Commando Order

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The Commando Order (German: Kommandobefehl) was issued by Adolf Hitler on 18 October 1942. It stated that certain Allied soldiers participating in "commando raids" should be summarily executed, excluding soldier captured during "open battle", but including "soldiers in uniform".

The order motivated this with that "For a long time now our opponents have been employing in their conduct of the war, methods which contravene the International Convention of Geneva. The members of the so-called Commandos behave in a particularly brutal and underhand manner; and it has been established that those units recruit criminals not only from their own country but even former convicts set free in enemy territories. From captured orders it emerges that they are instructed not only to tie up prisoners, but also to kill out-of-hand unarmed captives who they think might prove an encumbrance to them, or hinder them in successfully carrying out their aims. Orders have indeed been found in which the killing of prisoners has positively been demanded of them."

The Allies after the war punished German officers who carried out executions under the Commando Order as war criminals due to being stated to have executed soldiers fighting in uniform and to have executed without trial. One notable example was as contributing to the death sentence given to Alfred Jodl.

The Holocaust revisionist Carlos Porter has written that "Jodl was hanged for complicity in the Commando Order, an order to shoot British soldiers who fought in civilian clothes and strangled their own prisoners of war (XV 316-329 [347-362]). Jodl's defense was that international law is intended to protect men who fight as soldiers. Soldiers are required to bear arms openly, wear clearly recognizable emblems or uniforms, and to treat prisoners in a humane manner. Partisan warfare and the activities of British commando units were prohibited. Trial and execution of such people is legal if carried out under the terms of Article 63 of the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention of 1929. (See also dissentient opinion of Judge Rutledge, U.S. v. Yamashita; Habeas Corpus action of Field Marshall Milch.) In fact, almost no one was shot as a result of the Commando Order. (55 in Western Europe, according to Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, XXII 284 [325]. The intention was to deter men from fighting in this manner, thinking they could simply surrender afterwards."[1]

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  1. NOT GUILTY AT NUREMBERG: The German Defense Case