Law of Armed Conflict Question - Navy - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Law of Armed Conflict Question - Navy

I just finished watching a show on the Smithsonian channel about a WWII submarine taking out a record number of Japanese ships. At one point the sub sunk a troop transport. The sub commander later surfaced and ordered his men to open fire on the life boats and men in the water. Wouldn't that be a violation of the LOAC? I understand why he did it (so the Marines wouldn't have to face them later). Or was the LOAC written after WWII. Just curious.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 05:59 PM
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I believe the LOAC is a part of the Geneva conventions, which weren't' until after WWII around 1949 ish.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 06:29 PM
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My first introduction to The Law of Armed conflict was in U.S. Navy Boot Camp. The instructor asked a recruit to pass out a training booklet to each recruit in the class. The instructor then held up one of booklets and said, "This book is 100% bull#$%^". He then instructed the same recruit who passed out the booklet to collect them all in box. The instructor then said, "Now, let's go over your next academic test".

My second experience with The Law of Armed Conflict was in U.S. Navy Tech School. My instructor was a Vietnam Combat vet. He had served in an Army Infantry unit before switching over to the Navy. He too instructed a fellow sailor to pass out the same booklet I saw in Boot Camp. In this case, the instructor went over every law in the booklet, explained how it was complete bull#$%^ and gave a personal story from Vietnam illustrating why it was complete bull#$%^.

In nine years of active duty, I attended numerous training classes and don't recall the subject of The Law of Armed Conflict ever coming up again. Thus, to summarize, yeah, it's a law. But it's a law that almost nobody follows. It's war. I suppose people assume they won't survive long enough to be convicted. I also suppose with modern video recorders everywhere, at least the U.S. now follows the law, if nobody else; even though the people the U.S. are currently fighting haven't agreed to those laws.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 08:15 PM
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It never came up in my 9 years in the Navy other than in boot camp.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 08:44 PM
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I don't remember going over any of that stuff in boot. I do remember the blue jacket manual. We have always been more kind to our enemies than they ever have to us. I still don't understand why a fighting person in our military would surrender to any of the enemies. They know there will be terrible treatment. The longer they have you , the weaker physically you will get from malnutrition and beatings etc. Hell, I would rather go out taking some of them with me. After seeing all the pow camps from ww2...it would be a frightening thing to fall into the enemies hands. I do remember a story I read years ago of the battle on Iwo Jima . The marines fighting to get up the mountain were finding other marines heads cut off and sitting up on a rock. from what I understood, there no more prisoners taken from that point on. Marines killed all they came in contact with. Marines are absolutely the best! General Mathis is my favorite.

"Demonstrate to the world there is ĎNo Better Friend, No Worse Enemyí than a U.S. Marine."

(Mattisí Letter To 1st Marine Division)
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 08:45 PM
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Please don't anyone bring up the myth of .50 cals not being authorized on military personnel.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 09:07 PM
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The first Geneva Convention was back in the 1800's. At Malmady the Germans massacred 84 American prisoners. That was a clear violation of the Geneva Convention. After that, we returned the favor on multiple occasions, or so I was told by a WW2 veteran.

Rules are all well and good until one side breaks them, then it's gloves off. The Japanese took the gloves off at Bataan, the Germans at Malmady.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 09:33 PM
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It is the victors not the vanquished that write history.

The Dresden bombing and the Katyn Massacre are two prime examples.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2017, 10:29 PM
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We operated off of the current ROE (Rules Of Engagement)
when I was active duty in the 80's.
When 9/11 went down I was CO of a 40 person unit that just
happened to be training across the bay at Naval Weapons
Station Earle (NJ). My orders to Munios manning the 12 gauge
at the gate was "no one gets past you unless the sentry has
cleared them."
I believe they have become more restrictive in theater now,
as in when our forces are in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.
I think I would probably give a JAG an ulcer and contribute to
their lack of sleep. It's a good thing I'm retired.

I like Patton's definition - "The object of war is not to die for
your country but to make the other bastard die for his."
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 07:37 AM
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Early WW2, submarines routinely surfaced after sinking a ship, and would provide compasses, water, food, etc. to people in the life boats,

However, off West Africa Africa, a German U boat had sunk a British Troop ship, the Laconia, carrying over 2400 people. The German sub surfaced, collected life boats, and started towing them to a transfer point. It broadcast it's position and plans on the international humanitarian channels.

Basically, until it relieved itself of all the people, it was a non combatant ship. The deck of the submarine had over 400 people on it, and it was flying Red Cross Colors.

While towing, it was spotted by an American bomber, who, was given orders, even though it was a non combatant, to attack it. The bomber killed a lot of people, mostly British soldiers. The German sub dove, and abandoned the 1000+ people in the ocean.

After that, the Germans would no longer assist survivors. Close to this time, it was found out that a British sub had massacred survivors of a German ship sunk.

At the post WW2 trials, one of the prosecution areas was on German War crimes on the high seas, and specifically the point that the Germans had an order to ignore survivors on the high seas. When the back story came out, it put the Americans and British in the position of trying to prosecute the Germans for what had been started by the Americans and Brits, so they dropped it
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 09:36 AM
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Law of Armed Conflict Question - Navy

I'm sure many of you probably know the Charlie Brown and Frank Stigler story. Charlie Brown was an American B-17 pilot who was flying his crippled plane home after a bombing run. Instead of shooting him down, German fighter Franz Stigler flew up next to him and escorted him to safety. There's a great book about it. The two remained friends until Stiglers death in 2008. A little humanity goes a long ways. Unfortunately in the enemy we fight today there is no such thing as humanity.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Char...igler_incident


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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by gwstang View Post
I do remember a story I read years ago of the battle on Iwo Jima . The marines fighting to get up the mountain were finding other marines heads cut off and sitting up on a rock. from what I understood, there no more prisoners taken from that point on. Marines killed all they came in contact with.
My FIL climbed that bloody mountain and had a plate in the back of his head courtesy of the Japanese as a souvenir. He said both sides treated the other just as bad. He said the methods the Marines used to extract information from captured POWs was as bad as used against them. The war in the Pacific was fought with different rules then the war in Europe.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 09:04 PM
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"However, off West Africa Africa, a German U boat had sunk a British Troop ship, the Laconia, carrying over 2400 people. The German sub surfaced, collected life boats, and started towing them to a transfer point. It broadcast it's position and plans on the international humanitarian channels."

Was this at the beginning of the , "Lease/Lend act? There were a lot of munitions etc headed to Brittan at some time undercover of being an ocean liner.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 11:19 PM
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When I was in the USAF we had to take LOAC training every year. The lawyers had to approve every target to ensure we were following the rules.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwstang View Post
"However, off West Africa Africa, a German U boat had sunk a British Troop ship, the Laconia, carrying over 2400 people. The German sub surfaced, collected life boats, and started towing them to a transfer point. It broadcast it's position and plans on the international humanitarian channels."

Was this at the beginning of the , "Lease/Lend act? There were a lot of munitions etc headed to Brittan at some time undercover of being an ocean liner.
No, this was a troop ship, carrying British Troops and Italian POW's. 100% Military target.

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