• This is a stand-to for an incoming competition, one of our most expensive yet.
    Later this week we're going to be offering the opportunity to Win £270 Rab Neutrino Pro military down jacket
    Visit the thread at that link above and Watch it to be notified as soon as the competition goes live

Photos that make you think.

Of the British POWs captured after the siege of Kut, there was a death rate of 40%.

Compare that with, for example
WW2 Germans captured by the Russians ; 35% mortality.
British prisoners of the Japanese ; 25% mortality
I shall have a look but I think the mortality rate for Wehrmacht taken PoW by the USSR was significantly higher. More like 95%. Give me 24hrs chief.
 
I don't really know about this as I have never been put in such a terrible dilemma, However, even if I did take a real cockstand on a principle, I would like to think that I wouldn't subject innocent children to the approbrium it attracted.
Neither have I and I recall the cognitive struggle I had watching that on the news at the time ( Why the hell aren't they taking the less exposed route? They don't feel they can.) . As @irlsgt says sometimes a principled stand must be taken however NI (and particularly that area of Belfast) being what it is I can't look at the pictures and say I believe that every one those walking up the road with their child have freely chosen to be there. You may well (quite possibly justifiably) dismiss this as prejudice but I just can't square walking my child up the exposed route as being equivalent to integration of the school system in the US in the 60's. They could have walked with the child up to the back gate and left by the front gate on their own and returned to pick them up to the front and left by the back gate. The first black kids arriving at a US school in the 60's needed their Fed minders whatever route they took to school.
 
I shall have a look but I think the mortality rate for Wehrmacht taken PoW by the USSR was significantly higher. More like 95%. Give me 24hrs chief.
You may well be right.

I took the WW2 figures from Wiki but of course, that's never any guarantee.

Soviet POWs held by Germans 57.5%
German POWs held by Yugoslavs 41.2%
German POWs held by Soviets 35.8%
American POWs held by Japanese 33.0%
American POWs held by Germans 1.19%
German POWs held by Eastern Europeans 32.9%
British POWs held by Japanese 24.8%
German POWs held by Czechoslovaks 5.0%
British POWs held by Germans 3.5%
German POWs held by French 2.58%
German POWs held by Americans 0.15%
German POWs held by British 0.03%

Link:

Prisoner of war - Wikipedia
 
An ordinary looking steam train.


However, the thought provoking thing, is how the passengers, even in death, were divided into classes,
Quote:
The first distinction was between conformist funeral parties and non-conformist ones. In a train carrying two hearse cars, for example, one would be reserved for the Church of England's dead, and the rest for everyone else. The passenger carriages would be allocated on the same principle, and each hearse car yoked to the appropriate passenger section. Following this idea through, LNC took care to plan for two stations at Brookwood. One would serve the conformist area on the sunny south side of the cemetery, the other the chilly non-conformist graves on its north side.
The second distinction depended not on what religion you were, but on whether you bought a first-class, second-class or third-class ticket. As with train travel today, each class offered a few more home comforts than the one below it, and each cost a great deal more than the last. Coffin accommodation was divided into three classes too, with each hearse car split into three sections of four coffin cells each. LNC justified the higher fares it charged for first-class coffin accommodation by pointing to the higher degree of decoration provided on its first-class coffin cell doors and the greater degree of care which first-class coffins were given at both ends of the journey.


Link;
The Necropolis Train
 
An ordinary looking steam train.


However, the thought provoking thing, is how the passengers, even in death, were divided into classes,
Quote:
The first distinction was between conformist funeral parties and non-conformist ones. In a train carrying two hearse cars, for example, one would be reserved for the Church of England's dead, and the rest for everyone else. The passenger carriages would be allocated on the same principle, and each hearse car yoked to the appropriate passenger section. Following this idea through, LNC took care to plan for two stations at Brookwood. One would serve the conformist area on the sunny south side of the cemetery, the other the chilly non-conformist graves on its north side.
The second distinction depended not on what religion you were, but on whether you bought a first-class, second-class or third-class ticket. As with train travel today, each class offered a few more home comforts than the one below it, and each cost a great deal more than the last. Coffin accommodation was divided into three classes too, with each hearse car split into three sections of four coffin cells each. LNC justified the higher fares it charged for first-class coffin accommodation by pointing to the higher degree of decoration provided on its first-class coffin cell doors and the greater degree of care which first-class coffins were given at both ends of the journey.


