Dressing up as the Enemy.

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by Richard G, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    "Dressing up as the enemy is your title, but you've now focussed on Rommel as being guilty, when it's a captured truck, hardly "dressing up in uniform" is it?
    Rommel's not wandering about dressed as a British soldier, so your whole point is getting devalued, especially with rants about lawyers.

    Perhaps there is too much schnapps being partaken, but it would be worth clarifying whether you mean soldiers deliberately wearing the opposition uniform in order to attack a target or simply using all available transport whether yours or the enemies.

    There seem to be many "war" films where the use of vehicles or uniforms have been adopted by one side to fool the other.
    Either get back to a civilised discussion or lose the thread, it's starting to degenerate as the point of the post is unclear.
    Slipdigit likes this.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Afrika Korps insignia, WH number plate a HUGE cross.
    Can't see what else could be done to make it look any more German .

    Attached Files:

    Slipdigit likes this.
  3. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Utter nonsense. You are just trolling now.

    All the best

  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Of course, Montgomery's caravans were also spoils of war, so it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. At least he got a bit more use out of them...
  5. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Speaking of which, I don't think those were properly marked either. So maybe if Monty and Rommel had crashed into each other at Piccadilly Circus (the one in the desert), they could have done a Mexican standoff, yelling madly at each other 'I'm going to shoot you, bloody spy'.

    That would have been awesome.

    All the best

  6. tmac

    tmac Senior Member Patron

    During the Normandy campaign, Air Vice Marshal Harry Broadhurst flew around in a captured German Fieseler Storch plane, repainted with British markings.

    I’ve told earlier on WW2 Talk how in July 1944 the Storch was spotted by members of my late father’s unit, 92nd LAA, and almost shot down.

    AA gunners were taught aircraft recognition in part by identifying silhouettes and distinctive shapes of enemy aircraft. Often, it was a matter of making split-second decisions.

    Believing the Storch to be German, the 92nd LAA men prepared to open fire with their Bofors guns. Then Bombardier Ronald Prince recalled that Broadhurst was known to be using a captured plane for his sorties.

    He successfully pleaded with the gunners to spare the little aircraft and it moved safely out of range.

    Bombardier Prince told me the story in 1992 and details were sketchy. But I’m sure the incident happened as he described.
  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Any rants "about lawyers" were purely meant in fun I'm sure ;)

    But I'll also admit to being rather confused by the title there: "Dressing up as the enemy" is the title but I didn't see Rommel's actions in the desert as being quite equivalent to post #1 : "but apparently wearing a enemy uniform and driving a enemy vehicle in enemy territory could get you shot eg the Americans shot some Germans pretending to be American during the Battle of the Bulge." since as I said he seemed to have carried German insignia there. Whereas the Germans shot at the Bulge were doing something very different, even carrying false papers, speaking English etc.

    I read also the old thread in post#3, which might have put a "slight kink in the response" into some of my text :)

    As regards "too much schnapps being partaken" if it was I? I was thinking I guess of that pub drinking tradition of discussing things over a pint at the end of a very, long day - and going "OTT" only I chose schapps as I plucked it out of thin air for "Geneva". I almost said "Gin" but I thought that was a stretch in logic a bit too far for my point to come across.

    I'd like to get back onto a point though, I think if this is all about "should Rommel have been shot" or something like that, I think it's probably been answered though and things moved on a bit from there. He was shot at quite a bit though during and subsequently wasn't he, but wouldn't have been "shot" after capture I think (?) was the point. He shot himself on Hitler's order I think? Perhaps Hitler did this because Rommel broke the rules of war?

    I don't know where this will go next, or if I'll stick along (I hope I do), but I'm not sure if I am thinking "wheee can we go faster" or if "I'm feeling sick yet and want to get off..."

    I think it's been fairly civilised though, though often close to the point where the point of the post was unclear.

    (I have noticed though sometimes to get a topic started and raise interest in it people ask questions that are more likely to catch the eye :biggrin: ) - and sometimes there's a great benefit in this.

    All the best, :salut:

  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    As regards war materiel,all adversaries used captured booty and used it to its maximum worth.

    When Hitler invaded Russia,apart from German manufactured equipment,German forces used captured equipment from their victories in the west.They also had the output from the Czechoslovakian Skoda armament factories (must have been one of largest armament companies in Europe) plus the Czech army equipment captured when they wholly annexed the country in March 1939.

    (Interesting to note that the Germans were never were able to successfully motorise their military transport.....as at the start of the war and the end they depended to a large extent on horse drawn transport..as the Falaise Gap closure clearly shows.The responsibility for this, according to some German generals was Keitel.I suppose Keitel's defence was "I was never allowed to make decisions,the Fuehrer reserved that right to himself even in seemingly trivial matters")

    There is always a disadvantage in this policy but the risk is accepted and that is the availability of spares....usually from breakdowns,leading to lack of availability of the equipment.For the capital equipment items I would say that it was not worthwhile to tool up and utilise valuable manufacturing resources for ad hoc spares.

    Dressing up as the enemy,ie,wearing the uniform of an adversary has no legal protection as is the practice of wearing mufti and being engaged in operations against an enemy.A good example of legalising those in mufti was in the invasion of France.From the creation of the FFI,those involved in operations (such as the resistance in its many facets) against the Germans were converted to regular forces by the donning of FFI armbands which meant that if taken prisoner would receive the protection as POWs....whether they were recognised as regular forces when captured and received POW status is a different matter.


    What is the background to your photograph?.....location France or perhaps Walloon.....Gestapo local office?..surprised that the office is identified as such.
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    click the link, it's UK based training area
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Sorry Owen I cannot pick up the link..........a little problem I am hoping to resolve.

