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Old 09-08-2013   #1
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Default Dutch state liable for three Srebrenica deaths

Wonderful news:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23986063

I certainly hope this opens the way for billions of dollars in payouts to those betrayed by the Dutch (excuses for) soldiers... beyond just these three.

From a military POV I am more interested in what action was taken against the commander, his officers and men after this incident. It is at times like these that one laments the fact that capital punishment has gone out of fashion in Europe.

This incident further illustrates the problem with hastily cobbled together UN forces comprising of poorly trained, poorly equipped, unwarlike (and as in this case) cowardly excuses for soldiers who will surrender at the drop of a hat.
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Old 09-09-2013   #2
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Default Lt. Col. (Dutchbat) Thom Karremans

Ah Mark,

In answer to your question:

Quote:
From a military POV I am more interested in what action was taken against the commander, his officers and men after this incident. It is at times like these that one laments the fact that capital punishment has gone out of fashion in Europe.
I hope you're not in too serious a mood:

Quote:
Following negotiations between UN and Bosnian Serbs, on Friday, July 21st, 1995, lieutenant-colonel Karremans and Dutch UN soldiers were allowed to leave Srebrenica. On the farewell, Colonel Karremans accepted gifts from General Mladić, smiled, shook his hand and departed. Shortly after his return to The Netherlands Karremans was promoted to full colonel.
Wiki bio of Karremans. In 2010, a complaint was filed by Bosnian Muslims vs Karremans et al, Aangifte genocide tegen Karremans (I expect you handle Dutch better than I).

I ran into this story last nite.

Regards

Mike
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Old 09-09-2013   #3
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Default The Rest of the Story

Dutch peacekeeper not prosecuted for Srebrenica (AP; by Mike Corder, 7 Mar 2013)

Quote:
THE HAGUE, Netherlands—The retired general who commanded Dutch peacekeepers in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica when Bosnian Serb fighters overran the town and massacred some 8,000 Muslim men won't be prosecuted for involvement in the slayings, authorities announced Thursday.
Relatives of three victims of the worst massacre in Europe since World War II wanted Gen. Thom Karremans held criminally responsible for their deaths, arguing that he turned them over to the Serbs when he should have offered them protection because they had worked for the peacekeepers.

But prosecutors said in a statement that Karremans and two other senior Dutch officers "cannot be held liable under criminal law for having been involved in the crimes committed by the Bosnian Serbian Army in July 1995 in Srebrenica."
Mike Corder, who has reported a number of war crimes stories for AP, has Karremans as a "retired general" - Corder may be incorrect there.

Regards

Mike
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Old 09-09-2013   #4
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Mike, thanks.

Better I say little as such acts of cowardice by soldiers make my blood boil.

I learned recently that when Liberian President Doe was captured (later to be tortured to death on video) he was in the office of the UN commander who had ordered his troops not to oppose the rebels as the attacked the compound.

The Ghanaian UN commander a general had required Doe and his 70 men to disarm before entering the UN compound. When the rebels showed up his bottle went and stepped aside and allowed Doe to be captured and his 70 men executed.

Another glorious example of the performance (or lack thereof) of UN forces.

General Quainoo was obviously one of Ghana's finest.
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Old 09-09-2013   #5
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Default Playing the role ?

I found the Doe story and the video (which is mostly Prince Johnson talking, being fanned by a gal and drinking Budweiser regular).

That story and the Bosnian story revived some thoughts I've been harboring for a little while - since our "police action" in Korea.

The thoughts are not fully formed, and scarcely dogmatic. Here's the hypothesis: "humanitarian interventions" - whether UN or otherwise - tend to be morality plays. Those plays are scripted by politicians (UN, regional, domestic), where soldiers easily become props - "cardboard soldiers". Since they are not really soldiers, can one expect them to act like soldiers ?