Link;
The Necropolis Train
Ex-press?
 
Flak damage to the tail of a Stirling bomber.
fa3a2a37a1b918b40202f209fbcb1678.jpg


You've got to hope the poor bloke inhabiting it walked or crawled away.

My Grandad was a Sgt pilot on Lancs, two tours before going to Wellingtons, and he reckoned it wasn't unusual for the tail / mid-upper gunners to s**t themselves with fear in flight.
 
Last edited:
Flak damage to the tail of a Lancaster bomber. View attachment 354296

You've got to hope the poor bloke inhabiting it walked or crawled away.

My Grandad was a Sgt pilot on Lancs, two tours before going to Wellingtons, and he reckoned it wasn't unusual for the tail / mid-upper gunners to s**t themselves with fear in flight.
Stirling. My neighbour’s husband did 3 tours as a rear gunner and had that picture in his log book. 20mm cannon iirc, so no walking away... his wife said “after the war, Walter wouldn’t even go up in a lift “.

Edit: someone said “the light brigade only did it once. We did it most nights..
 
Last edited:
You may well be right.

I took the WW2 figures from Wiki but of course, that's never any guarantee.

Soviet POWs held by Germans 57.5%
German POWs held by Yugoslavs 41.2%
German POWs held by Soviets 35.8%
American POWs held by Japanese 33.0%
American POWs held by Germans 1.19%
German POWs held by Eastern Europeans 32.9%
British POWs held by Japanese 24.8%
German POWs held by Czechoslovaks 5.0%
British POWs held by Germans 3.5%
German POWs held by French 2.58%
German POWs held by Americans 0.15%
German POWs held by British 0.03%

Link:

Prisoner of war - Wikipedia
OK these are just the 6th Army figures, but;

"A relief attempt was launched on 12 December, codenamed Operation Winter Storm, but this failed. The army surrendered between 31 January and 2 February 1943. German casualties are 147,200 killed and wounded and over 91,000 captured, the latter including 24 generals and 2,500 officers of lesser rank. Only 5,000 would return to Germany after the war."

94.5% is pretty high.

Many may have died of cold, malnutrition or were even shot when they couldn't march any more. I agree that this could be a very special set of circumstances.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
OK these are just the 6th Army figures, but;

"A relief attempt was launched on 12 December, codenamed Operation Winter Storm, but this failed. The army surrendered between 31 January and 2 February 1943. German casualties are 147,200 killed and wounded and over 91,000 captured, the latter including 24 generals and 2,500 officers of lesser rank. Only 5,000 would return to Germany after the war."

94.5% is pretty high.

Many may have died of cold, malnutrition or were even shot when they couldn't march any more. I agree that this could be a very special set of circumstances.
Sovs had a way of dealing with illegal immigrants. The behaviour of the advancing German army showed it didn't deserve anything better.
 
You may well be right.

I took the WW2 figures from Wiki but of course, that's never any guarantee.

Soviet POWs held by Germans 57.5%
German POWs held by Yugoslavs 41.2%
German POWs held by Soviets 35.8%
American POWs held by Japanese 33.0%
American POWs held by Germans 1.19%
German POWs held by Eastern Europeans 32.9%
British POWs held by Japanese 24.8%
German POWs held by Czechoslovaks 5.0%
British POWs held by Germans 3.5%
German POWs held by French 2.58%
German POWs held by Americans 0.15%
German POWs held by British 0.03%

Link:

Prisoner of war - Wikipedia
As always its good to know the back story. POWs of the Japanese all suffered the same conditions but.

The US POWs died at a greater percentage , one reason was they were American , in units that had little or no history and no esprit di corps and the **** you jack it’s me before you attitude ( in the main)

The UK peers and units had historical traditions and many were in the same unit as their school friend or fathers old regiment. As well as “ looked out for each other”.
Not listed here are the many Dutch prisoners of war. As many of these were Dutch born in the Far East ,so used to the diet they did even better .
 
As always its good to know the back story. POWs of the Japanese all suffered the same conditions but.

The US POWs died at a greater percentage , one reason was they were American , in units that had little or no history and no esprit di corps and the **** you jack it’s me before you attitude ( in the main)

The UK peers and units had historical traditions and many were in the same unit as their school friend or fathers old regiment. As well as “ looked out for each other”.
Not listed here are the many Dutch prisoners of war. As many of these were Dutch born in the Far East ,so used to the diet they did even better .


