Thursday, June 6, 2013

Men's Mag Roundup: More Nazi She-Devils

Since the last batch of Nazi She-Devil stories I read were mostly subpar, I thought I’d take a look at similar stories published by the Diamond line of men’s adventure magazines. Unfortunately it appears there wasn’t too many of them – while the Diamond line offered very pulpy tales, it looks like they never really exploited the Nazi She-Devil subgenre. A shame, really, as the stories in these mags are all better than those I reviewed in the previous batch.

However the first story, from the November 1960 Male, is misadvertising of the worst sort. The “true book bonus” is the promisingly-titled “Prisoner in Fraulein Anna’s Private Compound,” by Eugene Heimler, and the title has you expecting one lurid read. And check out the splashpage art by Charles Copeland, which makes the story come off like the ultimate piece of Nazi She-Devil pulp:

And yet…there is no such scene in this story. There’s no “private compound.” There’s no “man-hungry Nazi prison mistress.” There isn’t even a “Fraulein Anna!!” In short, nothing in this illustration or its captions takes place in the actual story – which in fact is an excerpt from Heimler’s book The Night of Mist (later reprinted as Concentration Camp), a nonfiction book about Heimer’s life in a concentration camp. It’s actually pretty despicable that editor Bruce J. Friedman would put such a sensational, lurid splash illustration on what is a true account of the unimaginable horrors of a Nazi camp…not to mention that the rest of the story is graced with grisly photos of corpses in the camps.

Anyway Heimler’s account is as expected harrowing and depressing and comes off very strange placed here in a pulp magazine filled with pulp fiction. “Fraulein Anna” in reality turns out to be a young gypsy girl named Anna who is the daughter of one of Heimler’s fellow prisoners in the camp, and the story details the horrors of the camp and how ordinary people were faced with the ultimate evil. It’s hard to realize the magnitude of what the Nazis did, and I feel that publishing this excerpt in a pulp mag with misleading captions and art cheapens it. I wonder how editor Friedman could stoop to such a thing.

Luckily the other stories are the more-expected pulpy and fun tales. “The G.I. Who Holed Up with a Cossack Brigade” by Peter Lee takes place in 1918 during the Russian civil war and is about an American, Corporal Leon Vonsky, who is sent to help a battalion of Cossacks fight the Reds. It turns out this is an all-female battalion, the balshiye svitski, aka the “big-bosom brigade,” made up of sturdy Cossack women. The story follows the expected path with the chief of the women, Dayra, making advances on Vonsky as soon as he arrives, with other women following suit as he stays with them for a protracted time. It builds up to a climactic assault on Communist forces, but overall the story was a bit underwhelming.

“There’s A Psycho at the Controls of the Lazy Lil” by Glenn Infield is an unintentionally funny piece about a bomber pilot who goes nuts after a crash landing during heavy fighting in WWII; he breaks out of his asylum and steals a B-17, heading for Germany. His brother, also a bomber pilot, goes after him, trying to call him back. Goofy stuff, with the sane brother calling to the insane one over the radio, and the insane one has no idea where he is or what’s going on as he takes on German planes.

Another long story is “TheYank Who Flew 20 Partygirls Out Of Red-Held Soochow,” by Martin Fass – this one is about Joe Haskell, a pilot who after the Korean War stuck around in Asia to fly his own plane service. His old airplane is a waste, though, and he’s offered a job by Shanghai crook Pei, who tells Haskell that if he can get into China and take back Pei’s old plane, returning with it and Pei’s brother to Shanghai, then the plane will be Haskell’s. But it turns out that the “brother” is really infamous Red Chinese VIP General Soo, and in addition there are twenty convent girls: pretty young things who, in exchange for being smuggled out of China, will work for a year in one of Pei’s brothels.

The story instead becomes a survival epic, as the plane crashes due to enemy fire and Haskell takes it in on an idyllic, deserted island – one complete with streams and beaches and basically anything a person could want. They build huts to live in and in between warding off the increasingly-insane Soo, Haskell develops a thing for one of the girls, Dora. But eventually the other girls get sick of Dora hogging all of the lovin’, so Dora asks if Haskell wouldn’t mind spending time with a different girl every night? Finally Haskell’s able to get the plane off the island, but the girls want to stay, and we’re told that now each year Haskell finds the time to “leave civilization” and spend a few months with them on their island!

“The Day Big Murphy Became God of Tiera Del Fuego” by Martin Sol is another goofy piece, this one about a redheaded Bostonian in the 1920s who shipwrecks off an island where his red hair makes the natives think he is a representative of their god. The expected stuff, with Murphy getting in some quality time with the native beauties who worship him, while meanwhile the old chief begins to hate Murphy and plots to feed him to “the fire god,” aka the island’s live volcano.

