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"German Instructions to Troops Who May be Taken Prisoner" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. report on German instructions to their troops taken prisoner by the Allies is taken from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 11, Nov. 5, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. 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.]


U.S. Intelligence Officers will be faced many times during the present conflict with the problem of extracting information from captured German prisoners. The Germans have, in general, issued to their troops security instructions similar to our own. In the past, however, the British have on innumerable occasions found German prisoners of war to be a rich source of vital intelligence of all sorts (see Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 9, p. 31). Evidence that German military authorities are taking measures to correct the undue loquacity of their troops subsequent to capture is afforded by the following order issued by Marshal Rommel to his troops in North Africa.

"H.Q. of Armored Group, Africa.

Subject: Behavior of soldiers taken prisoner of war.

"From the attached translation of three enemy news sheets of the 2nd South African Division, it regrettably appears that German prisoners of war have talked inexcusably.

"On receipt of these examples the troops will be instructed in detail how a soldier who is unfortunately taken prisoner of war is to behave. The chief principle at interrogation is, that apart from the personalia (name, date of birth, birth-place, rank) no further information may be given. As response to further questioning, the following will be the reply:

"'I cannot answer any further questions.'

"In conversation with other German prisoners of war who are not known, the greatest reserve will be exercised, as the English use agents in German uniform to listen to prisoners.

"Furthermore, under no circumstances may soldiers who are taken prisoners of war - after the usual destruction of all service papers - allow diaries or letters from home (from which, for example, conclusions may be drawn as to food worries, air-raid damage and the like) to fall into enemy hands.

"The German soldier who is taken prisoner must prove that even in this disagreeable situation he does not lose his proud, superior bearing."


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