Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Japanese policy (doctrine?) of shooting at medics/stretcher beares

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Japanese policy (doctrine?) of shooting at medics/stretcher beares

    Watching part 7 (again!) of the HBO mini series "The Pacific." During the bloody fight on Peleliu, the Captain, Ak-Ak, asked for stretcher bearer volunteers. They were all getting shot up carrying stretchers instead of a weapon. I know its not the USMC policy to leave the wounded but in broad daylight, close quarters fighting running around to pick up wounded creates more wounded. I know at night the Japs would sneak out and kill or even commit atrocities on unattended and defenseless wounded. But I would think they should wait and try to kill all resistance in the area of battle and then collect the wounded. I know some would bleed out and die but whats the sense of trying to save one and losing 2 more. They could wait until an hour before nightfall, if the area is not secure and then give it a go with special units. Not during the heat of a fire fight.
    Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 15 Sep 18, 19:04.
    Our world at Khe Sanh was blood, death, and filth with deafening gunfire and blinding explosions as a constant soundtrack...Barry Fixler
    http://sempercool.com/

  • #2
    This completely overlooks the morale aspect of medics. Even a cursory reading of combat memoirs shows the high respect soldiers had for their medics, the comfort they derived from the fact that if they were wounded someone would be there to help them if need be and the negative impact in the rare instances when this failed to happen. In the scenario you paint soldiers will have to listen to their wounded cry out for help and be told to ignore them. Or realize that if they themselves are wounded they’ll be “abandoned “ . Hardly conducive to maintaining fighting spirit. It is important to recognize the impact intangibles like this can have on combat effectiveness.

    Comment


    • #3
      Didn’t the Japanese have a policy of bayoneting any wounded they captured?
      "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

      Comment


      • #4
        There had been some ambiguity during WW1 over the status of stretcher bearers under the Hague Convention. For example RAMC bearers were definitely entitled to wear Red Cross emblems and were to be treated as non combatants but men such as regimental stretcher bearers were in a grey area as they were still members of a combat unit. This was all clarified in the 1929 Geneva Convention which removed such distinctions so that all stretcher bearers were also definitely covered. Unfortunately this convention, which went much wider being mainly concerned with POWs, enemy aliens etc, was not immediately ratified by all. The US Congress, worried as ever about US military or government personnel being subject to international courts, took five years to ratify and then with various caveats. Such delays were copied elsewhere and Japan had not ratified by 1941.

        In January 1942 the governments of the USA, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand all wrote to Tojo asking for clarification on the convention. All announced their willingness to observe the Geneva Convention in respect of Japan and asked that Japan reciprocate. Tojo was primarily concerned with the fate of Japanese in the USA and Australia. and agreed but no formal convention was initiated.. However the USA began interning Japanese which could be deemed as contravening the convention, and Australia also implemented measures. Many in the Japanese military appear to have considered that this invalidated any agreement. In 1946 the Tokyo International Military Tribunal ruled by a majority verdict that Tojo's informal agreement had bound Japan to the Geneva convention of 1929 and therefore her treatment of POWs and shooting of stretcher bearers etc amounted to war crimes. This allowed the prosecution and conviction of senior Japanese commanders. However during the war many Japanese would have believed that the Geneva Convention did not apply - not all however as Australian troops did report on occasions when opposing Japanese forces did allow medics to go about their business unmolested, however this could not be relied on and many Aussi medics were armed..
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

        Comment


        • #5
          From a purely practical standpoint, wounding troops ties up a lot more combat effectives. The North Vietnamese knew this. During the Cold War, I argued vehemently against the red crosses on my track ambulances because the Soviets did not respect medical markings (not signatories to the Geneva Convention) and could use them as target markers.

          Finally, I quit trying to talk to the West Point dunderheads and simply brought along a few gallons of OD paint and a mop. In case of war, slop paint over the crosses and drive on.
          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
            During the Cold War, I argued vehemently against the red crosses on my track ambulances because the Soviets did not respect medical markings (not signatories to the Geneva Convention) and could use them as target markers.

