Many thanks to Graeme Reid for the masthead drawing & design - © 2005 (


One of the first things one notices about the Sven Hassel series is that the 27th (Penal) Panzer Regiment seem to have fought on all the European fronts and in several places at once. Oh dear. So, is it possible to read the books in any sort of chronological order? Probably drive you mad trying to work it out but here`s a start (and this isn`t all the books). Thanks to contributors - especially Mr Psycho - for working this stuff out:-

Timescale Title and Notes
mid-1941 The Commissar - pg38 they are pushing deep into the Ukraine, pg40 Sven mentions Nikolayev (just N of the Crimea if I remember right), and numerous references to large numbers of Soviet prisoners has to be summer of '41.
October 1941 to January 1942 Blitzfreeze - Attack on Moscow (Operation Taifun).
Winter 1942-43 (?) Court Martial - Set in Finland but the story doesn`t fit in with anything the Germans did in the North.
Probably winter 1942-43 O.G.P.U Prison - Have no idea WHERE in the Eastern Front. This is a tough one; pg24 the Jaeger says he is headed to the Caucasus front so seems like '42 or '43, but the prison holds prisoners from the Kiev & Kharkov military districts (pg77). If the Soviets own the prison I would place this during summer '41. So this one is a toss up. (n.b. In OGPU Prison the Old Man refers back to Rasputin the Bear who appears in The Bloody Road To Death - so really this should be after BRTD??)
Late 1942-April 1943? S S General - Stalingrad - the seige ended with the German surrender 31 Jan 1943 but our heroes manage to break out. Survivors were spotted crossing the Steppe as late as April 1943. In reality no known survivors made it back to the German lines.
Late 1942-April 1943? March Battalion - On page 10 the Old Man says they are supposed to link up with the Rumanian 4th Army SW of the Volga if they can't make it back to their original lines, this means this takes place at the same time as SS General.
Winter 1943 - March 1944 Wheels Of Terror - Early in the book the characters talk about when they were in the Caucasus, so we must be at least into 1943. Also it is winter, (as usual for a Hassel novel) so we are probably looking at 1943/44. The clincher is the fighting around Cherkassy in the later chapters of the book. Cherkassy is to the south of Kiev, and fighting took place here in early 1944. A pocket of German troops were almost encircled, but managed to escape, as described in the book. Winter 1943/44 – Start of Wheels of Terror. Feb/March 1944 – End of Wheels of Terror.
April-August 1944 Comrades Of War - Seems to follow on from Wheels of Terror. Sven is badly wounded in WoT, and starts CoW on a hospital train back to Germany. It is still winter at the start of the book. WoT ends with the section climbing a cliff and in CoW, (Chapter 3), Sven describes how he was wounded scaling a cliff. In the hospital in Hamburg we learn how Dr Mahler was almost implicated in the plot to assassinate Hitler (July 1944), so this gives us a date reference. We also learn that Sven and the rest spend four months recuperating in Hamburg, on top of time in the hospital in Cracow, and the two weeks on the hospital train.
1943-1944 Assignment Gestapo - More Hamburg and prison guard duty. Timescale guessed at - the heavy Allied bombings are a good indication. The city was bombed for an entire week around July 25, 1943. Also at the end of the book they are heading for Cassino.
Jan 1944 to May 1944 Monte Cassino - Anzio Landings and later Battles of Monte Cassino.
mid-1944 The Bloody Road To Death - Obviously in the Balkans, pg59 - "this is between the Greeks and the Bulgars"; pg70-SS Moslem Division soldier; escort duty goes through Corinth & Athens-Greece, Belgrade-Jugoslavia, and Budapest-Hungary; and pg221 - fighting the Russians around Jassy, Romania puts this around 6/44-8/44 or so.
June 1944 to February 1945 Liquidate Paris - Normandy landings through to German retreat across the Rhine.
August to October 1944 Reign Of Hell - Warsaw uprising - plus a bit extra either side….

Home - Books - Biography - Characters - Email - Mailing List - Copyright Notice