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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Extract of an article,


armourersergeant

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"Killing Germans is not advocated, if it is easier and quicker to accept their surrender. Men should, however, be reminded that Germans sink hospital ships, poision wells, shoot and torture civilians and commit every possible atrocity and that the only good Germans are dead Germans" .Vaughan 30th March 1917 3rd Cavalry division.

This is the conclusion to an article/pamphlet that Major General J Vaughan 3rd Cavalry Division had disributed to his division in 1917. Not only do i find it very strong through out the pamphlet this conclusion, i think borders on almost giving permission to the troops to 'murder' German men who may have surrender!!

Have any others come across similar instances.

regards

Arm

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Just bringing this one back to the top to see if anyone has anything to add.

regards

Arm.

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Nothing as well sourced as this Arm .... but IIRC in Middlebrook's 'First Day' one of the interviewees?? states that his btn had been told in basic terms 'no prisoners'.

Whether that was ever put down in written orders ....?

I think the question has to be asked ... how many men were truly capable of killing in cold blood?

I know of the 'too late chum' scenario/heat of action shootings, bayonettings etc.

But the quote above takes things to a different level.

In its basic form it is a 'corporate blind-eye/green light' for the employees to kill prisoners.

Heavy stuff.

Des

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He had been watching to many John Wayne re-runs on late TV. You know, of the type, "The only good indian is a dead indian"

Or whatever they had in place of a TV or John Wayne in those days.

Reading the text a couple of times, I doubt if it would be taken for "a kill all prisoners" order.

Take no prisoners orders have often been given, not only in WW1, so as not to slow the advance but it was again not an order to kill those that surrendered. The second and third waves mopped up usually.

But just my ha'penny worth

Liam

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Have to agree to disagree on this one Liam.

I still read this as a clear indication that no-one is going to face punishment if prisoners are killed - and, if prisoners are likely to 'get in the way' of the operation it is recommended that you don't even think of taking any.

Thus 'killing Germans IS advocated if they are gonna mess up the timetable'

A pertinent question .... was anyone on the Allied side (no matter what rank) ever charged with the offence of killing prisoners in cold blood?

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if it is easier and quicker to accept their surrender.

To me this says it all, No rules of war all that stuff, just a simple 'you make your mind up on the spot do as you please scenario'. Which in mnay respects could be a catalyst to military discipline breakdown.

To me simply it would be pointless saying you cant kill him hes surrendered if you had a note like this in your mit.

regards

Arm.

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