Friedrich von Hecht
Captain Friedrich von Hecht was a German Wehrmacht officer of skill and cunning. He was stationed in Italy in 1944, but had also served in Africa. Although he could be ruthless and unforgiving, he disliked using violence outside of battle, and consequently despised the brutal Waffen-SS. He did not get along well with Colonel Jannings, the ranking SS officer in the region.
Von Hecht was an avid hunter, and treated military operations like games of wills. When Captain Turner survived the massacre of the American demolitions team, an eager von Hecht saw this as an opportunity to put his hunting and tracking skills to the test. Assisted by his faithful second in command Sergeant Schwalberg, he and his men doggedly pursued Turner all across the region. When von Hecht discovered evidence that Turner was going to blow up the Della Norte Dam, he tried to tell Colonel Jannings, but Jannings ignored him, convinced the American's target was instead the farther away Grimaldi Tunnel. After the death of Corporal Gunther, a vengeful Jannings turned the hunt for Turner into an SS affair, having von Hecht's superior General von Kleber removed from command and placing von Hecht under the command of the sadistic Major Taussig, who'd ordered the massacre of the village of Reanoto.
In the meantime, Turner had teamed up the orphaned children of Reanoto and taught them how to use machine guns. The boys then attacked the SS' headquarters and slaughtered all of Taussig's men in revenge for their parents' deaths. When a shocked Taussig still refused to listen to reason and divert troops to the Della Norte Dam, an enraged von Hecht shot him and went rogue, driving to the dam and taking over command from Captain Kreuger. It didn't take Kreuger long to realize von Hecht wasn't supposed to be there, he tried to have von Hecht arrested. Right then, Turner and the boys attacked the dam. Von Hecht was able to grab a rifle and slip away in the confusion, and consequently survived the destruction of the dam.
While tracking his prey in the woods later, he came upon Aldo, who shot him in the arm. An impressed von Hecht surrendered to the boy, but Aldo, whose thirst for blood wasn't quenched by wiping out the SS, prepared to executed von Hecht. Von Hecht was saved by the timely arrival of Turner and the other boys, as well as German doctor Bianca, who convinced Aldo to let von Hecht live. After being tended to by Bianca, a grateful von Hecht told his former enemy Turner he admired how he admired him. He then went with Turner, Bianca and the others to meet up with an approaching column of American troops.
- In Michael Avallone's novelization, von Hecht's first name is Wilhelm.