Hogan's Heroes - Premise


The setting was a fictional version of Luftwaffe Stalag 13 (Camp 13 in early episodes), a POW camp for captured Allied airmen located north of the town of Hammelburg in the Bad Kissingen woods. Its location was on the Hammelburg Road (now known as E45), on the way to Hofburgstraße and eventually Düsseldorf. One episode places the camp 106 kilometres (66 mi) from Heidelberg, measured in flying miles; it was 199 km (124 mi) by car. The camp had 103 prisoners during the first season, but appears to have grown significantly by the end of the show.

Stalag 13 bore no resemblance to its real-life counterparts, Oflag XIII-B and Stalag XIII-C, which were prison camps for Allied ground troops. It had rather more similarities to the real-life Stalag Luft III, which was the scene of a famous mass prisoner escape involving an elaborate tunnel system. The show's premise was the POWs were actually using the camp as a base of operations for Allied espionage and sabotage against Germany. The prisoners could leave and return almost at will via a secret network of tunnels and had radio contact with Allied command, which was based in London and code named "Papa Bear". Hogan's code name was "Goldilocks". They were aided by the incompetence of the camp commandant, Colonel Klink, and the rather more complex motivations of Sergeant of the Guard Schultz.

Colonel Hogan would routinely manipulate the incompetent Klink and get Schultz to look the other way while Hogan's men conducted secret operations. Klink and Schultz were in constant terror of being transferred to the Russian Front, and Hogan took pains to keep the hapless German duo firmly in place. Schultz was quite aware the prisoners were carrying out some sort of mischief, but deliberately ignored it to maintain the status quo. He would just state, "I know nothing","I hear nothing" or "I see nothing", sometimes all three.

Klink had a perfect record of no escapes while he commanded the camp, not including two guards who may have deserted. Hogan actually assisted in maintaining this record, and made sure any prisoners who needed to be spirited away had been transferred to someone else's authority before their escape was enacted or replacements were provided to maintain the illusion that no one had escaped.

The main five Allied prisoners (three Americans, one British, one French) bunked in "Barracks 2" (a goof here was that whenever the door was open, another building labeled "Barracks 3" could be seen, even though the barracks were supposed to be directly in front of the 'Kommandantur', which was, unlike actual prison camps, situated inside the wire. The prisoners have tunnels to every barracks, and Hogan has difficulty, in a third-season episode, finding a spot in the camp without a tunnel under it!

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