seem a tad bit on the more "ficticious" than "historical"..however..another authour you mentioned is just my fav of all..Paul Carroll..his "Here they come" and "Stalingrad" may well be the best axis accounts of the two campaigns..(Normandy and Stalingrad" ever written..in fact, one can gain a wealth of understanding by reading "Stalingrad" right after reading Chuikovs book on the same subject...

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B Hellqvist
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Post by B Hellqvist » 17 Nov 2007 02:02

I've just read "Legion of the Damned" (the Swedish translation from 1968), and took extensive notes, checking almost every dubious fact and claim, noting dates, locations, etc. The book is the most interesting to check, as it is claimed to be Hassel's "truest" book. One has to remember that it was originally published in 1953, before unit histories and similar resources were available to aid the memory of veterans. Almost all references to other units don't hold water - they are in other army groups, other fronts, or fictional. The 27th Penal Panzer Regiment is hogwash, of course, but the Feldpost number Hassel refers to a couple of times was used by one of the companies in the 11th Pz Reg, 6th Pz Division, and many locations and times where the "27th" fought corresponds to those of the 6th Pz Div. I wouldn't rule out the possibility that Hassel actually served on the Eastern Front, but hardly in a tank - his descriptions of the tanks (flamethrowers, 105 mm-gunned Panthers, etc) are often pure fantasy. Many events are jumbled, occuring after an event described in a following chapter, and some are just unlikely, like his involvement in the 20 July plot (meeting Rommel, etc) or him meeting Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest. So, "Legion of the Damned" is a mix of fantasy and some events that might be true, perhaps even experienced by Hassel himself.

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Wolfensteiner
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Post by Wolfensteiner » 20 Nov 2007 12:46

Thanks for your information B Hellqvist, this topic will always remain interesting to me, although the truth is forever lost in history.

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B Hellqvist
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Different editions?

Post by B Hellqvist » 21 Nov 2007 00:35

Are there different editions of "Legion of the Damned"? Well, there seems to be some confusion surrounding the matter... I've checked Danish Internet bookstore, library, and antiquarian bookstore websites, and most quote a page count of 288. Around 1962 and the 9th edition, the page count is up to 318. The Swedish edition, released in 1968, has 314 pages, and is most likely a translation of the extended Danish edition (with the Danish and Swedish languages being very similar in printed form, the page count ought to be the same, give or take a few pages). The chapter "Von Barring" ends on page 288 in the Swedish edition, and is the last chapter in the English-language edition. Here's a brief summary of chapters 34-38:

34. "Debussy: Prelude in A-minor"
Sven meets a Polish countess and spy, and helps her escape to the Russians.

35. "Run, Sven! You're wanted!"
Sven is in Budapest, where he meets Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. He is wanted by the Gestapo, and decides to desert. After some complications, he reaches Denmark.

36. "The Wonderful Collapse"
After being arrested in Denmark, Sven is in prison in Berlin, sentenced to death for his involvement in the 20th July Bomb Plot. He escapes when the prison is hit by bombs. Hides in the house of Erika, an actress. Berlin falls to the Russians.

37. "War Wound"
Sven is in a labour squad tasked to disassemble German machinery, which is sent east as reparations. A printing press receives special attention.

38. "Everything Has An End, Soon This Will Be Over"
Sven and Erika meets ex-lieutenant Jendisch and joins the black market. Rapes Erika. Erika disappears. Sven faces an uncertain future. The end.

To give an idea of the jumbled info on units in the book, here's a sample of my comments on chapter 17 "The Spectacle":

By the end of October 1941, the 27th Penal Panzer Regiment participates in the attack on Serpuschev, 100 km south of Moscow. The attacking force, which sorted under Army Group Center, consisted (according to Hassel) of the 4th (Infantry?) Division, the 12th Panzer Division, the 18th (Motorized
Infantry?) Division, and the 21st (Infantry?) Division, with the 1st SS-Division "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" as a reserve on the right flank. The 104th Panzer Grenadier Regiment is a attached to the 27th. This impressive list doesn't hold up to closer scrutiny. The 4th Infantry Division had been converted to the 14th Panzer Division (which operated in Army Group South; there was a 4th Panzer Division in Hassel's area). The 12th PD and 18th ID belonged to Army Group North outside Leningrad, while the 21st ID was in AG North, too, but in the Volchov area. The 1st SS-Division "LAH" belonged to Army Group South, and the 104th Panzer Grenadier Regiment (actually the 104th Rifle Regiment before 5 July 1942) was the southernmost of them all, operating in North Africa. By coincidence, the 6th Panzer Division (if Hassel really belonged to that division) was outside Moscow, so he could've been in the right area, but not in the unit claimed.

