How would YOU escape?

You’re in a German POW camp in the middle of WWII. Would you try and escape? If so, how?

Myself, I would get my hands on some material sililar to that of the German Coat. I would wear that, then dig a small tunnel into the German part of the compund. I would surface at night, and risk walking straight out the main gate, hoping the guard would mistake me for rugged up German officer. If I was stopped and asked questions, I’d give up.

POW’s were known for their ingenuity for escape attempts. Do you have an idea that’s never been thought of? I am compiling a webiste based on POW escapes so post to this thread anything useful.

I suppose that means you have never seen Hogan’s Heroes. You could easily escape at any time because the guards are so incompetent.

I would try to sleep with a guard and see if he would let me out for that. If not I would sleep with him again and chop off his testicles with my teeth then I would skip gaily out of the compound. :slight_smile: It works in my fantasy land.


I assume you’ve read the classic escaes books that have been mentioned in other threads – Paul Brickhill’s “The Great Escape”, Eric Williams’ “The Wooden Horse”, Pat Reid’s books on Colditz, and a great many others.

For the record, dressing up in German Uniforms has ben done. Brickhill describes it in loving detail in his book. The beautiful part as that they got a LOT of men out this way, with only two uniforms and no tunnelling – the two prisoners dressed up as German guards (with forged documents and ersatz guns (a big detail – see the book) escorted a company of POWs who were NOT dressed up – they were ostensibly being taken for “delousing”. Once out of sight, they scattered. (Unfortunately, the next group to try it was caught at the gate, so the alarm went out immediately, and all were taken.)THAT is an extremely clever escape – not as flashy as the glider they built in Colditz, or as monumental as the tunnels out of Stalag Luft Drei, but economical and efficient.

For questions of this sort, I always refer to the master (you’ll have to read it yourself to see how it’s accomplished):

"Lock me in any cell in any prison anywhere at any time, wearing only what is necessary, and I’ll escape in a week…

"I should like to make three small requests. You may grant them or not, as you wish…

"I should like to have some tooth powder – buy it yourself to see that it is tooth powder – and I should like to have one five-dollar and two ten-dollar bills.

“And I should like to have my shoes polished.”

– Jacques Futrelle, “The Problem of Cell 13”

I would build a giant flying chicken with a ramp…

Well, I guess gaily is the most important word in this whole scenario, isn’t it? :smiley:

You slay me! ROFL!

Here’s a thread which will give valuable info:

POW Escapes

There were three ways to get out of a Stalag or Oflag: over the wire (most risky); through the wire; or under the wire.

“Over the wire” was generally attempted only in extreme weather conditions, or during an air-raid blackout (or, as in the “Eichstatt job,” by fusing the lights deliberately). One brilliant escaper went over the wire in broad daylight: carrying a ladder, dressed in overalls as a German maintainence man, he busily “checked” the electified warning wire on the fence with a fake volt meter, and at a predetermined point, deliberately dropped the meter on the outside of the wire. The bored guards in the boxes watched placidly as the “German” repairmain used his ladder to climb up, then over the outside of the wire to retrieve his meter. The POW then made a great show of the meter being broken, and walked off into the German compound “to get a new one.”

“Through the wire” could be either cutting through (again, very risky, as you would perforce be inside the “zone of death” along the inside of the wire and could be shot on sight). “Through” also included the incredible act of dressing up as German military guards, german civilian workers, Swiss Red Cross men, etc. Generally you needed excellent German language skills from at least one of your party, as well as detailed knowledge of camp security procedures (passes, gate routine, layout of the Kommandantur, etc. One of the ballsiest Colditz escapes involved a red-haired British officer (Mike Sinclair) impersonating not just a German NCO, but a specific German NCO, nicknamed “Franz Joseph,” who had luxuriant whiskers reminicent of the late Austro-Hungarian emperor. All went well until the real “Franz-Joseph” turned up while the fake was trying to talk his way out.

“Under the wire” meant tunnelling, either a long-term job from a hut, requiring trapdoors, wooden revetting, sometimes an air pump, etc., or a “mole” job, which was simply digging under the wire afer dark, filling behind you as you went–a “blitz” job.

As for “material similar to that of the German coat,” if you were a British Air Force type, your greatcoat could be lightened (temporarily) by the use of powdered chalk or talc carefully brushed in. This would approximate the Luftwaffe blue. (Remember that most Allied aircrew POWs were guarded by the Luftwaffe, and most Allied Army types were in Whermacht-run camps). The distinctive “feldgrau” of the German Army was quite close to the Dutch army uniform: if, as in Colditz, you had some Dutch army POWs, you might strike a deal.

One of the best escapes that I have read about was quite early in the war (Summer 1941), where a British Royal Navy officer, after cutting his way out of a camp, travelled openly on the German railways in his Royal Navy uniform. His false papers named him as an officer in the Romanian Navy–since there are no English words on the RN uniform, and no-one was familiar with what a Romanian Navy officer’s uniform looked like, he was pretty safe (although IIRC, he was arrested trying to cross the Swiss border). The best part was that his false papers were made out to an “Ivan Bagherov,” or “I. Bagherov,” pronounced “I buggeroff:” a Britishism for “I’m outta here!”