I imagine that for all prisoners, regardless of prisoner/captor nationality, by far the greatest factor in death rates would be the condition the men were in at the time of their capture. E.g. healthy, well-fed and fit men would start out with a significantly better chance of survival than those who were severely dilapidated - the latter obviously would not usually get the nutrition and medical attention sufficient to bring them back into condition.

The Stalingrad Germans died like flies because they were already starved and weak, and were removed from what warmth and shelter they had in the middle of winter. Other batches of German prisoners - the majority - seem to have had a much higher survival rate in the Russian camps.

Similarly, the Filipino/ US prisoners of the Japanese went from the low-ration conditions of a four-month siege straight onto endurance marches as their captors moved them long distances on foot. By contrast, most of the British and Empire prisoners in the Far East were taken from their fully-supplied garrison - indeed, many of the captives from Singapore had not even been in combat prior to the surrender.

I don't know if the data exists, but I expect that the death rates of most groups of PoWs probably levelled off over time, as the weakest died off first, and the captor custody regimes developed.

.
 
I imagine that for all prisoners, regardless of prisoner/captor nationality, by far the greatest factor in death rates would be the condition the men were in at the time of their capture. E.g. healthy, well-fed and fit men would start out with a significantly better chance of survival than those who were severely dilapidated - the latter obviously would not usually get the nutrition and medical attention sufficient to bring them back into condition.

The Stalingrad Germans died like flies because they were already starved and weak, and were removed from what warmth and shelter they had in the middle of winter. Other batches of German prisoners - the majority - seem to have had a much higher survival rate in the Russian camps.

Similarly, the Filipino/ US prisoners of the Japanese went from the low-ration conditions of a four-month siege straight onto endurance marches as their captors moved them long distances on foot. By contrast, most of the British and Empire prisoners in the Far East were taken from their fully-supplied garrison - indeed, many of the captives from Singapore had not even been in combat prior to the surrender.

I don't know if the data exists, but I expect that the death rates of most groups of PoWs probably levelled off over time, as the weakest died off first, and the captor custody regimes developed.

.
I was kind of quoting a book about the very thing where the author went into detail about how the different POWs from different countries and societies suffered in different ways.

I even contacted the publisher as the author has the same photo as my Father had in his WW2 album. Posted on this site .

I am sure it was ...

Prisoners of the Japanese by Gavin Daws.
 
The death rate of the Stalingrad captives usually fails to mention the death rate of the non-German captives, such as Rumanians, Hungarians, Italians, Slovaks and sundry others, who died like flies and were often rejected by the Germans and were thrown upon their own resources. Also, after the initial surrender, they were marched out into the open countryside and simply corralled around a series of ravines until they were counted and moved to a railhead. The senior officers were segregated from the men and taken away for interrogation. Initially, several thousand died of exposure and malnutrition and it wasn't until the survivors reached camps that the death rate stabilised. Some of them survived because they were kept locally to start clearing up the dead and scattered ordnance, alongside Gulag prisoners. Also, the Russians were said in some accounts to have treated the Stalingrad survivors as special cases and the last of them were not released until 1955. Quite a few Germans topped themselves when it was announced that each man was regarded as an invading criminal and got 10 years. Others did so when the news of Germany's collapse came in 1945. So, by the time 1955 came around, 5000 out of 91000 was not bad, all things considered.
 
I was kind of quoting a book about the very thing where the author went into detail about how the different POWs from different countries and societies suffered in different ways.

I even contacted the publisher as the author has the same photo as my Father had in his WW2 album. Posted on this site .

I am sure it was ...

Prisoners of the Japanese by Gavin Daws.
I have mentioned this before.

Many years ago, in the late 80's or early 90's, I read an article in one of those magazines that seemed to be so common at the time; British Army Review or some such. The article was about how allied prisoners coped in North Korean prison camps during that particular war.

Those who fared the worst were the US troops who simply couldn't handle the privation and deprivation. The Brits fared a little better, but those that did the best were the Indians and Turks. After a lot of analysis and reasoning, the conclusion was that they coped better simply because the conditions they experienced in the camps, weren't that much worse than they were used to in normal garrison life.
 
Last edited:

Latest Threads

Top