Disobeying a direct order in combat?

(2) shamefully abandons, surrenders, or delivers up any command, unit, place, or military property which it is his duty to defend;

Does that mean a soldier in a hopeless situation would be subject to court martial if he surrenderd?

I’m thinking of ragged half staved guys emerging from the rubble as the victorious enemy approaches waving ragged white flags, surely surrender is the only option logical option. :confused:

Official doctrine of the U.S. military is it is never acceptable to surrender your command.

From the U.S. military Code of Conduct (a Presidential Executive Order applying to the military):

Individual soldiers would not be held in low regard for surrendering to the enemy, no one wants to second guess whether or not they truly had the ability to continue resisting at the moment. Even officers in hopeless situations have often received some degree of criticism for surrendering their command.

“Surrender” is here a transitive verb, running in parallel with “abandon”: and “deliver up.” The clause prohibits any giving over to the enemy of any persons, places, or things that the soldier in question has a duty to defend. It does not say one may never surrender, or may never retreat (that was, of course, Hitler’s stupid doctrine). It instead places the onus of duty on the soldier, requiring him to gauge accurately whether he has a duty to defend a given place. The metaphorical expression “Choose your battles wisely; decide whether this is the hill you wish to die defending” has a literal meaning as well.

It may be of historical interest to note that Gen Jonathan Wainwright, who surrendered his command to the Japanese at Corregidor, was given a promotion, a ticker-tape parade, and the Medal of Honor after being released from Japanese captivity. At the time he surrendered, his men had not lost the ability to resist, although it clearly would have taken rescue from outside to save them.

I am not implying any criticism of his actions, or the decision to reward them.