    Thought it was strange that the "office" was identified.
  12. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Especially since the 'Ge' in Gestapo stands for 'Geheim', or secret. :p

    All the best

  13. Richard G

    Richard G Junior Member

    'dressing up' was a poor choice in the title but seeing that the OP was all about a vehicle then it should have been clear what I was on about. I'm going to keep on trolling ;) and suggest that from the air or a distance the Rommelmobile lacked clear identification and you can bet that the old swastika flag was rolled out when it suited for self protection. The vehicle was big and flat sided enough to bear some huge ID, like the Italian tanks marked with a large white kangaroo on each side.

    Anyway, it's all moot, no one was going to shoot Rommel.
  14. paulieb

    paulieb Member

    WRT North Africa, the man who founded the SIG made an escape shortly after being captured & managed to pass through enemy lines without being challenged. He attributed this to the fact that the uniforms of all the combatants were nondescript enough to be mistaken for one another under the correct circumstances.

    The SIG however went on to use Afrika Korps uniforms, weapons & vehicles for their operations behind the lines.
  15. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I would say that every successful Allied POW escapee from Germany,achieved it by wearing mufti and most likely posed such as a commercial traveller or in the guise of a guest worker,(ie a worker who had volunteered for work in Germany as national of an occupied country as oppposed to a forced labourer) backed up by the appropriate false ID and documentation authorising travel.

    An advantage obviously was possessing some expertise in speaking German but this may have be excused while posing as a foreign worker but posing as a German citizen without the expertise of being able to speak the language fluently would result in an escapee being soon be caught.

    I think the ability to be mental alert...able to think on the hoof was an asset which would increase the likelihood of a successful escape.

    Remember the account of an escapee who had all his false documentation,bought his railway ticket then while waiting for the train saw the security police enter the platform to check passengers,presumably checking for escapees.Without being noticed he quickly went in the toilets and pretended to be a cleaner.The police came into the toilets and saw a worker cleaning lamps....he used an handkerchief and the police gave him no more than a glance.....later he caught his train....cannot think of the reference

    Owen..have the link successfully.I wonder if the training area was a location such as Imber which was requisitioned by the War Office for training needs.....saw the reversed swastika as someone had already commented one.The propaganda portrayed on the car Vache Merde Laval ( cow shit Laval) perhaps should read Merde Vache Laval.
  16. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    "Ice Cold in Alex" was on UK television the other day

    Similar threads:


    And: "Having become friends with Van der Poel and indebted to him for saving the group's lives, Anson tells him that if he gives his real name, he will be treated as a POW rather than as a spy (which would mean execution by firing squad).

    Lutz, after saying his farewells and concluding that they were "all against the desert, the greater enemy", is driven away, with a new respect for the British.

    Great film. Not sure if in the US they still watch the version that's apparently 54 mins shorter than ours and is called "Desert Attack"


    I don't know if anyone has read the novel? on which the film was based?

    Or if it goes much into the technicalities of "Dressing up as the Enemy" during the desert war?

    But the film seems to lay out some rules and "Van der Poel" seemed to have "got away with it" ;)


    There's this User review in the above:

    "I must confess to being biased towards this film, as I am a grandson of the author and screenwriter. It is extremely pleasing to read that this film has given a lot of pleasure to many who have seen it. Why I think the film succeeds is because it was written by a man who took part in the North African campaign, as a doctor in the RAMC, who had to deal with the human cost of war. People, and how they cope with adversity, is often more interesting than depicting warfare itself. This makes it an unusual war film for the time, to say the least. The character of Captain Anson, so ably played by John Mills, is telling for me as my grandfather sadly did have an alcohol problem later in life. On a lighter note, the terrific final scene in the bar has an amusing story attached to it - apparently, the scene had to be shot five or six times, and as nothing else looked like beer in a glass than, well, beer, poor John Mills had to keep knocking back the beers until the scene was "in the can"!"

    And much of it was autobiographical. Not sure if anyone knows what became of the real "Van der Poel" though?

    All the best,

  17. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    That final scene where John Mills was knocking back a lager/pilsner in a Tuborg glass was amusing.Can't imagine anybody going through a ritual inspection of the contents of the glass and resisting the urge to drink it in one given the experience that the Mill's character had endured..

    The other point is was the availability of Tuborg during wartime.Denmark was an occupied country at the time and it would be doubtful if Tuborg was available in Egypt unless it was some other lager in a Tuborg glass.

    The Desert War....history does not record any excesses and to all intent and purposes it may be described as a "fair" war....probably the only campaign in which the SS did not have a presence.

    The film...always enjoyable to watch.
  18. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I think I read somewhere - probably on the wiki - that originally they were going to use an American beer named "Rheingold"


    i.e. : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rheingold_Beer#In_print

    However since the beer's named sounded "too Germanic" and this might have been "confusing" i.e. to the audiences watching them - they changed it to an allied made larger Carlsberg instead - and so an advertisers dream was "made" and the rivalry between Holstein and Carlsberg was "stoked" ;)

    If they were to remake the film, I wonder if the process of which beer they would drink at the end would be fraught.

    "Dressing up as the enemy" there might be apt though with budgets these days I could imagine it coming down to a bidding war between diet pepsi and coke!* Given that he was a "recovering" alcoholic it always seemed that his drinking a non-alcoholic drink at the end of it all would have suited the end more - especially since the enemy (to him) had partly been alcohol, and he'd beaten that "demon" up to that point.

    * i.e. if they were to remake it in a more "modern era" in Iraq, Afganistan, or some other "desert war" perhaps.
  19. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Not quite correct. There were claims that the Germans shot prisoners of the 1 Army Tank Brigade L.R.S. See here:


    I don't think there is a lot of evidence for it, but it's recorded.

    All the best


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