Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Honor Denied by Paul Harker

This book was produced by the same author as "Directive 19". It is my opinion, and that of others, that these books are NOT real but fiction. In fact, if the author had advertised them as such they would probably have been well received, overlooking the enormous amount of factual mistakes the author makes, he does show some talent for fictional writing. Sad to say that the writing in both books is similar enough that one would know they were written by the same person rather than simply 'transcribed' from two totally separate veterans. While "Directive 19" shows the "ugly" side of the SS, that of an officer personally responsible for mass murder and genocide, "Honor Denied" is more a book about the "innocent" soldiers who simply fought for reasons other than what has been prescribed to the majority of those who served in the SS. Some would say this is a "white washing" of the SS, I would agree with them. Still, if some would like to treat this book as fact, then you'll have to account for the following mistakes/errors:

From the forward of the book:
"The average soldier in the Waffen SS did not care if a person was Jewish or a Communist."
Hard to believe especially in light of the indoctrination these men received, and the 5th SS Wiking division that the author belonged to most definitely was indoctrinated at one point or another, see "Valhalla's Warriors" by terry Goldsworthy.
"We saw 13 million Ukrainians starved to death under the orders of Josef Stalin and we believed it was a just act to liberate those people and destroy the Communist system that oppressed them."
The German invasion of the USSR was not a war based on liberation but rather on genocide. 13 million Ukrainians did not starve to death, the highest estimates at the height of the cold war didn't even reach that preposterous figure. There is also no evidence that Stalin ordered any such thing, but this is of course easily overlooked since the Mr. Harker can claim this is the author's opinion which doesn't need to be based in reality. Then again, this is the first time I've ever heard a so called SS soldier speak of such things when it comes to Ukraine, the Ukrainian people, or Soviet history.