The "ideal" (as opposed to realities in Bosnia and Liberia) certainly existed in the mind of another JM (John Milius) and the Marines in Milius' "The Wind and the Lion", where the Wiki sums up the situation:

Quote:
Gummere, Chadwick and his aide, Marine Captain Jerome, tire of the Sultan's perfidy and the meddling of the European powers and decide to engage in "military intervention" to force a negotiation by seizing the actual seat of power, the Bashaw's palace in Tangier. Jerome's company of Marines, supported by a small detachment of sailors, march through the streets of Tangier, much to the surprise of the European legations, whose forces are with the Sultan at distant Fez, and overwhelm the Bashaw's palace guard, taking the Bashaw hostage and forcing him to negotiate.

By such coercion, the Bashaw finally agrees to accede to the Raisuli's demands. But during a hostage exchange, Raisuli is betrayed and captured by German and Moroccan troops under the command of Von Roerkel, while Jerome and a small contingent of Marines are present to secure the Pedecarises. While Raisuli's friend, the Sherif of Wazan, organizes the Berber tribe for an attack on the Europeans and Moroccans, Eden attacks Jerome and convinces him and his men to rescue the Raisuli to uphold the word of President Roosevelt that he would be unharmed if the Pedecarises were returned safely.

A three-way battle results, in which the Berbers and Americans team to defeat the Germans and their Moroccan allies, rescuing Raisuli in the process. In the United States, Roosevelt is cheered for this great victory, and the Pedecarises arrive safely back in Tangier.
Now, this is historical fiction (made up stuff); but it precisely frames the issue of moral courage presented in both the Bosnian and Liberian situations.

The rifle company captain in "The Wind" passed the test; but then he was far from a "cardboard soldier" and had considerable "freedom of action".

If you can do so, without boiling blood and blowing a fuse, comment ?

Regards

Mike
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Old 09-10-2013   #6
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Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
I found the Doe story and the video (which is mostly Prince Johnson talking, being fanned by a gal and drinking Budweiser regular).

That story and the Bosnian story revived some thoughts I've been harboring for a little while - since our "police action" in Korea.

The thoughts are not fully formed, and scarcely dogmatic. Here's the hypothesis: "humanitarian interventions" - whether UN or otherwise - tend to be morality plays. Those plays are scripted by politicians (UN, regional, domestic), where soldiers easily become props - "cardboard soldiers". Since they are not really soldiers, can one expect them to act like soldiers ?

The "ideal" (as opposed to realities in Bosnia and Liberia) certainly existed in the mind of another JM (John Milius) and the Marines in Milius' "The Wind and the Lion", where the Wiki sums up the situation:



Now, this is historical fiction (made up stuff); but it precisely frames the issue of moral courage presented in both the Bosnian and Liberian situations.

The rifle company captain in "The Wind" passed the test; but then he was far from a "cardboard soldier" and had considerable "freedom of action".

If you can do so, without boiling blood and blowing a fuse, comment ?

Regards

Mike

Mike,

IMHO it is all about that higher level of courage being moral courage. Among those who have seen combat to a repeated and significant degree they have been tested with regard to physical courage. Some greatly.

Sometimes physically brave men collapse like a wet paper bag when their convictions are challenged and they need to make a stand at risk of death or physical harm.

I was never challenged in terms of moral courage as the two mentioned above were. My anger may well be the result of subliminal fear that I too may collapse under those circumstances.

A start to the understanding of all this is the seminal work of Moran, 'The Anatomy of Courage' ( http://ow.ly/oIYeM ) now available on Kindle.

Caesar would be thrashing around in his grave see that "Death Before Dishonour" has so little value in todays world.

Among the Brits it was spoken of "dying well". Sadly even there I understand the concept has become negotiable. Remembering Basra and Musa Qala in recent memory. This pattern or surrender in exchange for safe passage seems to be becoming an acceptable option in British military culture.

An American view on the issue, William Ian Miller's 'The Mystery of Courage' is worth the cost and the reading time.
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Old 09-10-2013   #7
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Rightly what happened in Srebrenica should be remembered, it clearly is by the Bosnian Muslims and the Dutch who have a sense of shame for what happened.

