The 2nd Platoon
Joseph Porta: Berliner, Obergefreiter “of God’s Mercy;” redhead; gambler; won his yellow top hat in a game of cards with a Romanian count. Has a knack for business and knows how to procure merchandise; loves to cook and self-proclaimed chef. Fatally wounded in Russia.
Old Man: Willi Beier, or “Ol’ Un”; platoonleader; a carpenter by occupation; hates the war and wants to go back home as fast as possible to his workshop, his wife and children. Found calmly smoking his pipe and viewed as the father figure of the group. The “Old Man” fell in Russia.
The Legionnaire: Alfred Kalb, “the Little Legionnaire” was in the French Foreign Legion previous to the war and became a converted Muslim. Professional soldier who views death as his bride: “come death, come”. Returned to the Foreign Legion after the war along with Tiny.
Sven Hassel: Of Danish origin went to Germany due to unemployment and crisis in Denmark and joined the Wehrmacht. After the war, he served in several prison camps, including Denmark, and was finally released in ’49, hereafter he wrote 14 books based upon the 2nd platoon.
Tiny: Wolfgang Kreutzfeldt, Gefreiter, Hamburger from Reeperbahn; was a bicycling courier with a communist past; a giant of size and therefore a bully; more or less illiterate and not very smart, but still sneaky and deep down not as bad as he’d seem. Joined the Foreign Legion after the war.
Gregor Martin: Professional truck driver. Used to be a chauffeur for “his” general. Good at “arranging things” beyond the limits of the law. After the war he become the owner of a big truck and contracting company.
Julius Heide: A national-socialist racist and Jew-hater. Professional soldier, hard disciplined and always acting according to the army regulations. Heide always wanted to become an officer and did so after the war in the East German Army.
Barcelona Blom: A volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. He carried around a dry orange from Spain in his pocket. He’d planned to own and run an orange plantation of his own post-war, but never achieved this as he fell in Russia.