In 1943, the Nazi Germany is suffering heavy losses at the Eastern Front and an order for all-out retreat is eventually issued. The 27th Penal Panzer Regiment, consisting solely of people convicted of various real or political crimes ranging from incest to dissidence, has just returned from Stalingrad where German forces were decimated by the Soviets after a year-long bloody fight. They are a motley tank crew that consists of Sergeant Willie Beier (aka Old Man), a family man who fears for the safety of his wife and child if he disobeys the Nazis, Corporal Joseph Porta, the team's fixer and a self-proclaimed communist who always tries to keep his spirits up whether through gambling, drinking or simple tomfoolery, Corporal Hugo Stege, Porta's "partner in crime", young Sven Hassel, a character based on real Sven Hassel, the writer of the novel that the movie was based on, Wolfgang Creutzfeldt (aka Tiny), a dimwitted and often violent giant of a man and Bauer, a silent but friendly ...
This group of last round draft picks ... wouldn't take orders ... didn't dress in uniform ... couldn't win a battle ! But they were the biggest bunch of lunatics ever to roll into war !
Did You Know?
The movie is based on the book Wheels of Terror, written by Danish writer Sven Hassel and first published in 1959. This is Sven Hassel's second book, and takes more of a fictional slant over his first one. See more
Towards the end of the film, the German general (Oliver Reed) orders "Get some flak up." No German would say this. Although to the western allies "Flak" meant aerial shrapnel, to the Germans it meant the gun that fired the shrapnel. It is an acronym of FLiegeAbwehrKanone, which simply means anti-aircraft gun. See more
Col. Von Weisshagen
I will send you ALL to the Eastern Front!