I know that there is a detailed official Dutch report on what happened. IIRC an impossible mandate to 'protect' a Muslim enclave deep within Bosnian Serb controlled area, some provocations by armed Muslims - who then fled back to the UN 'protected' area, a peacekeeping Dutch unit not prepared for combat and lack of air support.

Less certain my recollection was that neither UNPROFOR or UN HQ appreciated the realities on the ground; a common freature in UN "peacekeeping" alas, which can be explained and criticised.

How the Dutch Colonel can be condemned for leaving, let alone be shot, eludes me.
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Old 09-11-2013   #8
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Default The Morals and Ethics of Surrender

Mark,

First, some "book" keeping. You suggested Moran's book a long time ago. I've read it twice and some sections more. It doesn't address surrender issues as I recall (it has no index).

William Miller has been at Michigan Law since 1985 (well after my time). It appears that a lot of his Yale Law polish has been dented. Perhaps enough so that he might even be ready for primetime at Michigan Tech. In any event, I've ordered used hardcovers of his The Mystery of Courage and Eye for an Eye - basically for shipping costs.

The last book deals with:

Quote:
Analyzing the law of the talion--an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth--literally, William Ian Miller presents an original meditation on the concept of "pay back". Miller's unique theory of justice offers redemption via retaliation. It espouses the view that revenge is a highly structured phenomenon that requires a deep commitment to balance in order to get even in a strict but fair manner. As a result, we find that much of what is assumed to be justice, honor and respect is just a way of providing a means of balancing or measuring valuations.
I'll see how well it matches my own construct of retribution, reprobation and specific deterrence.

The present topic would be simpler if surrender were not an option - as in the Camerone and Iwo Jima traditions; or, in the tradition of Ulzana's Raid (1.5 hrs).

Somehow, that movie (IMO: 5 stars) was made without political correctness - not exaulting either the Cavalry or the Indians; but portraying all as human beings. From Wiki:

Quote:
Set in 1880s Arizona, it portrays a brutal raid by Chiricahua Apaches against European settlers. The bleak and nihilistic tone showing U.S. troops chasing an elusive but murderous enemy has been seen as allegorical to the United States participation in the Vietnam War.
In the movie, Ulzana dies. In reality, his band of 10 killed 38 and lost 1 - he and the rest survived, Hiking Apacheria - Searching for Ulzana.

However, surrender today is an option - whether admitted as such or euphemisized as "deemed captured".

The official Code of Conduct (DODI 1300.21, January 8, 2001 (pp.11-12) is attached as a pdf, is quite sparse, and includes some lawyerly weasel words - which I think detract from the code's force.

The basic thrust of the Code is that voluntary surrender is always dishonorable, but one may view himself as being "captured" - which is not dishononable. Here's the Explanation:

Quote:
E2.2.2.1.1. Surrender is the willful act of members of the Armed Force turning themselves over to enemy forces when not required by utmost necessity or extremity. Surrender is always dishonorable and never allowed. When there is no chance for meaningful resistance, evasion is impossible, and further fighting would lead to their death with no significant loss to the enemy, members of Armed Forces should view themselves as "captured" against their will versus a circumstance that is seen as voluntarily "surrendering." They must remember that the capture was dictated by the futility of the situation and overwhelming enemy strengths. In this case, capture is not dishonorable.
Guidance for a unit commander is even sparser, and limited to this:

Quote:
IF IN COMMAND, I WILL NEVER SURRENDER THE MEMBERS OF MY COMMAND WHILE THEY STILL HAVE THE MEANS TO RESIST.
...
E2.2.2.1.2. The responsibility and authority of a commander never extends to the surrender of command, even if isolated, cut off, or surrounded, while the unit has a reasonable power to resist, break out, or evade to rejoin friendly forces.
I couldn't find a great deal written about the morals and ethics of surrendering. The best formal piece I found (a 192 page monograph) is 1989 Klimow, Surrender - A Soldier's Legal, Ethical, and Moral Obligations; With Philippine Case Study (C&GSC, 192 pp.). The Battling Bastards of Bataan webpages have a number of in-depth pieces on Bataan and the Death Marches.

