Friday, April 24, 2015

Platoon Leader Now Available as Print and Play PDF

H&S GAMES is proud to announce Platoon Leader and its two expansions are now available in print and play PDF format!  If you missed the boat the first time around, then here's your second chance to dive into the game that made a small underground splash upon its initial release.

Official site for ordering:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hitler Moves East 1941-43

The prequel to Scorched Earth.

I picked this thing up for a buck at the University of New Orleans book sale.  This would make my second copy but the one i already own is tucked away in a plywood coffin of books back in St. Louis.  

Besides being a rudimentary history, or a nice paper weight, perhaps the more interesting stuff arises when you get past the cover and take a look at the author.  

Paul Karl Schmidt aka Paul Carrell, was born in November 1911 and died on June 20, 1997.  He was an obersturmbannfuhrer or Lieutenant Colonel in the civilian Allgemeine SS.  He worked as the chief press spokesman for Germany's foreign minister Von Ribbentrop.  After WW2 ended he became a successful author.
Paul became a member of the Nazi party in 1931and a member of the SS in 1938.  He graduated from university in 1934 and became an assistant at the institute of psychology of the university of Kiel in Germany.  He held several positions in the Nazi student association.  In the SS,  Schmidt was promoted to the rank of obersturmbannfuhrer in 1940.  During the same year, he became the chief press spokesman for foreing minister Von Ribbentrop.  In this position, he was responsible for the German Foreign minisry's news an press division.  
The main task of Schmidt was the chairing of the daily press conferences of the ministry.  He must therefore be seen as one of the most important and influential propagandists for National Socialsim during WW2.  Recent studies confirm that his influence was at least on the same level as that of Otto Dietrich (Reichspressechef of Adolf Hitler) and of Hans Fritzshe (Pressechef the Reichspropagandaministerium).  Schmidt was also responsible for German propaganda magazine 'Signal'.
That Schmidt justified the Holocaust through his propaganda is now seen as certain.  In May 1944, he even gave advice on how to justify the deportation and extermination of Hungarian Jews, to counter the potential accusation of mass murder. 
The planned undertaking (against the Jews of Budapest) will create significant attention, and lead to a strong reaction because of its scope. Those who are against us will scream and talk of a hunt on humans, and will try to use terror propaganda to increase feelings against us in neutral states. I would therefore like to suggest whether it would not be possible to prevent these things by creating reasons and events justifying the undertaking, e.g. finding explosives in Jewish association buildings and Synagogues, plans for sabotage attacks, for a coup d’etat, attacks on policemen, smuggling of currency in significant amounts to destroy the fabric of the Hungarian currency. The final piece of this should be a particularly heinous case, which can then be used to justify the dragnet.
  Schmidt was arrested on May 6, 1945 and interned for 30 months.  It was left open for a long time whether he would appear as one of those indicted, or as a witness for the prosecution during the war crimes trials.  During the trial of the German foreign ministry, he finally appeared as a witness for the prosecution and disingenuously portrayed himself as a fighter for democratic freedom of the press.  After the war, he became an author.  Starting in the '50's, he wrote for the magazine Kristall.  He first used the pseudonym Paul Karell, and later Paul Carell. From 1965 to 1971 the office of the state prosecutor of Verden in Germany investigated him for murder.  But the investigation, which attempted to clarify his role in specific events involving Hungarian Jews ended without indictment and Schmidt would never have to face a t rial for his activities during the war.  As the investigation was carried out, Carell's second successful career as a writer commenced where a number of magazines published his work among them Spiegel.  The success of his books, "Hitler Moves East" and "Scorched Earth" propelled him into international renown.  Carrell claimed that were it not for the meddling of Hitler in the affairs of competent general such as Von Manstein, Germany could have won the war in the east.  He also claimed that the invasion of the Soviet Union was a preemptive measure intended to forestall an invasion of Germany by the Soviets, a view that is held by contemporaries Viktor Suvorov and Mark Solonin.  

So what do we make of this author when compared or contrasted to his past? When we consider the intertwining of history with his distinctive point of view?  Should his work be regarded as "scholarly" or a rip roaring lunch break reader?  I am not presupposing that a person's personal involvement with a history he is attempting to describe should exclude him from being taken seriously.  But i am offering a flag of caution here, if nothing else, because we have come such a long way and dug so deep since the time of "Hitler Moves East".    Consider a more recent history by David Stahell, "Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East."  This is a masterful work on Hitlers eastward inclinations.  The author's non-biased view in no way qualifies him as the better author, rather, his familiarity of the subject and self evident mountain of research does.  That said, sure you can settle for Carrell's adequate history as a worthy companion for your restroom leisure but at some point your going to want to "get off the pot" and reach for the definitive story of those fateful years by someone who has qualified himself the better of the two through a dedication to an endless research of the historical record divorced from any personal POV.

Carrell's book was perhaps necessarily par for its time, but Stahel's book is a marked advance in historical research and imperative for our time.