Talk:Commando Order

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Text from Kommandobefehl[edit]

Text taken from Kommandobefehl page before merge and redirect:

Kommandobefehl (German for Commando Order) was Adolf Hitler's order to execute all captured Allied Commandos in 1942.

In October 18, 1942 Adolf Hitler issued an order that all Commandos captured in Europe and Africa (but excluding seamen), should be immediately killed even if they attempted to surrender. Any man or small group of men with the uniform of Commando or similar unit would be turned over to the Sicherheitsdienst (SD or Nazi security service) for summary execution. He claimed that since Commandos were ordered not to take prisoners, (which was false), they would not be taken as prisoners, either.

Arguably, any members of resistance movements and partisan forces, the SOE, OSS and any belligerent not carrying arms openly or wearing a fixed distinctive emblem recognisable at a distance, (per Article 1, Chapter 1, Section 1 of the Annex to the Hague Convention II, 1899), are not covered by the terms of the Laws and Customs of War on Land and are liable to be regarded as a Franc-tireur or spy.

Generals like Erwin Rommel and Albrecht Kesselring did not obey the order but relied on the Geneva conventions.

Hitler later extended this treatment to captured Allied pilots, and the SD's role was taken over by the Gestapo.

Externals links

I have merged what I thought was information which was not in the Command Order page but there may be more --Philip Baird Shearer 01:03, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

This page does not yet consider or include 'the Normandy exception' to this order. The exception and the text of the order were decrypted from German Enigma traffic and circulated on a limited basis to recipients of Ultra and MSS material. Copies of the English translation plaintext are held by the UK National Archives. 08:09, 9 April 2007 (UTC)


I find it rather ridiculous that the Allies became so indignant about the Commando Order. It clearly states the reasons why commandos were executed (because they themselves didn't give a damn about the life of prisoners). -- (talk) 17:25, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Maybe if you’d read it more carefully you’d have seen it wasn’t the Allies who were indignant, it was Hitler. As the order directly breached the Geneva convention, the Allied response was to try those responsible as war criminals. The indignant response would have been to execute any member of a unit which was accused of shooting prisoners; which is what Hitler prescribed. Xyl 54 (talk) 14:41, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
As someone already said: "Arguably, any members of resistance movements and partisan forces, the SOE, OSS and any belligerent not carrying arms openly or wearing a fixed distinctive emblem recognisable at a distance, (per Article 1, Chapter 1, Section 1 of the Annex to the Hague Convention II, 1899), are not covered by the terms of the Laws and Customs of War on Land and are liable to be regarded as a Franc-tireur or spy." This should be noted in the article since it gives a reasonable justification of the order. Overall the article appears biased to me, suffering under the nürnberg trials desease of victors justice and the article appears like a constant excuse for allied warcrimes. The most important info gathered in the british documents from the dieppe raid was, that prisoners of war should only be kept alive to a reasonable degree. Basically this means, that if you have taken prisoners as a commando, but you need every man for the operation, you better kill them. Once more, the article lacks this information. Last but not least, the execution of the german prisoners is described as an act of self defense, since they "had freed their hands". The dead were said to be found with their hands tied, one of them stabbed. Even though the nazis used propaganda, the same is to be applied on the allies. There is no source at all in the article, that backs up the excuse from the commandos to kill the prisoners. The only possible source that the allies would have would be the commandos itself and if a warcrime would have happened, it is very unlikely that the warcriminals would report it as it was. It is even to be expected due to the dieppe documents, that this was in accordance to the general orders of the allied command. Therefor it appears extremely unlikely, that if ever something criminal would have happened, we would ever know it due to official allied sources. Once more the article leaves also this totally out but relies entirely on the explanation of the commandos, which makes it appear as a justified action. Last but not least i would even go so far to say, that it aint allowed to kill a criminal of war, as long as he is just yelling to alert his comrades but behaving peacefully. Common sense would tell us to shut this man up but same goes for treating commandos as they treat their victims and the geneva conventions arent based on common sense at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:43, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree that there is some bias in this article. The quote from the 1790s, for example, strikes me as irrelevant. It deals with executions of ordinary soldiers, not of commandos, whereas Hitler's order specifically draws a distinction between the two. But it is difficult to write this article completely objectively because we Wikipedia editors must stick to verifiable data, whether this is correct or not. The Nuremberg Trials have dominated post-war international law, so most sources we cite here will naturally take the Nuremberg findings (all of them) at face value. These sorts of articles will always pose a challenge to those of us who want to be as strictly objective as possible.NipsonAnomimata (talk) 13:46, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
The point is that British and Allied Commandos went into action wearing the uniform of recognised British forces, and were therefore easily recognised as lawful combatants, the excuse that they were acting as 'Franc-tireur or spy' is absurd. On the other hand Special Operations Executive (SOE) personnel knew that they were operating outside of the rules of war and were also aware that if captured they could expect no mercy - and indeed, most that were received none.
... and the point about trying the responsible Nazis as 'war criminals' is that the 'Commando Order' went against the rules of war. It was illegal.
If British forces at Dieppe had behaved the way alleged, then it was for the German authorities to make a protest through neutral channels - such as the Swiss - and then for the British authorities to investigate, and then, if necessary, subject the persons responsible to courts martial on charges of murder, not for the opposing side to invoke summary justice willy-nilly. You see, if whatever was alleged to have occurred at Dieppe did happen, then it certainly wasn't official British Government policy, it would have been entirely unauthorised and would almost certainly have been strongly reprimanded by persons higher up. That's the difference between a responsible democratic government, and the bunch of nutters that then governed Nazi Germany and who caused untold misery and suffering to millions, both in their own country, and abroad.
There is one - perhaps unspoken - international rule of war that, put simply, is this: If you start an aggressive war then anything bad that subsequently happens to you is your own fault. Trying to shift blame for your subsequent ills elsewhere is likely to fall on deaf ears. The Nuremberg Trials may or may not have been 'victor's justice' but that was the defendants' own fault for starting and actively supporting an illegal war in the first place. BTW, I didn't make those rules, I'm just telling you what they - more or less - were, and are.
The 'Commando Order' was issued simply out of childish spite. That's why the persons responsible were tried at Nuremberg. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:15, 31 August 2014 (UTC)


