Capturing Enemy Soldiers

Sounds like a silly question, I know, but how is it done? You just strongarm them or something?

Pointing a gun at them usually helps! Even better if it’s loaded. The tricky part is keeping them under control until you can hand them off.

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I think more often than not, at least in WW2, it was large scale surrender where the commanding officer would negotiate terms with the other side and then order his men to stand down, and surrender there arms. I imagine this was a quite orderly. This is what happened at Stalingrad when Paulus surrendered. Interestingly his two garrisons were cut off and one of the two didn’t get the order, surrendering days later

In smaller unit action I think it would take place when one side knows they are about to be over run and resistance is futile. In these circumstances one side probably emerges waving a white flag

I was thinking along the lines of going and capturing an enemy soldier for information, etc. rather than having one surrender to you voluntarily when the chips are down.

No idea, but perhaps Band Of Brothers ‘The Last Patrol’ might be a good reference

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The bayonet is also pretty intimidating


Ah my bad. In that case I agree, the last patrol episode is a good one.

It all depends on the situation.

sometimes a patrol is sent out with orders to capture a single random individual to be brought back for interrogation.

sometimes one force overpowers another and the survivors decide to surrender rather than be killed

sometimes in large battle situations, a losing higher command decides to capitulate and surrender all the organized forces under their command

every now and then a member of one armed force leaves their own side of their own accord and decides to surrender for their enemy for whatever reason…

sometimes it is a downed airman, or sailor off a sunken ship who encounters their enemy and surrenders to them in order to survive.


normally having more guns than them helps.
Seriously though, It’s normally down to aggression, intimidation and instilling fear of death that does it. A person will submit if they value their life more than they the cause they are fighting for. It’s then all about keeping them subdued until you can pass them through the system. You will often see prisoner escorts sporting the bayonet on their rifles, that’s a big intimidation tactic, nobody wants to be stuck with a big knife, it’s very personal. It’s all about keeping the prisoner subjugated through the whole process, from capturing to imprisonment. If you give them hope then their thoughts turn to escape, if you give them no hope then they comply, generally.

There have also been cases where the captured enemy is very happy to finally have been liberated from the sufferings in his own army.
Many Russians are totally happy when they get captured and they hope that their participation in the war is over.

Wasn’t there a case of some Iraqi who lived in the US, had visited relatives in Iraq, been captured/drafted and now was so happy that US troops had finally “liberated” him?

@Stijpusher, love that scene!

If we’re talking about patrols grabbing an enemy to squeeze for intel, it usually involves sneakiness and careful planning to find somebody off-guard who is separated from the rest so you can physically grab him and haul him off before he can find a gun or raise the alarm. Having good odds (3 to 1 or more) helps, as do nerves of steel to lay in wait for just the right moment while being behind enemy lines. Then you bind and gag him if you are planning to drag him back, or just pin him down for on-the-spot questioning before “cleaning up”…