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"British Security Control of Prisoners of War" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. military report on British handling of prisoners in the Middle East was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 14, Dec. 17, 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.]


Highly mobile units are faced with a special problem in handling enemy PWs. From one Middle East theater of operations, it is reported that no specific procedure seems to have been developed by the British in this particular theater, for the handling of prisoners of war by such units. The somewhat general nature of the following remarks seems to indicate that a great deal is left to improvisation in this matter.

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Units capturing prisoners are responsible for delivering them to the divisional collecting center. The location of this place is fixed by the "A" Branch of the Staff [see reference in preceding article] and notified in operational orders. The provost service takes them over at the collecting center and is responsible for them until they are evacuated to the rear.

PWs are sent back in empty transport vehicles under a guard supplied from the reserve brigade or units. The strength of this guard is gauged by the physical fitness of the prisoners and the existing circumstances. One guard to every 10 PWs is considered adequate.

Anticipated fast movements of motorized troops and the conservation of striking power may preclude the detachment of sufficient guards, in which case PWs will be immobilized as far as possible, by removal of shoes, trousers, etc. A lull in the battle may then permit the detachment of troops for escort or guard duty until "B" echelon (second echelon) transport is available for movement to the rear.


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