Unique US Method To Encourage Wehrmacht Infantry Surrender - 1944 NWE

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Richard Stone
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Unique US Method To Encourage Wehrmacht Infantry Surrender - 1944 NWE

Post by Richard Stone » 27 Feb 2022 12:21

The following is a report by the 378th Infantry Regiment that describes a method the unit developed to encourage the surrender of Wehrmacht troops. The method was first used during the fall and winter 1944 campaigns and was continued into 1945.

The report is from the US Army Combat Notes report series and is dated 11 January 1945.
ComBatt Notes - PWs To Encourage Surrender - 11 Jan 1945.png
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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Unique US Method To Encourage Wehrmacht Infantry Surrender - 1944 NWE

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Feb 2022 23:44

I've read of other examples of a one off or ad hoc basis, but nothing this well organized. There were allied soldiers who had unusual success in persuading the enemy to give up. A notable case was US Army Sgt Guy Gabladon who was consistently able to cause Japanese fanatics' to give up in groups.

Richard Stone
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Re: Unique US Method To Encourage Wehrmacht Infantry Surrender - 1944 NWE

Post by Richard Stone » 03 Dec 2022 18:54

The following short report by the 807th Tank Destroyer Battalion (Towed) describes the method the unit used to encourage the surrender of Wehrmacht troops.

The report is from the January 1945 issue of the US Army Tank Destroyer Newsletter.
Combat Notes - Surrender - TD NL January 1945 - Surrender.png
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Mori
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Re: Unique US Method To Encourage Wehrmacht Infantry Surrender - 1944 NWE

Post by Mori » 04 Dec 2022 17:36

Interesting reports!

The Psychological Warfare examples I read before were slightly different. When getting to a new location, nn armored vehicle equiped with a loudspeaker would warn of an incoming, devastating attack. Defenders had half an hour to get out of their hides and surrender. It could be that it was a German PoW speaking in the loudspeaker, but I'm not sure.

A similar call to surrender was shouted after the place was seized to collect soldiers who hadn't been spot so far or had kept down.

However,
1) The sources I knew so far pointed that there were good results from March 1945 on, but little before. So your example dated Jan, 11th 1945 is something new (to me).
It's interesting the document comes from 378IR, which beloged to 95th ID. Correct me if I'm wrong; the unit was in a fairly quiet sector, holding a small bridgehead conquered mi-December on the German side of the Saar river. It wasn't the area of a relevant US offensive effort as in the first half of January was still about wipping out the Bulge. So the examples given in the report either date from weeks before, or are a bit exaggerated.

2) Experience proved this psychological warfare never led to mass surrenders of units. The typical situation was groups of a few soldiers surrendering individually, which could mount to ca. 50 men each time. And that's pretty nice for a loudspeaker. But whenever command was properly organized, there wasn't much surrenders, even late April 1945.

Description of Psy War techniques can be found in XIX Corps, G-2 report, 8th April 1945 ; VIII Corps, G-2 report, 15th March 1945. A post-war report from CCA 10th Armored Div also gives one example when 700 PoWs were captured by psychological warfare (but it's quoted from memory, AFAIR).

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