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wordmonkey
05-30-2007, 09:16 PM
Back again, plumbing the depths of miltary knowledge here.

OK, so in the field, you have a halt to combat, or you have a stand-off that is going no-where.

Does the ranking officer on the scene have the authority to accept a surrender?

And inversely, regardless of whether it would happen or not, does the ranking officer have the authority to surrender?

(For the sake of clarity, I am specifically thinking US military)

Please and thanks

Kentuk
05-30-2007, 09:35 PM
Not given those conditions.

wordmonkey
05-30-2007, 09:40 PM
Not given those conditions.

Under what conditions WOULD that be the case?

And would it be different if it were the surrender of a unit. As opposed to the entire shebang.

Or is the official line that you fight to the last man, regardless? And expect the same from the enemy.

Plot Device
05-30-2007, 10:15 PM
I'm a civilian--never been in any branch of the military, but I'm gonna take a wild guess here: there needs to be no way out, and the alternative to immediate surrender is clear and undeniable and unavoidable and immanent death.

I could be wrong. (Probably am.)

wordmonkey
05-30-2007, 11:56 PM
Thank all.

I revised my plot line so I don't need this info anymore. :D

Histry Nerd
05-31-2007, 03:40 AM
Just in case others are curious:

Pretty much anybody can accept an individual's surrender. He puts his hands up or otherwise lets you know he doesn't want to fight anymore, you get him on the ground, disarm him, bind his hands, and (when the shooting is over) send him to the rear with whoever the chain of command designates for the EPW (Enemy Prisoner of War) detail.

The ranking commander on the ground has the authority to accept the surrender of an enemy unit, but if the surrendering unit outnumbers his (it happens occasionally), he'll need help securing the EPWs.

A commander who offered surrender in the circumstances you described would probably be charged with cowardice, if not worse, and stand before a Court Martial when the enemy released him. Plot Device got it just about right: surrender really isn't an option until it's the only option left. These days it'd be especially unlikely, for a couple of reasons: 1) fire support and/or reinforcements can get to you quicker today than ever before, giving you that extra hope that you can hold out a few more minutes; and 2) most guys would rather get it in a fight than have their heads cut off and the video posted on the internet.

Hope this helps.
HN

Gary
05-31-2007, 04:43 AM
Forgive me for telling a story about one military surrender, but it impressed me when I heard it and I'd like to share it.

One of our elite units fighting in the Alps during WWII was the 10th Mountain Division. The Air Force Captain I was working for was a young Army sergeant during the war and was one of the participants in the story he told.

A battalion of German mountain troops sent word that they wanted to surrender to the American mountain troops. They asked the American commander to meet them in a small mountain village at a certain time. The Commander, First Sgt, and my boss drove into the village at the designated time, only to find it completely deserted. They began to worry that it was a trap, but about that time they heard singing. They looked up the mountain to see the fully armed German battalion double-timing down the trail. They formed up in the town square, where their commander ordered them to stack arms and presented his sidearm to the American commander.

I wish he had written a book, as he was one of the most interesting people I've ever met and his life story was absolutely facinating.

wordmonkey
05-31-2007, 05:02 AM
The circumstance of the surrender are quite extraordinary and well outside the norms or what you would think of as traditional war/combat/battle.

How about a truce?

Could a ranking office accept/negotiate a truce in the field? Given extraordinary circumstances.

Vanatru
05-31-2007, 05:57 AM
The circumstance of the surrender are quite extraordinary and well outside the norms or what you would think of as traditional war/combat/battle.

How about a truce?

Could a ranking office accept/negotiate a truce in the field? Given extraordinary circumstances.

Depends on the enemy and the circumstances. Unifying against an alien or mythological lifeform........sure. Otherwise, doubt it.

Histry Nerd
05-31-2007, 06:11 AM
There are examples from many of the great wars of history where local commanders negotiated temporary truces for various reasons--usually a shared holiday (Christmas) or to evacuate wounded or bury the dead.

In one battle in World War II (I believe it was the Battle of Huertgen Forest), the carnage was so great the Americans and Germans put down their rifles, donned Red Cross armbands, and helped each other evacuate their wounded. Then, of course, they went back to killing each other.

That's the last time I am aware of such a truce happening on the field. These days, I don't see it happening.

HN

Plot Device
05-31-2007, 07:07 AM
wordmonkey--I just reread your opening post. Are you criss-crossing the word "surrender" with the word "retreat"?

Huge difference, dude.

Can you clarify some more?

wordmonkey
05-31-2007, 04:10 PM
wordmonkey--I just reread your opening post. Are you criss-crossing the word "surrender" with the word "retreat"?

Huge difference, dude.

Can you clarify some more?

No retreat. The situation is a loose seige. The weaker side is penned in but the stronger side can't over throw them. The situation can't be resolved by force, so there needs to be a more "political" resolution. But it needs to happen fast, so we can't involve diplomats etc. No alien or mystical elements. Just an extreme, very strange situation.