The rest of the book:
As with "Directive 19" the main character in "Honor Denied" serves under Rommel, what are the chances?
"North of Verviers, Herr General leaned over the guiding bar of his hatch and said, "Put my 102's at the 2300 position, put my Panzer IIIs at 1400, my Grenadiers at the 1700 position and line up the 88's at 2000!" pg. 14. This just does not sound at all authentic, aside from the fact that "102s" did not exist and tanks were not ordered around by type but rather by the formation they were in.
Then on pg. 11 "Herr General [in this case Rommel] believed it suicide to directly assault this line of defense [Maginot Line] so instead of crossing directly into France and taking this line head on, he chose to invade France through Belgium, swing south through the Ardennes Forest and low country, drive past the Maginot Line and then turn parallel to it and attack it from behind." Rommel chose how to attack France? That's a new one for me.
Also, why would Rommel be asking Keitel "if he would be willing to hold firm at Sivry-Rance for six hours" during the invasion of France/Belgium? pg. 36 Keitel did not serve in the field.
During the campaign against France the author contends, on pg. 45, "I was able to contact the Grenadiers by using the Pertrix and asked if it was probable to put grenades or a panzerfaust round into the bell tower." Panzerfausts were not in circulation until 1943, the earliest, this is 1940. The same mistake was made in "Directive 19".
I found it odd that this soldier is constantly receiving orders directly from OKH and OKW, I can't imagine that the high command of the armed forces and high command of the army would both be sending orders directly to a divisional commander, specifically Rommel. What happened to his immediate superior(s)/commanding officer(s)?
On pg. 124 the author discusses training with his Wiking Regiment in the snow as they are getting ready to invade the Soviet Union. This would make more sense if Hitler and his high command actually anticipated fighting in the winter months, they didn't.
The chapter on Barbarossa has the author come into the Soviet Union, on June 21, 1941, by plane, land, come out and be met by so called "Ukrainian partisans" and then the plane that dropped him off leaves. I can't even begin to understand this. The soldiers are never told what their mission is, they aren't told who they're meeting, and the Ukrainians have their orders for them! While German aircraft went on spy missions over the Soviet Union, these missions were not a secret and they were almost always trailed by Soviet aircraft until they left Soviet airspace.
On pg. 129 the author claims "The Russian Army suspects the German attack will come." Not so, the Red Army was caught by surprise for a reason, they were not expecting or ready for an attack.
Pg. 137, as in the author's other book, the usual Ukrainian greeting is wrong, he states the Germans were greeted with flowers and wine, the usual greeting is bread and salt.
Pg. 139, the author uses the same "Communism and Bolshevism" as he did in "Directive 19", there is no reason to use both as they mean the same thing in this context. It seems that both sides blow whistles when they want something done, either retreat or attack. First time I've encountered so much whistle blowing.
Pg. 155 claims the author was assigned to an Einsatzgruppen for communication training, this is simply preposterous.
And on pg. 158 the author says that they "were told the Einsatz Units followed the main combat troops and remained behind in captured cities to access damages, repair factories and plants, fix the rail lines and govern the local population." That's unbelievably inaccurate, they were there to 'pacify the rear' and eliminate those who were deemed a threat to the Third Reich. And the Wehrmacht, and most definitely the SS, knew exactly what they were doing as they were often coordinating with them and were quite often asked for help in a variety of ways, cordoning off areas, helping with logistics, etc.
On pg. 163 the author reports about Russian 'half tracks' same mistake as in "Directive 19" the Red Army had no half-tracks so early in the war, and when they did have them they were sent through Lend Lease later in the war.
Pg. 181 the Red Army apparently has PaK39 anti-tank artillery, in reality they did not, the Red Army also has 108mm 'cannon', I've never seen mention of such a caliber.
The author claims, on pg. 182, that the Wehrmacht was given credit for "the capture of an entire Russian Army Group' when they took Kharkov in 1941, that's simply not true. This would be closer to the truth for Kiev, but not Kharkov.
Pg. 200 replacements arrive from a "replacement battalion" located at Rostov-on-Don, while the city was in Red Army hands. Operation "Blau", the German advance into the Caucasus and against Stalingrad, was, in reality, planned for late May 142, in this book the author is already talking about it, and it seems in February, it is already beginning.
Pg. 211 the author claims that Tiger tanks arrived at Rostov-on-Don in the middle of February 1942. The first use of Tiger tanks on the Eastern Front was in the north outside Leningrad in August of 1942, this of course overlooks the fact that, once more, Rostov was in Soviet hands in February.
On pg. 214 a Russian 'Nun' is watching over a German wounded soldier, I can't particularly remember too many Russian Nuns since the Soviet Union was an atheist state and persecuted religious institutions.
The author's Russian certainly hasn't improved since "Directive 19." On pg. 275 we have "Vam anee myortvee?" being translated as "Are they dead?" Not very accurate, 'vam' doesn't belong there as it means 'for you.'
It only gets worse as on pg. 276 the author hears "Tye saldaten! Pree kha deets!" "tye" is the only Russian word I recognize here, the rest are just letters put together.
More on pg. 278, "Da, min vee kyaat!" only 'da' can be identified.
On pg. 283 the author claims a regiment, specifically the one he's in, has over 12,000 men, I'm pretty sure he's confused a division with a regiment here. Regiments usually number 3,000 men.
On pg. 292 the author claims Novorossiysk was abandoned by the germans in October 1942, not true, Novorossiysk was fought over until late 1943.
On pg. 343 the author speaks of operation Bagration, which occurred in June of 1944, yet in this book it takes place in March as "...the Soviets launched a powerful offensive on the Belorussian Front..."

I cannot imagine how much more proof is needed to show that this book is the furthest thing from "authentic".


Troy said...

Good stuff Jan, your views have been heavily echoed over on Feldgrau, with phylo_roadking having conducted an exhaustive search into Mr Harker and his other flights of fancy. An excellent review mate!


Moshe said...

Bravo, great review.
Like to read your other reviews

T. Kunikov said...

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.