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Thorvald or Koenig? The debate revisited


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We had a discussion a week or so ago about the famous sniper duel that occurred in Stalingrad between Vasily Zaitsev and the head of the German sniper school. David Robbins refers to the German as SS Colonel Heinz Thorvald. The upcoming movie based on the book is referring to the character as Major Koenig. Someone in the earlier thread (i do not recall who) wondered why the movie makers were using the name Koenig instead of Thorvald. I replied to that by saying that the reason he is being referred to as Koenig is because his real name was Koenig. Robbins used his artistic license to refer to him as Thorvald.

My response elicited questions about my supporting source material (and well it should have). At the time, I was a bit frustrated because i was quite sure of my case, but could not for the life of me recall where i had read the information. One fellow poster assured me that Beevor referred to the sniper as Thorvald (which, incidentally, i STILL cannot find in his book. He only briefly mentions the episode and virtually dismisses it as legend).

The reason i could not find the book is because the information was not gleaned from a book. I got my information from the two sniper experts who are interviewed on The History Channel during the Suicide Missions: Snipers special. Both of these men - on numerous occasions when recounting the story as it unfolded in Stalingrad - refer to the German sniper as Major Koenig. There is never any mention of a Thorvald. The details of the story as i heard it long ago are spot on. Robbins is spot on, as well, with most of the details. It just seems that he changed the name and rank of the head of thr German sniper school. It IS a novel, lest we forget smile.gif (additionally, as i pointed out when we first discussed this, Robbins cited July 22, 1941 as the date Barbarossa kicked off. He is a month off, of course).

I'd be happy to discuss this further. The purpose of this post is not to say "i told you so" or anything like that. I am simply citing my source.

Also, that program comes on quite a bit on THC. I've seen it 3 or 4 times now and have missed it at least that many times.

FWIW,

Preacher wink.gif

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The book "199 Days" about the battle of Stalingrad describes the sniper duel and refers to the German sniper as Thorvald. FWIW this book supposedly relied heavily on Soviet sources. I suggest you make your own decision on its reliability.

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Haven't read EatG, but know of it. It is a well-respected account of the siege. I lean towards believing that the man was Major Koenig, simply because the sources that refer to him as Koenig are a bit more reliable, IMHO.

Anyway, it won't change the world, but its interesting nonetheless.

Preacher smile.gif

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I remember reading about the sniper duels in Enemy At the Gates. I'm happy to hear that a movie is being made based on this book which launched my interest in the Russian Front war.

Hope they stick to the truth.

Wayne.

------------------

Blessed be the Lord my strength who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight.

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Guest TURBO

Just found my copy of enemy at the gates, on page 115 it states "The two adversaries knew each other only by reputation. Major Konings had arrived from Germany to duel Vassili Zaitsev."

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HEhehe i just finished reading that book, its good stuff,

herbjorn you dont want to know as its a spoiler if you are gunna read it

------------------

"Some people don't see the light until they first feel the heat"

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This is an interesting in depth article on the filming of Enemy at the Gates which interleaves the history with how Hollywood is portraying it. There is an extended portion where a historian is interviewed who talks about the compromises that have to be made for telling a story and how filmmakers must respect the 'general' accuracy of what is portrayed. They also talk about the use of CG effects.

http://www.cdi.org/russia/feb1100.html#5

The very last paragraph contains a SPOILER to the real story.

[This message has been edited by Disaster@work (edited 07-25-2000).]

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Guest *Captain Foobar*

well, I am drooling....

It seems that I am back to my early CM beta demo days of waiting...waiting....waiting....

But at least I can play CM in the meantime, huh?

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