The introduction sums up the problem - the issues are not something that people want to confront:

Quote:
Surrender presupposes defeat, and because of this disparaging implication, it is easily ignored as a subject in the military. Any instruction or training regarding surrender or capitulation is likely to encompass only the actions American service members must take when capturing enemy combatants. The prospect of American surrender, particularly of whole units, is all but unthinkable.

American soldiers are hardened against surrender through discipline and training which fosters a military ethic of fighting the enemy as long as there is a means to resist. Even after the physical means to resist are exhausted -ammunition is depleted and the enemy has surrounded friendly forces -service men are expected to attempt escape and evasion rather than capitulation. The United States military ethic recognizes surrender as a viable option only when further resistance would be suicidal. Revulsion to the act of surrender is perhaps superseded only by American society's desire to preserve the lives of its sons and daughters in uniform.
This monograph seems to me a very good study of the issues generally and in the Bataan-Corregidor context specifically. Singapore and Percival would seem similar - perhaps, a morals and ethics study has been done on that ?

This seems a start on the surrender issue for those of us that haven't had to deal with it in real life. The Bosnia hostage situations may have involved added factors; although the P.I. did involve hostages, both military and civilian.

Does anyone here at SWC have personal experience in deciding whether or not to surrender, especially on the unit commander level ?

Regards

Mike
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Surrender.pdf (82.8 KB, 100 views)

Last edited by jmm99; 09-11-2013 at 04:17 AM.
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Old 09-11-2013   #9
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Rightly what happened in Srebrenica should be remembered, it clearly is by the Bosnian Muslims and the Dutch who have a sense of shame for what happened.

I know that there is a detailed official Dutch report on what happened. IIRC an impossible mandate to 'protect' a Muslim enclave deep within Bosnian Serb controlled area, some provocations by armed Muslims - who then fled back to the UN 'protected' area, a peacekeeping Dutch unit not prepared for combat and lack of air support.

Less certain my recollection was that neither UNPROFOR or UN HQ appreciated the realities on the ground; a common freature in UN "peacekeeping" alas, which can be explained and criticised.

How the Dutch Colonel can be condemned for leaving, let alone be shot, eludes me.
Stay tuned here David. The surrender decision in my opinion is triggered by the victory of fear over courage. An isolated private soldier may surrender when surrounded while others will choose 'take a few of them with him'. It is, however, unforgivable IMHO for a commander to surrender his force before a shot has been fired. A good defensive position can be defended by determined troops against impossible odds - take many cases of British Platoon Bases defending magnificently against massive odds in the early days of Afghanistan.
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Old 09-11-2013   #10
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Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
Mark,

First, some "book" keeping. You suggested Moran's book a long time ago. I've read it twice and some sections more. It doesn't address surrender issues as I recall (it has no index).

William Miller has been at Michigan Law since 1985 (well after my time). It appears that a lot of his Yale Law polish has been dented. Perhaps enough so that he might even be ready for primetime at Michigan Tech. In any event, I've ordered used hardcovers of his The Mystery of Courage and Eye for an Eye - basically for shipping costs.

The last book deals with:



I'll see how well it matches my own construct of retribution, reprobation and specific deterrence.

The present topic would be simpler if surrender were not an option - as in the Camerone and Iwo Jima traditions; or, in the tradition of Ulzana's Raid (1.5 hrs).
Mike, as always your research is impeccable.

(a quick response as I am going out for a long day away from all communications)

We may be starting to talk at cross purposes. I am looking more at the trigger in the mind of the commander or soldier that leads to a surrender decision. Even in wars where it is 'better' to die in combat (like a man) than to surrender and be tortured or starved to death men surrender. I don't believe that surrender is based on sound tactical grounds but rather something that happens in the head of the individual decision maker. I would like to try to understand that.
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Old 09-12-2013   #11
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Default What you mean "We", kimosavee ?

Quote:
from JMA
We may be starting to talk at cross purposes.


