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Old 02-13-2020, 09:02 PM
Capn Carl is online now
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WW2 examples of communications with the enemy


Iím sure this was rare, but it happened. I know that at the end of the war, Axis leaders were able to express a willingness to surrender by sending messages thru neutral nations. Iím curious if there were any instances before that, that didnít involve a surrender, why the contact was sought, and how so.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Capn Carl View Post
Iím sure this was rare, but it happened. I know that at the end of the war, Axis leaders were able to express a willingness to surrender by sending messages thru neutral nations. Iím curious if there were any instances before that, that didnít involve a surrender, why the contact was sought, and how so.
Local cease fires sometimes happened to deal with casualties.

Three cases of attempting it during the brutal slog through the Huertgen Forest are in this link. Success was limited since they were not coordinated at high levels. The American officer running for cover with the Germans he was negotiating with when they all came under American artillery fire is a prime example of what could go wrong.

They tend not to make the big picture histories since they are largely regiment or brigade and below actions during relatively natural lulls in the fighting. I have stumbled across other examples over the years. IIRC that would mostly be in memoirs from low level leaders or histories that round out the overall narrative with low level leader accounts.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Capn Carl View Post
Iím sure this was rare, but it happened. I know that at the end of the war, Axis leaders were able to express a willingness to surrender by sending messages thru neutral nations. Iím curious if there were any instances before that, that didnít involve a surrender, why the contact was sought, and how so.
Rudolf Hess flew from Germany to England in 1941, to negotiate peace. The English locked him up, and Hitler ordered him shot. He died (after the war) in prison, on the insistence of the Russians.

He claimed a spiritual experience, and the realization that Germany couldn't fight a two-front war, as his motivation.

context: Hitler didn't want peace because he was drug-addicted and a moron. The English and Russians wanted surrender. The "We shall fight them on the beaches" speech was 1940. Hitler had his chance at peace in 1938-39
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:51 AM
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There was fairly regular contact about prisoners of war, through the Red Cross and the "Protecting Power" (a neutral country - Switzerland in the case of British interests in Germany), between states that observed the Geneva Conventions. So, for example, there were medical repatriations of sick prisoners, formal complaints about breaches of the Conventions and requests for improvements reported through the Red Cross and/or Protecting Power reports. (Seems incongruous in the light of what happened to POWs not covered by Geneva, and in the concentration camps, but it did happen, however slowly).
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Rudolf Hess flew from Germany to England in 1941, to negotiate peace. The English locked him up, and Hitler ordered him shot. He died (after the war) in prison, on the insistence of the Russians.

He claimed a spiritual experience, and the realization that Germany couldn't fight a two-front war, as his motivation.

context: Hitler didn't want peace because he was drug-addicted and a moron. The English and Russians wanted surrender. The "We shall fight them on the beaches" speech was 1940. Hitler had his chance at peace in 1938-39
Nitpick: the "we shall fight them on the beaches" speech was not a demand for German surrender; it was a refusal of British surrender, which is not at all the same thing.

I think the main obstacle to Hess's mission is not that the UK were already determined to insist on a German surrender; it's that Hess was not a credible interlocutor. Hess wanted peace between Germany and the UK, but he did not represent the position of the German government, and could not negotiate on their behalf.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Rudolf Hess flew from Germany to England in 1941, to negotiate peace. The English locked him up, and Hitler ordered him shot. He died (after the war) in prison, on the insistence of the Russians.
No, Rudolf Hess did not fly to England. He flew to Scotland and the British locked him up. Is it really so hard to get such details right in a board dedicated to accuracy? Would you be happy with people saying that that Gallipoli landings were conducted entirely by British (or English) soldiers?

It's also a little misleading to say he died "after the war... in prison" - he died in 1987, not 1947.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:32 AM
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The US "NUTS" reply to the German offer for the US surrender at Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge is fairly famous. The process of how the offer was communicated and responded to has been described in detail:
https://www.army.mil/article/92856/t...the_nuts_reply

Last edited by Wrenching Spanners; 02-14-2020 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:53 AM
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There was the Potsdam Declaration.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Rudolf Hess flew from Germany to England in 1941, to negotiate peace. The English locked him up, and Hitler ordered him shot. He died (after the war) in prison, on the insistence of the Russians.

He claimed a spiritual experience, and the realization that Germany couldn't fight a two-front war, as his motivation.

context: Hitler didn't want peace because he was drug-addicted and a moron. The English and Russians wanted surrender. The "We shall fight them on the beaches" speech was 1940. Hitler had his chance at peace in 1938-39
Or was murdered by British agents to keep him quiet.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...e-8802603.html
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by madsircool View Post
Or was murdered by British agents to keep him quiet.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...e-8802603.html
You'd think if he hadn't revealed these wartime secrets by 1987, he wasn't going to.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrenching Spanners View Post
The US "NUTS" reply to the German offer for the US surrender at Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge is fairly famous. The process of how the offer was communicated and responded to has been described in detail:
https://www.army.mil/article/92856/t...the_nuts_reply
I've always liked the---probably an invention of the movie, A Bridge Too Far---doomed 1st Airborne Division's (UK) rejection of a Nazi surrender demand while they were outnumbered, surrounded, and besieged in the Dutch town of Arnhem:
Quote:
German Emissary: "My General says there is no point in continuing this fighting. He is willing to discuss a surrender."

