Why do tanks always killing prisoners during the Second world

History 03/01/20 Why tanks always killing prisoners during the Second world

As you know, tank corps played in the Second world war a huge role. The use of military technology allowed to avoid the curse of the First world — long position of the seat in the trenches. However, the increased mobility of tanks had a great disadvantage — it does not allow the tanks to capture enemy soldiers.

the Germans began to surrender to the Soviet forces from the beginning of the war, especially EN masse — from 1942-1943. A rule prohibiting the killing raised the hands of the enemy, usually followed by infantry. But not tank crews. As they said, for example, the last war from the Kursk bulge to Berlin tanker Arkady Westerman, prisoners of the Nazis simply had nowhere to go.

— In your tank German prisoner will not put, — the veteran said in an interview.

For this reason, Soviet tankers didn’t leave the enemy alive. Westerman admits that the attitude of the Germans was “very fierce and wild.” He cites the example of execution of prisoners “Krauts” in the town of Centerfold. When a tank division received the order to advance, all prisoners of war were distributed among the companies, so each company has got 30 people. Realizing that they are to shoot, the Germans tried to flee, but was laid shot in the back. Even worse was the death of the Russian “vlasovite”, captured by the tankers on the outskirts of Berlin. By order of the commanding officer of the battalion, captain Kuznetsova, the traitor, was literally torn to pieces by tying him to two tanks. Westerman stressed that Kuznetsov had a special reason to hate the enemy — the Nazis hanged his parents. Note, however, that this unwritten rule apparently did not apply to surrendering a large enemy compound. These prisoners could drive in columns under the supervision of soldiers. For example, in the battle on the Upper don in January 1943 years only in the area of Alekseyevka tankers captured 4630 Germans, and in the Mid-Buda — 500 people. In Stalingrad with the direct participation of tankers were captured field Marshal Friedrich Paulus. Military equipment 90 tank brigade on 30 January 1943, blocked the building Department, sheltering warlord.

German tank crews also prefer not to mess with the prisoners. Sometimes they simply ignored them. On one such occasion that took place in 1944 in Normandy, described in a monograph by max Hastings “the Operation “overlord”: as opened a second front”.

Two English soldier stood alone at the roadside of the field with their hands up. It was almost certainly the soldiers of the 6th English airborne division. Tankers didn’t have time to bother with prisoners, and the tanks rumbled by, — the British historian describes the act of troops of 21 Panzer division of the Wehrmacht.

However, there are facts that impress with their cruelty. For example, in the book “Atrocities of the Germans against prisoners of war by the red army” is a case in the village of M., where in the hands of the tank of the Wehrmacht were 18 wounded Russian soldiers. The Germans dragged them into the ravine, where had his teeth knocked out with rifle butts. Then each prisoner stabbed in the eyes with bayonets.

On the Western front during the counter-offensive in the Ardennes in late 1944, “distinguished” division 1st SS Panzer division “Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler”, commanded by standartenfuhrer Joachim Peiper. According to his orders in December were shot a total of 350 American prisoners. One of the most famous episodes, which attracted much publicity, was the mass murder of 84 people in Belgium — called the “massacre at Malmedy”. This occurred on 17 December when German tanks drove past the columns of prisoners. According to one version, the first shot was made by the native of Romania George Fleps, a member of the tank crew No. 731. Cried “Macht alle kaput!” (“Kill them all!”) he opened fire on the prisoners with a pistol, and when the Americans began to disperse, to RAStrela joined other tankers. The dead bodies of colleagues, the allies discovered only a month. Subsequently, for this and other war crimes Joachim Peiper was convicted and was imprisoned for 13 years.

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