Besides, like the embattled captain on the bridge, "I have not yet begun to talk."

Seriously, I don't see the "cross purposes" - nor, to this point, any crossed verbal swords.

I see your primary thrust as:

Quote:
A good defensive position can be defended by determined troops against impossible odds. ... I am looking more at the trigger in the mind of the commander or soldier that leads to a surrender decision.
I take the following as received wisdom - from the 1989 (original) version of the USMC's basic manual, Warfighting (and retained in later editions):

Quote:
Chapter 1. THE NATURE OF WAR
...
"Positions are seldom lost because they have been destroyed, but almost invariably because the leader has decided in his own mind that the position cannot be held."
-A. A. Vandegrift
Alexander Vandegrift was a military visionary. In 1909, as a 22-year old 2nd Lt., he wrote "Aviation, the Cavalry of the Future".

What am I missing ?

Regards

Mike

Last edited by jmm99; 09-12-2013 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 09-12-2013   #12
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Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post

What am I missing ?

....

Regards

Mike
Not much it seems...

Let's repeat your Vandegrift quote:

"Positions are seldom lost because they have been destroyed, but almost invariably because the leader has decided in his own mind that the position cannot be held."
-A. A. Vandegrift

Happy that my position is much the same as this.

Starting with Percival's surrender in Singapore in 1942 of a force of 138,000 men which was a huge embarrassment to the British and a major Allied setback in the war. "It was the largest surrender of British-led forces in history."

Percival's WW1 record was good during which he was awarded the Military Cross, Croix de Guerre and the Distinguished Service Order. From Wikipedia: "He ended the war as a respected soldier, described as "very efficient" and was recommended for the Staff College."

So what happened here? What about his character was missed? Can modern officer and soldier selection select out for this?

Now compare him to this character:

"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of
us, they're behind us...they can't get away this time"
- Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC



"For a desperate three hours his battalion, stretched over a mile-long front, was the only defense between vital Henderson Airfield and a regiment of seasoned Japanese troops. In pouring jungle rain the Japanese smashed repeatedly at his thin line, as General Puller moved up and down its length to encourage his men and direct the defense. After reinforcements arrived, he commanded the augmented force until late the next afternoon. The defending Marines suffered less than 70 casualties in the engagement while 1400 of the enemy were killed and 17 truckloads of Japanese equipment were recovered by the Americans." (http://www.tricitymarines.com/puller.htm)

You got to hand it to the yanks they have some endearing characters...
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Old 09-12-2013   #13
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Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
Mark,

First, some "book" keeping. You suggested Moran's book a long time ago. I've read it twice and some sections more. It doesn't address surrender issues as I recall (it has no index).

William Miller has been at Michigan Law since 1985 (well after my time). It appears that a lot of his Yale Law polish has been dented. Perhaps enough so that he might even be ready for primetime at Michigan Tech. In any event, I've ordered used hardcovers of his The Mystery of Courage and Eye for an Eye - basically for shipping costs.
I await your review on Millar's "Eye for an Eye".

Moran does cover the essentials in the fourth chapter 'Moods'. Can't cut and paste the section from Kindle to here with any ease. (sure the publisher wouldn't mind the advertising)

But this is worth typing out:

"In the presence of danger man often finds salvation in action. To dull emotion he must do something; to remain immobile, to stagnate in mind or body, is to surrender without terms."

Miller has 19 references to 'surrender'. Next time.
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Old 09-12-2013   #14
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Default Some thoughts are forming ...

but, need some "tweaking" to even start considering your questions:

Quote:
So what happened here? What about his character was missed? Can modern officer and soldier selection select out for this?
"here" and "his" being Singapore and Percival; "there" (my word) being the Canal (and Chosin) and Puller.

Put another way, what made the 1st Marine Division special ? Answer: nothing; they were just Marines.

Regards

Mike
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Old 09-12-2013   #15
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Just a thought and remaining with the Srebenica example. Would the Dutch commander, plus his command, have taken a different decision minus the blue beret?

