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(1939-1945) WWII Battles
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Brian W
Atlanta
GA USA
Posts: 758

Paratroopers during Arnhem
Posted on: 10/3/2019 4:53:20 PM

I’m reading a fascinating book called “Arnhem and the Aftermath: Civilian Experiences in the Netherlands 1940-1945”

We’ve all seen the footage of the Germans shooting at the paratroopers while still in their parachutes. And this book, like most people deem it unchivalrous and barbaric, but once they land they are of course coming to kill you. Does anyone know of any official stance by any military during WWII?
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scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2591

Paratroopers during Arnhem
Posted on: 10/4/2019 8:21:13 AM

Brian,
I dont know of any military stance but the Brits and Commonwealth troops did the same at Crete.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10054

Paratroopers during Arnhem
Posted on: 10/4/2019 10:54:23 AM

Don't the additional Geneva Protocols address this issue as well as the issue of shooting at airmen who are forced to bail out?

Geneva Protocol #1, Article 42

Quote:
OCCUPANTS OF AIRCRAFT
Article 42 [ Link ] -- Occupants of aircraft

1. No person parachuting from an aircraft in distress shall be made the object of attack during his descent.

2. Upon reaching the ground in territory controlled by an adverse Party, a person who has parachuted from an aircraft in distress shall be given an opportunity to surrender before being made the object of attack, unless it is apparent that he is engaging in a hostile act.

3. Airborne troops are not protected by this Article.


I believe that Adolph Galland forbade pilots to shoot at pilots who had bailed out and I think that Eisenhower did the same.

We know that it happened and it seems that paratroopers are different. They are not unarmed combatants as an airman in a parachute would be.
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Brian W
Atlanta
GA USA
Posts: 758

Paratroopers during Arnhem
Posted on: 10/4/2019 10:59:17 AM

Right. The “In distress makes” distinction makes sense. Which of course paratroopers were not. I didn’t know that about Crete but of course I’m sure they did. It just made me wonder.
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DT509er
Santa Rosa
CA USA
Posts: 787

Paratroopers during Arnhem
Posted on: 10/4/2019 12:04:30 PM

Geneva Protocol #1, Article 42 was created in 1949. There was no general "rules" for those parachuting whether that was in "distress" or in "attack". Think of how many pilots may have lost their lives during a parachute descent or at least the attempt was made after bailing from a destroyed a/c.

I recall reading about an American pilot taking out a German pilot during a descent. The American pilots' view was that the German pilot wold most likely survive and would again climb into an a/c to continue fighting, taking the German pilot out during descent was , after all just another form of war.
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"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." I take offense to your perception of being offended! “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford
kaii
Tallinn
 Estonia
Posts: 2622

Paratroopers during Arnhem
Posted on: 10/4/2019 1:07:28 PM

I seem to remember reading that Danish troops were instructed not to fire on German paratroopers in the in the air during the assault on Aalborg airport as it was "ungentlemanly". Not sure whether this was indeed the case, and I will see if I can find that reference somewhere.

K
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I’m not worried about the Third World War. That’s the Third World’s problem.
DT509er
Santa Rosa
CA USA
Posts: 787

Paratroopers during Arnhem
Posted on: 10/4/2019 4:51:08 PM

On Crete not only did the Brits fire on the descending Fallschirmjäger, the civilian population of Crete revolted against the Germans to the point that the Germans retaliated resulting in the Kondomari Massacre, June 2 1941 where the Germans killed an estimated 100+/- Cretan civilians. The civilians, while not so much shooting the troopers during descent, took action as soon as the troopers would land clubbing, stoning and knifing the men while still in their parachute harnesses; that did not sit well with the Fallschirmjäger and their commanders.

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"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." I take offense to your perception of being offended! “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford
redcoat
Stockport
 UK
Posts: 345

Paratroopers during Arnhem
Posted on: 10/4/2019 5:14:05 PM

In WW2 the rules against shooting an enemy combatant, were quite simple.

The only time it was a war crime to shoot an enemy combatant is when he/she was attempting to surrender or had already surrendered.

Being unarmed, or jumping out of a plane or tank for whatever reason, did not give a soldier or pilot the right to any protection under international law
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Twitter3
Fairmont
WV USA
Posts: 5

Paratroopers during Arnhem
Posted on: 10/4/2019 9:20:02 PM

I am currently reading the book "September Hope, The American Side of a Bridge Too Far". It discusses in chapter 11 how after the 82nd AB had made the Waal river crossing and reached the dike road on the north side of the river they did not take a lot of prisoners even when the Germans attempted to surrender. The author talks about the anger and fear the men had from being sitting ducks in the boats and the intense fire they took while crossing the river which lead them to charge the road (and eventually the two bridges) and for the most part kill the Germans they encountered who did not run away. Some of the quotes he includes were from officers and NCO's who said it was hard to control the men in that situation as they (and the Germans) were in a kill or be killed moment and so charged up from the intense crossing.

I agree with you that being shot at while parachuting down was not protected.
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