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"Handling of Prisoners" from Intelligence Bulletin, September 1943

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]  
The following report on German handling of Allied prisoners was printed in the September 1943 issue of the Intelligence Bulletin.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Intelligence Bulletin publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


It was a German practice in North Africa for units down to platoons to designate one or more soldiers who were to undertake specific escort duties if prisoners were captured. These designated soldiers were to cease fighting immediately, upon the order of their company commander or platoon leader, and were to take charge of the prisoners. It was stipulated that the following procedure be carried out:

a. The soldier in charge was to search all prisoners thoroughly immediately after their capture. The prisoners were to lay down all weapons, including pocket knives, at once. If this order was not complied with, the soldier in charge was to use firearms against the offenders.

b. If the tactical situation permitted, the prisoners were to be marched back, in formation, to the temporary battalion prisoner-of-war collecting point. Officers, noncoms, and enlisted men were to be marched back in separate groups. The escorting German soldiers, holding their rifles (with bayonets fixed) ready for action, were to march on either side and to the rear, of the group. Prisoners attempting to break away and escape were to be dealt with immediately by the use of firearms.

c. Of the prisoners' possessions (besides their weapons), only documents, letters, plans, sketches, and photographs were to be confiscated.


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