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B Hellqvist
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Re: SVEN HASSEL books

Post by B Hellqvist » 07 Aug 2011 03:58

Were Sven and his friends cloned? They sure needed to... I’m in the process of reading the books and taking notes, and some interesting things appear. According to “Legion of the Damned”, Sven was wounded in the battle of Kiev in November 1943, and was a convalescent in a military hospital for a while. At about the same time, he was fighting in Italy (“Monte Cassino”, autumn – winter 1943-44), but busy as always, Sven & Co were also in Berlin and northern Finland (“Court Martial”, autumn – winter 1943-44), and simultaneously involved in actions leading up to the battle of Cherkassy (“Wheels of Terror”, taking place in late autumn – winter 1943-44). Small wonder the stories are so action-packed, with Sven and friends zooming around on several fronts. I don’t know guys, but it is almost as if the stories are made up... (I’m a tad sarcastic here.) Well, they are still entertaining (mostly). Any more observations of Sven being in several places at the same time (like both in and outside of Stalingrad; see “SS General” and “March Battalion”, respectively)?

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Wolfensteiner
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Re: SVEN HASSEL books

Post by Wolfensteiner » 22 Oct 2011 12:37

B Hellqvist wrote:Were Sven and his friends cloned? They sure needed to... I’m in the process of reading the books and taking notes, and some interesting things appear. According to “Legion of the Damned”, Sven was wounded in the battle of Kiev in November 1943, and was a convalescent in a military hospital for a while. At about the same time, he was fighting in Italy (“Monte Cassino”, autumn – winter 1943-44), but busy as always, Sven & Co were also in Berlin and northern Finland (“Court Martial”, autumn – winter 1943-44), and simultaneously involved in actions leading up to the battle of Cherkassy (“Wheels of Terror”, taking place in late autumn – winter 1943-44). Small wonder the stories are so action-packed, with Sven and friends zooming around on several fronts. I don’t know guys, but it is almost as if the stories are made up... (I’m a tad sarcastic here.) Well, they are still entertaining (mostly). Any more observations of Sven being in several places at the same time (like both in and outside of Stalingrad; see “SS General” and “March Battalion”, respectively)?

Looking back and doing a bit of research myself, I dont think they are real either. I have read claims that he apparently has recycled most of these stories from real veterans he has met in bars and the like. Also a photograph from his site claiming to be Porta or someone is actually just an image from another source that comes up in a google search. ANd quite simply, I dont think any penal panzer units ever existed.. how can a bunch of convicts from various units function as an effective tank crew? I really enjoy the books an dhave read most of them and I think there might be small portions of true stories in amongst a lot of made up woffle.

I also read DEVILS GUARD recently after hearding about it for years, It was supposed to be true which I find very hard to believe.

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Re: SVEN HASSEL books

Post by Nautilus » 08 Nov 2019 10:12

Wolfensteiner wrote:
22 Oct 2011 12:37
I dont think they are real either. I have read claims that he apparently has recycled most of these stories from real veterans he has met in bars and the like. Also a photograph from his site claiming to be Porta or someone is actually just an image from another source that comes up in a google search. ANd quite simply, I dont think any penal panzer units ever existed.. how can a bunch of convicts from various units function as an effective tank crew? I really enjoy the books an dhave read most of them and I think there might be small portions of true stories in amongst a lot of made up woffle.
The stories are made up. Even as a simple Google search, or, before Google, any modelists' magazine can tell, no Strafbataillon (not regiment) ever got hold of a Tiger tank during mid-war years :lol:

Hassel's personal claim had been over decades the fact he needed to show up the cruelty and gore of the war. The claim wasn't real. But ended up showing truth for the wrong reasons: official history, from the Soviet Union to the memoirs of Wehrmacht and Allied officers, had insisted, for decades, the atrocities were mostly limited to the Eastern Front and were ideologically motivated. For Soviets, "the Fascist cruelty" was guilty, for the Reich "Untermenschen barbarians", while the Anglophone media laid the blame on "Nazi fanaticism". In Hassel stories, every unit, on every front, has some share in atrocities, and all of them expect the other side will pay back in blood. If the Wehrmacht had been "clean in myth" during the Cold War, in these stories it has bloodied hands just like anyone else.

On the other side, the claim of showing up the cruelty and gore of the war is absurd. The real reason for their popularity throughout 3 generations is actually the opposite: their portrayal of the German trooper (and of a few on the enemy side) in the peaceful lulls between fights as some cheerful braggart, a macho guy. Always ready for drink, brawl, pranks, gambling, black market dealings, spending the ill-gotten earnings on more drink and womanizing. This draws young male readers with the force of an all devouring black hole :D

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