The December 1960 Male is much better. And the Nazi She-Devil story here is the best one I’ve yet read: “Baron Klugge’s Strange Fraulein Cult,” by Gregory Patrick. Whoever Patrick is, he has a great sense of humor and delivers a long story that doesn’t take itself seriously in the least. It’s 1945, four months after the German surrender, and Corporal Peter Decker is picked up by an attractive fraulein in Stuttgart. The lady, Helga, tells Decker she’s taking him to a wild party, but instead takes him to Castle Doomsday, the domain of insane Otto von Klugge, a former Gestapo sadist who has sworn to continue the war against the Allies despite Hitler’s death.

Decker becomes the prisoner of Klugge and his five “daughters;” in addition to Helga (a former actress in Nazi Germany), there’s Therese and Bertha (a pair of twins), Erna (a “busty” dancer) and Lisa (a former concentration camp guard). All five of them are of course gorgeous and devoted Nazis – save for Erna, who is only in it because Klugge has given her the opportunity to dance for a paycheck again, whereas in the previous months of German hardship she’s had to sell herself just for a Hershey bar. Also each of the girls wear revealing outfits emblazoned with swastikas, like Nazi superheroines or something.

Klugge’s method of guerrilla warfare however is pretty nutty. His castle doubles as a bar and once a week he hosts a live theater for secret Nazi loyalists where he puts up a straw dummy “prisoner,” hands out whips, and allows the patrons to whack on them as if they are back in the concentration camps! Then later he’ll go out with his five girls and one of them will get the interest of a horny American G.I.; another girl will sneak up and knock the guy out cold, and then Klugge will paint a Hitler moustache on the guy! Meanwhile Decker is trussed up throughout, made to watch and still unsure why he’s here.

Klugge’s attempts at “breaking” Decker are also goofy, making him drink endless pitchers of “good German beer.” (This is when Lisa isn’t rolling cannonballs at a bound Decker or the other girls aren’t making him play horsey and carry them across streams!) Along the way Erna develops a thing for Decker, as he’s the first man to be nice to her in forever, so of course she eventually starts coming to him at night. Finally Decker learns that he’s been kidnapped because he has access to a prison where a former SS officer is being held, and Klugge wants the man freed. Instead with Erna’s help Decker gets loose, blows off Klugge’s head with a Luger, and we learn that the “daughters” were eventually tracked down and served a few years in jail.

The “true booklength” piece is “Buried Alive: A Jap Lieutenant, Three Pleasure Girls, An American G.I.” by Richard Gallagher, who is one of my favorite men’s mag authors. And this story really lives up to its “booklength” tag…I mean, this story goes and on and on. But unfortunately it’s for the most part a snoozer. Sgt George Trumbull is a prisoner in Hiroshima on the morning of August 6th, 1945 when the atom bomb hits; Trumbull, the Japanese overseer of the POW camp, and three members of the Iwasaki Women’s Labor Battalion manage to find shelter in a massive underground bunker.

Due to the massive amounts of rubble the quintet are stranded below, in what is otherwise a great shelter, complete with a few years’ worth of food. Gallagher chooses to play it all on the level, though, delivering a mostly-serious tale of survival, with Trumbull and the “Jap,” Lt. Hirata, in an endless battle of wills, while meanwhile the three women (Toshiko, Helen, and Mary – and yes they are Japanese despite their names) give their support to whichever of the two men they think is the strongest.

The problem here is Trumbull himself, who is basically a square and who takes too much of Hirata’s shit. Also you would figure that Gallagher would really play up on the “three pleasure girls” angle of the title, but Trumbull continuously spurns Toshiko’s advances, to the point where you start to go hmmm. (Another curious tenor arises when we learn that Helen and Mary develop a lesbian bond when neither Trumbull or Hirata will give it to them!) Finally though Trumbull “violently takes” Toshiko…but it’s a quick scene and not a fun one because by this point Gallagher has constantly reminded us how filthy everyone is, as Trumbull has banned anyone from “wasting” their precious water on baths.

It all just keeps grinding on, with only the occasional fun bit, like when Hirata and the gals go temporarily goofball, chasing each other around like idiots while Trumbull watches on in confusion. There’s also a fairly epic sewer rat attack. But for the most part it’s a tepid tale, monstrously blown out of proportion; it would’ve been so much better if “Baron Klugge’s Strange Fraulein Cult” had been the true booklength and this story had just been a regular extra-length tale. But anyway it all of course ends with Trumbull finally killing Hirata after yet another of the Lt’s insane attacks, and finally he and the gals reach freedom, two months after being stranded below.

“The Yank Who Escaped From Mussolini’s Secret Stockade” by Walter Kaylin is a little better; there’s an interview with Mario Puzo in the book It’s A Man’s World where Puzo states that Kaylin was his favorite of all the men’s mag writers. But this piece here treads the line a bit too much into fact-based or at least potted history, about a guy named Tony Frank who runs afoul of the fascists in Italy in 1925 and is thrown in the infamous Lipari stockade. It comes off as too much of an article and isn’t as pulpy as I would’ve preferred.