I don't know what a Commando order is. Why doesn't the first few sentences of this article explain the meaning of the term and its significance. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:29, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. I’ve re-arranged the text in the introduction to remedy this. Xyl 54 (talk) 14:19, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
PS I've also asked for a citation; was Runstedt’s instruction ever even called a Commando Order? Xyl 54 (talk) 14:28, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Western vs. Eastern Front[edit]

I'm curious why this order was seen as so extreme (by Western Allies along with Germany) when German troops regularly killed millions of Soviet P.O.W.s. I think the number I've seen was that 2.5 million Soviet P.O.W.s, that is soldiers who had surrendered, were killed (and it wasn't just due to malnutrition and disease). A section contrasting the treatment of U.S./UK/Canadian P.O.W.s vs. Soviet ones would really help put this "Commando Order" into context of how Germany treated Prisoners of War from different countries. (talk) 15:59, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Neither the Soviet Union nor the Japan were signatories of the relevant Geneva Conventions, so the treatment of prisoners on these fronts wasn't actually illegal nor could be tried under contraventions of the relevant Geneva Conventions. Although Germany had signed the Conventions - as had all the Western Allies - the Nazi government didn't feel that the conditions on treatment of prisoners of war applied to the Soviets, as the Soviets had never signed the conventions, so the Nazis decided they had no legal obligation to adhere to them when it came to treatment of Soviet prisoners. Pre-revolutionary Russia had signed IIRC, the Geneva Conventions, but the subsequent revolutionary government under Lenin in 1917 had declared that all previous agreements and treaties between Imperial Russia and other countries were from then on null-and-void, so that effectively meant the new Soviet Union was no longer a signatory.
The Nazi ideology also regarded the Eastern peoples as 'sub-human' and that they therefore did not deserve to be treated in the same manner as the Western Allies, who - for the most part - were regarded as 'aryan'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:05, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

LEGAL status of "Commandos"[edit]

Okay, first, professionally, you should provide an overview of the then contemporary understanding of military law regarding "commandos" and for intellectual coherence the modern understanding of the "judicial" stature of "commandos"...

As it is, the article simply seems to be implying Hitler is merely enforcing a countermeasure against an initial aggressive perfidy on the part of the Commandos...

If the Commandos are not saboteurs or "unlawful combatants", the article needs to make this pellucid and crystal-clear. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:32, 31 January 2014 (UTC)