            Finally, I quit trying to talk to the West Point dunderheads and simply brought along a few gallons of OD paint and a mop. In case of war, slop paint over the crosses and drive on.
            The Soviet Union signed the 1949 Geneva Conventions (yes, plural) in 1949.
            Removing the distinctive emblem from a medical vehicle would have turned it into a perfectly legitimate target for the enemy, in case of war.
            I might comment on this but I think it won't be necessary.
            Michele

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Michele View Post

              The Soviet Union signed the 1949 Geneva Conventions (yes, plural) in 1949.
              .
              Not quite that simple. The four 1949 conventions were separately ratified by the different parts of the USSR that had UN seats and on different dates. This the Byloruss SSR and the Ukrainian SSR ratified in 1954 but Russia was not covered until 1960 when the Soviet Union ratified. This delay was due to reservations over clauses in the convention that applied to POWs (essentially the Russians reserved the right to string up war criminals when captured rather than go to an international court to get them tried and convicted first)

              However the USA ratified in 1955 and there is an obligation for ratifying states to clearly mark their ambulances and medical personnel for the protection of the wounded (who may be from both sides of a conflict) and this still applies even if one belligerent is not a ratifying country. To paint out the signs would place the USA in breach of the Geneva Convention
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MarkV View Post

                Not quite that simple. The four 1949 conventions were separately ratified by the different parts of the USSR that had UN seats and on different dates. This the Byloruss SSR and the Ukrainian SSR ratified in 1954 but Russia was not covered until 1960 when the Soviet Union ratified. This delay was due to reservations over clauses in the convention that applied to POWs (essentially the Russians reserved the right to string up war criminals when captured rather than go to an international court to get them tried and convicted first)
                That reservation applied to Geneva III 1949, the one about POWs. We're talking about Geneva I 1949, the one about the protection of the wounded. Ratified in 1954 by Russia too, and anyway signed back in 1949.


                However the USA ratified in 1955 and there is an obligation for ratifying states to clearly mark their ambulances and medical personnel for the protection of the wounded (who may be from both sides of a conflict) and this still applies even if one belligerent is not a ratifying country. To paint out the signs would place the USA in breach of the Geneva Convention
                That's correct.
                Michele

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Michele View Post

                  The Soviet Union signed the 1949 Geneva Conventions (yes, plural) in 1949.
                  Removing the distinctive emblem from a medical vehicle would have turned it into a perfectly legitimate target for the enemy, in case of war.
                  I might comment on this but I think it won't be necessary.
                  Actually, having served in Europe during the bulk of the Cold War, in combat units, I can tell you that we were briefed not to expect the Soviets to respect the Geneva Convention, nor to rely on it in any way. I could comment on this at great length, having written the Medical Annex to the Ground Defense Plan upon which all American actions were based. Been there, done that but threw away the T-short because it made me too large of a target.

                  There was even a move by one of my battalion commanders to mount .50 cal weapons on the medical tracks, which I resisted since that makes one a legitimate target! (besides, the colonel refused to grant my request for a 20mm for my aid station!)

                  The bottom line here is that different cultures have different ideas about how to cope with large numbers of enemy wounded, and most of those cultures are not as touchy-feely as America. We try our damnedest to kill someone, and the moment he gets a scratch we pull out all of the stops and give him a million dollars worth of medical care. The Soviets, OTH, have never demonstrated the slightest bit of compassion for those they captured or wounded in combat.
                  I can tell you this, too: based on how many casualties we might have captured had things gone our way during WWIII - not likely, but... -there were some serious discussions about how American forces would or could have provided any care to them, Convention or not. Hint: It's an all-out war and the supplies have to come from America across 3000 miles of ocean, and we had very little to begin with. Know how mass casualty "triaging" works? That is undoubtedly how we would have handled it.
                  Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                    Actually, having served in Europe during the bulk of the Cold War, in combat units, I can tell you that we were briefed not to expect the Soviets to respect the Geneva Convention, nor to rely on it in any way.
                    Which is a different claim, and it has nothing to do with the factually wrong notion of the Soviets not being signatories of the relevant Convention.

                    Michele

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michele View Post

                      Which is a different claim, and it has nothing to do with the factually wrong notion of the Soviets not being signatories of the relevant Convention.
                      "Fact" vs reality?

                      Or...

                      "When the Germans approached the Soviets, through Sweden, to negotiate observance of the provisions of the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war, Stalin refused. The Soviet soldiers in German hands were thus unprotected even in theory. Millions of them died in captivity, through malnutrition or maltreatment. If Stalin had adhered to the convention (to which the USSR had not been a party) would the Germans have behaved better? To judge by their treatment of other 'Slav submen' POWs (like the Poles, even surrendering after the [1944] Warsaw Rising), the answer seems to be yes. (Stalin's own behavior to [Polish] prisoners captured by the Red Army had already been demonstrated at Katyn and elsewhere [where they were shot]."
                      http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v14/Teplyakov.html

                      Your position is that a piece of paper signed a long time go might possibly have protected American soldiers when decades of reality show clearly that the Soviets never respected the Convention on behalf of anyone, Germans, Poles, Czechs, Afghans, South Ossetians, Ukrainians, you name it.