The USMC example cited was a UN mission, so it is far more than a blue beret.
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Old 09-13-2013   #16
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Default "... so it is far more than a blue beret ..."

I agree with the title tidbit, as stated, but I'm thrown by the reference to "UN mission". Korea was "UN", in the sense that Harry Truman used the UNSC resolutions as jus ad bellum; but command over the "UN" forces was US - including the South Koreans. Did Mark or I cite another UN mission involving the USMC ?

Regards

Mike
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Old 09-13-2013   #17
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Default Back to Moran's sentry ...

and Mark's questions:

Quote:
So what happened here? What about his character was missed? Can modern officer and soldier selection select out for this?
From Moran, Anatomy of Courage, "Moods", chap 4, pp.37-38

Quote:
A sentry is faced suddenly by a large body of the enemy, his lowest instinct of self-preservation acts, but before any movement of flight can take place the instinct for the preservation of the race has intervened and barred the way to self-indulgence. The voice of duty tells him that his own safety must be subordinated to that of the army of which he is a member. And this voice of the herd is backed by threats of physical and moral penalties.
Moran goes on to Mark's quote:

Quote:
"In the presence of danger man often finds salvation in action. To dull emotion he must do something; to remain immobile, to stagnate in mind or body, is to surrender without terms."
Moran goes on to cite Trotter, Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War (1921)(Wiki). Today, hundreds of works are along the same lines (though using different vocabulary).

We have two important concepts here (in Moran's words): "instinct of self-preservation" and "instinct for the preservation of the race".

I'd suggest that both "instincts" are controlled by genetics and environment in the given individual - to different degrees.

Let's take firstly the "instinct for self-preservation" - freeze, flight, fight. I listed "freeze" first because I think it might be material to surrenders. If a person does not know what to do in a bad situation, that person is likely to freeze, especially if flight is foreclosed. If a person does know what to do in a bad situation, that person is likely to do what has to be done.

So, how much training did Percival, Wainwright, Karremans, etc., have in making the choice between death and surrender ? Did they "freeze" in the headlights - and then make their choices based on a distorted view of the tactical situation, or for emotional "humanitarian" reasons ?

That last question takes us into the "instinct for the preservation of the race", which underlies our human abilities to cooperate, be altruistic and humanitarian - with and to those persons we consider to be "us". In the case of Percival and Wainwright, they were definitely concerned with all the bad things that could happen to their troops and civilians - if they did not surrender.

So, was William Hull, who surrendered Detroit to the British in 1812 because he was afraid of what the Indians would do to his troops and settlers (Wiki). He was court-martialed, sentenced to be shot, but pardoned by President Monroe. He then wrote a book giving all of his reasons for why he should not have been prosecuted, much less convicted. Hint: Hull was a lawyer, a political appointee and very filled with self-deception.

These references are online, but involve more reading than they are currently worth. Hull, William (1824), Memoirs of the Campaign of the North Western army of the United States, A.D. 1812, Boston: True & Greene, OCLC 11571681 (digital version contains both this document and Forbes' Report of the Trial); and Forbes, James G. (1814), Report of the Trial of Brig. General William Hull, Commanding the North-Western Army of the United States, New York: Eastburn, Kirk, OCLC 4781638.

It has been said of Percival on the eve of his surrender (link):

Quote:
Percival realised that his only options were to fight to the death or surrender.
Prior to that, had he considered that some day he might be faced with those options ?

Regards

Mike

PS: Does someone have the Dutchbat report online in English ?
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Old 09-13-2013   #18
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Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post

PS: Does someone have the Dutchbat report online in English ?
Not sure if this is what you are looking for.
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Old 09-13-2013   #19
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Default Yes, Exactly !

Srebrenica: Reconstruction, background, consequences and analyses of the fall of a ‘safe’ area - all 3875 pages of it.

Thank you, Auckland.

Regards

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Old 09-28-2013   #20
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Default Back again

Been in no-mans land again. Now back in the land of the living.

This thread does not seem to be generating much interest.

Nevertheless I will attempt to add to this discussion to further present my POV.
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