2nd Parachute Battalion C/O Lieutenant Colonel John Frost (to Major Carlyle): "Tell him to go to hell."

Major Carlyle (an umbrella-carrying officer based in part on Digby Tatham-Warter): "We haven't the proper facilities to take you all prisoner! Sorry!"

German: "What?!"

Major Carlyle: "We'd like to. But we can't accept your surrender. [pause] Was there anything else?"
SS General Karl Wolff's secret negotiations with Allen Dulles about surrendering German forces in Northern Italy probably fit within the OP.

The Battle of Castle Itter is probably relevant to the OP. Certainly one of the stranger fights during WW2. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32622651
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:47 PM
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In the Pacific theatre, there was Guy Gabaldon, who single-handedly captured over 1,300 Japanese soldiers and civilians by talking to them.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by The Stafford Cripps View Post
It's also a little misleading to say he died "after the war... in prison" - he died in 1987, not 1947.
It's also a bit misleading to say that he died "at the insistence of the Russians"; he committed suicide of his own volition. (And it was the Soviet authorities who insisted on keeping him in prison, not all of whom were Russian.)
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Old 02-15-2020, 05:51 AM
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Towards the end of the Pacific War with Japanese kamikazes being the primary threat, American destroyers that shielded carrier groups were often dived on upon by the mostly unskilled pilots as it was the first enemy vessel they saw, instead of going after the much bigger and more critical targets of American aircraft carriers.

One US Destroyer decided to put up a giant painted sign on it's deck that said CARRIERS THIS WAY with an arrow pointing to the nearest carrier. The sign was in English and also too small to be seen except by a Japanese pilot already diving on them but it was at least something.
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Old 02-22-2020, 03:40 AM
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Thanks, to all who posted. Some interesting stories there.
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Old 02-22-2020, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Rudolf Hess flew from Germany to England in 1941 ...
This event actually involved another example of communications between the belligerents as in the months before Hess' flight he, or an intermediary of his, had sent a letter to Lord Hamilton, a Scottish aristocrat resident in the UK, in the hope of arranging a meeting in a neutral country.

The letter was intercepted by MI5, a British intelligence outfit, and so Lord Hamilton was not in a position to respond to it even if had wished to.

I have a recollection that the letter was sent first from Germany to Portugal (neutral country in the Second World War) and then resent to the UK with the help of a friend of Hess or Hess' intermediary. Sorry can't remember the details better. I think this provides an example of how letters could pass between the two sides.

Going off on a tangent from the question, Hess was sufficiently sure that Hamilton would help that he flew his plane to the vicinity of Hamilton's house and, when apprehended, asked to be taken to see Hamilton. A friend of Hess had met Hamilton in Berlin when Hamilton had visited Germany, as part of a parliamentary group invited by the German government, at the time of the 1936 Summer Olympics and had come to believe that he would be a useful conduit to those in power in the UK.

The whole Hess/Hamilton dynamic has passed through the hands of the british intelligence and is the subject of numerous conspiracy theories. Even now parts of the documentation are still under wraps so the current view of the events, which I have summarised above, while probably essentially true could well be a lot of tosh cooked up by the spooks.

Last edited by glaucon; 02-22-2020 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 02-27-2020, 10:18 AM
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One US Destroyer decided to put up a giant painted sign on it's deck that said CARRIERS THIS WAY with an arrow pointing to the nearest carrier. The sign was in English and also too small to be seen except by a Japanese pilot already diving on them but it was at least something.
In a similar vein there was allegedly a sign on the Warner Brothers studio roofs saying Lockheed Thataway with an arrow pointing to the similar looking Lockheed Aircraft factory nearby.

Accounts vary whether TPTB suggested the roof be painted to more closely resemble Lockheed's and Jack Warner balked, or JL came up with the idea on his own. Also there is question about whether the sign was painted and later painted over after public backlash or simply talked about. I therefore suspect it as an urban legend but it's a nifty story.
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Old 02-27-2020, 12:54 PM
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There was fairly regular contact about prisoners of war, through the Red Cross and the "Protecting Power" (a neutral country - Switzerland in the case of British interests in Germany), between states that observed the Geneva Conventions. So, for example, there were medical repatriations of sick prisoners, formal complaints about breaches of the Conventions and requests for improvements reported through the Red Cross and/or Protecting Power reports. (Seems incongruous in the light of what happened to POWs not covered by Geneva, and in the concentration camps, but it did happen, however slowly).
I just checked on this regarding my uncle who was a POW. Shot down Aug 29, 1944. Family notified he was MIA Sept. 10 by the USAAF. (Although my father found out sooner. He was based near my uncle's base and drove over to see him after the mission. Uh-oh.) My grandparents were notified that he was a POW via Red Cross and USAAF on Oct 30. Two months. Not bad but a tense time no doubt.

(Censored) letters were allowed both ways. My grandparents sent mail to him but he never got it. His mail took quite a long time to get home. (I think the first letter didn't get received until he was already liberated. Not sure.)

Got put thru a Black March for 90 days on foot near the end of the war. The guards took off on April 29th. Not sure when the family was notified of his liberation.

The German Red Cross in the war was not a good group of folk. My uncle was not happy about the games they played during international inspections, etc.
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