“Sgt Ivarson’s Harem of Fighting Aleut Girls” by Martin Fass is more like it. Another long story, one that actually lives up to its title. I wonder why it wasn’t included in the Noah Sarlat-edited anthology Women With Guns, as it also lives up to that anthology’s title and theme moreso than any of the actual stories in the collection. Anyway it’s August 1942 and native Alaskan Sgt. Ivarson has spent the past two months training an indiginous group of guerrillas in the Aleutian islands, stemming the Japanese invasion.

However Ivarson’s guerrilla force is actually just five teenaged girls, all that was left on Amchitka island after the initial “Jap” assault. Ivarson, along with old Eskimo guide Cumjak, trains the girls into a fierce team, and pretty soon they are pulling raids on Japanese encampments and blowing them away. And the “harem” stuff really comes into play when the lead girl, Mae, tells Ivarson that the girls have planned a celebration before their initial assault…a celebration which includes copious sake intake, dancing, disrobing, and a mass orgy, Ivarson handling all five of the gals by himself!

The pulp thrills continue with a climatic assault by the Japanese and Ivarson and the girls hiding in a mummy-filled cave; Ivarson begins hurling the mummies down at the “superstitious” Japanese, who promptly run away in fright! This was a very fun, very pulpy tale. But Martin Luray’s “The Daring Daylight Raid on Germany’s Mile-High Fortress” takes us back to the potted history route, a factual piece on a December 1943 special forces raid on La Difensa, an impregnable Nazi fortress in the Italian mountains. This campaign was also the basis for the 1968 film The Devil’s Brigade, which I’ve never seen.

The Nazi She-Devil tale in the May 1961 Male is another one that just barely qualifies – the Nazi She-Devils in Richard Gallagher’s True Book Bonus “G.I. On the Ship of Lost Frauleins” are in actuality members of the German Navy’s female auxiliary battalion. Anyway it’s September 1944 and Lt. Jesse Marcher is one of twenty Allied POWs who have been put on the SS Brunhilde, a German ship under the drunken command of Captain Voightlander. All of the POWs are airmen, but due to incorrect info on their records the Germans believe they are marine repairmen, and thus Voightlander claims that the men must be so, because German records could never be wrong.

Also on the ship are fourteen attractive German women – never expressly referred to as Nazi gals, but again the story falls into the subgenre by default. They helm various things on the ship, like the radio; the most attractive of them, Lena Schaatz, tells Marcher that she “greases Captain Voightlander’s driveshaft,” after which Marcher nicknames her “Fraulein Driveshaft.” The POWs are put to work shoveling coal in the bowels of the ship, punishment for not “admitting” they are really repairmen. This takes up a goodly portion of the narrative, Marcher coming off like a union rep as he bickers with Voightlander, who truth be told doesn’t come off as evil at all, just a guy who enjoys running a tight ship.

However this does lead to more inerraction with the gals; Voightlander keeps Lena as his personal mistress and, during one of their bicker sessions, Voightlander passes out from overdrinking and Lena takes March into the captain’s bedroom where they have sex just a few feet from Voightlander’s slumbering form. Eventually March sets it up so that the POWs sneak over to the women’s quarters each night, taking turns with the randy women. As for Lena she is up for anything, gamely sleeping with Voightlander, Marcher, and any other guy on the ship – “Germany is going to lose, and I’m just wild, wild, wild about men.”

As with the Gallagher story above it just grinds on and on with little pizzaz. Again rather than taking advantage of the salacious nature of the story’s concept and title, Gallagher instead focues on the squabblings among the men as Marcher continues to piss off Voightlander and the Germans. It all culminates with Marcher and a pal strapped as punishment to a boom mast during a heavy storm, but they survive the night, and the next day the POWs launch an assault, which itself goes on and on, the ship finally running into a Russian vessel that saves the day – and meanwhile Lena has already latched on to the Russians.

Speaking of Russians, there’s also “The Russian Spy Wore Black Lace Panties,” by Arnold Alexander. This long story is about Irma Schmidt and takes place in 1958, detailing how she got into the espionage game, sleeping with a variety of VIPs and getting information from them. “The Doomed 500 in Rommel’s Prison without Guards” is by Owen Truex and is fiction posing as a true story; Truex narrates how he was a captured POW and was sent to Stalag 353 near Tubruk in Africa, a hellish place where the commandant played games with the prisoners, letting them think they were able to escape but then cutting them down.

“The Angry Vets who Massacred a Crooked City Hall Gang” is by none other than Peter McCurtin, and it’s a very long but unfortunately tepid story about how a few hundred WWII vets banded together in Athens, TN in 1946 to wage war on a corrupt city hall regime that was ruling the populace with an iron fist. Finally “The Extraordinary Survival of James Kipness in Red China” by Martin Fass is another long tale about a Korean War vet in Tungchow province and his escape from the Reds, holing up with native Alice Kwok and waging a guerrilla war as he makes his way to safety. Okay but nothing spectacular, which pretty much sums up the majority of the tales in this review roundup.

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