Return to Index  

Re: Battle of the Bulge

December 17 2009 at 1:22 PM
Rick Randall 

Response to Battle of the Bulge

At Skorzeny's trial, one of the charges was that he ordered and participated in "espionage" (i.e., having men fighting in enemy uniforms), along with charges he stole Red Cross packages and US uniforms from POWs.

Skorzeny admitted in court he did order the wearing of enemy uniforms for deception. He insisted he never authorized their use for combat -- thus it was a legitimate ruse of war, not an illegal use of enemy unifroms and symbols. At least one Allied officers testified for the defence that he, too, had worn German uniforms for the purposes of deception while behind German lines.

It was noted afterwards that both the WWII American "Soldier's Handbook" and the American field manual on the Rules of Land Warfare (dated 1940) discussed the legitimacy of using enemy uniforms and flags for deception, so long as they were discarded before combat (or as soon as fired upon).

Skorzeny was acquitted of all charges. While the court did not eleaborate on the acquittal, the evidence of SKORZENY'S guilt in the confiscation and theft of uniforms and Red Cross packages from POWs was pretty thin. Yes, he requisitioned the stuff from the German POW command. . . but that was becuase they had all the stocks of captured uniforms (so they could be issued as replacements for POWs as needed, as international law recommended that POWs be kept resupplied out of unifroms of their side when possible) and any unissued Red Cross packages (in the case of POWs who died, had never been captured and were mistakenly sent packages, or were repatriated before they received their packages.)

 Respond to this message