                      So...conclusion...in WWIII in Europe the Convention might have made passably good toilet paper if we ran short, and nothing else.

                      You see, the problem with your statement is that "signatory" means "following the conventions", and the Soviet Union never intended to do so; therefore, their "signature" is and always been a meaningless gesture. In this regard you might regard the German signatures on the Treaty of Versailles, too, or Hitler's signature on the German-Soviet non-aggression pact. It's much like NATO today, lots of signatures, lots of promises, no boots on the ground.

                      Meanwhile, back to the Japanese, they regarded all other races as subhuman and treated them as such, particularly prisoners whom they felt should have fought to the death, and having failed to do so, were without honor and worse than animals. And yes, they shot at and killed medics and stretcher bearers because it tilted things in their favor and because their enemies deserved no better, since they expected their own troops to fight to the death.

                      "Be resolved that Death is lighter than a feather; Duty heavier than a mountain."
                      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post


                        http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v14/Teplyakov.html

                        Your position is that a piece of paper signed a long time go might possibly have protected American soldiers when decades of reality show clearly that the Soviets never respected the Convention on behalf of anyone, Germans, Poles, Czechs, Afghans, South Ossetians, Ukrainians, you name it.

                        So...conclusion...in WWIII in Europe the Convention might have made passably good toilet paper if we ran short, and nothing else.

                        You see, the problem with your statement is that "signatory" means "following the conventions", and the Soviet Union never intended to do so; therefore, their "signature" is and always been a meaningless gesture. In this regard you might regard the German signatures on the Treaty of Versailles, too, or Hitler's signature on the German-Soviet non-aggression pact. It's much like NATO today, lots of signatures, lots of promises, no boots on the ground.

                        Meanwhile, back to the Japanese, they regarded all other races as subhuman and treated them as such, particularly prisoners whom they felt should have fought to the death, and having failed to do so, were without honor and worse than animals. And yes, they shot at and killed medics and stretcher bearers because it tilted things in their favor and because their enemies deserved no better, since they expected their own troops to fight to the death.

                        "Be resolved that Death is lighter than a feather; Duty heavier than a mountain."
                        The Institute For Historical Review which you have used as a source is a well known Holocaust denial website. Anything on that website has as much historical value as a pile of horse dung.

                        Find a reputable source and then maybe your claims will have some credibility.

                        thank you

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The Soviet POW's captured by the Germans would have been killed whether or not Stalin signed a piece of paper. The Wehrmacht and the WSS fighting on the eastern front followed Nazi doctrine to the extreme. Soldiers of the Third Reich that steered clear of the atrocities going on around them because they possessed a conscience were an exception not the norm.

                          And these minority conscience bearing soldiers of the Wehrmacht had absolutely no control of what was going on behind the front lines. Russian POW's not killed outright eventually died from starvation, disease, and random acts of torture and violence by the members of the SD, WSS, Einsatzgruppen, and yes even the Wehrmacht.

                          Getting back on track the Marines knew the Japanese targeted Corpsmen and Stretcher Bearers. CD mentioned morale being a factor in troops running into the fray with stretchers instead of rifles to collect wounded comrades. This is true but my position that more men were wounded and killed in this practice is also true. Many Marines would fling a wounded comrade over his shoulder and try to run back to the safety of his lines. This is better then 2 men carrying a stretcher so I still cannot see the point in asking for volunteers of 2 man stretcher teams when one man, with a rifle and grenades to protect himself and his fallen comrade could, and countless times did collect the wounded.
                          Our world at Khe Sanh was blood, death, and filth with deafening gunfire and blinding explosions as a constant soundtrack...Barry Fixler
                          http://sempercool.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post


                            Your position is that a piece of paper signed a long time go might possibly have protected American soldiers
                            No. My position is that you made a claim that was wrong, and I pointed it out.
                            You did not claim that the Soviet Union would not comply with the relevant Convention, even though it had signed it.
                            You claimed it was not a signatory.
                            That was simply incorrect. False. Contrary to fact. Wrong.

                            Now the reasonable thing to do for you would just to admit you were plain wrong. Try it, it's not so difficult when you realize that you really are wrong.

                            Michele

                            Comment

                            Latest Topics

                            Collapse

                            Working...
                            X