VC winner branded 'war criminal' - wore a German paratrooper's smock to dupe snipers

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by Jim Clay, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. Jim Clay

    Jim Clay Member

    This morning's online Telegraph contains the following item about NZ VC winner Sgt A C Hulme - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/04/10/wvc10.xml&DCMP=EMC-new_10042006

    The authors of a new book suggest that Sgt Hulme's ruse of donning a German para's smock to dupe German snipers was "an act of perfidy under international law", and another NZ academic suggests that Sgt Hulme's actions (killing enemy soldiers while wearing their uniform) were "prima facie a war crime".

    Do Forum members believe that Sgt Hulme's disguise was an acceptable action in war? Or is it unarguably against the rules of war?

    Do they agree the NZ Govt should now apologise for Sgt Hulme's actions?

    Either way, do they agree with his daughter's statement that accusing him of war crimes was "a terrible thing to bring up".

    Jim
     
  2. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    What absolute tripe (i would normally use bad language here, but I'm on remand). So he wore a german smock and whacked a few enemy in return without getting his own brains blown out. War ain't nice, and he played by the rules of the battlefield. Good forhim.
    I know if i was in the midst of a battle i'd rather have someone like him watching my back than some prissy little corporal with the Genevea conventions in his hand.
    And if apologies are being given out, can germany pelase apologise for shooting half of my uncle's face off at Arnhem before he had even hit the ground?
    Mind you, look what our government does to our squaddies who give looters the smacking they deserve in Iraq. PC has gone mad.
    I shall now go away and sit in a darkened room until i calm down again.
    Kitty
     
  3. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    This morning's online Telegraph contains the following item about NZ VC winner Sgt A C Hulme - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/04/10/wvc10.xml&DCMP=EMC-new_10042006

    The authors of a new book suggest that Sgt Hulme's ruse of donning a German para's smock to dupe German snipers was "an act of perfidy under international law", and another NZ academic suggests that Sgt Hulme's actions (killing enemy soldiers while wearing their uniform) were "prima facie a war crime".

    Do Forum members believe that Sgt Hulme's disguise was an acceptable action in war? Or is it unarguably against the rules of war?

    Do they agree the NZ Govt should now apologise for Sgt Hulme's actions?

    Either way, do they agree with his daughter's statement that accusing him of war crimes was "a terrible thing to bring up".

    Jim

    neither he nor the NZ govt have anything to apologise about. he was a man under fire and reacted in the best way he could think of in the situation.

    if you look at photos of men taken in north africa, then you will see men on both sides wearing parts of each others uniforms. Does his make them War crimminals?

    Also, what about the forces that used each others captured equipment?
     
  4. plant-pilot

    plant-pilot Senior Member

    By the very letter of the law what he did can be called 'deception' which is against the Geneva conventions, in reality what he probably though he was doing was using a ruse, which is not against the conventions. Faced with a serious threat of snipers he chose on the spot to go against them alone, out numbered with only a little of a ruse to even up the chances. A very brave thing to do. If it wasn't then he wouldn't have got the VC.

    It's very easy for academics to sit safe at their desks 60 years on and miles from any battlefield, and sift through history in order to find some contention with which to make their names by making sensation where there is none. They shouldn't dirty the name of a brave man who is no longer here to defend himself. They should leave that to the tabloid press.

    Let's not forget a few things. If he had been caught he would have been shot on the spot. In the some parts of the war the Germans used whole units of english speaking soldiers dressed as american MPs to decieve and confuse. It would have been simpler, and much more probable today for an air strike to be called in and the entire area suspected of hiding snipers to be laid flat, with rank disregard for the enemy, property or the environment, and likely not to leave any enemy remains to bury. Perfectly legal, but any more or less a 'crime'?
     
  5. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Total war is what it means - TOTAL WAR.
     
  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    Agreed Gage. He was being resourceful, why should that be punished. It was a kill or be killed world and he was maximising his chances of surviving, so it was being sneaky, but that is how wars are won, by those who have surprise and catch the enemy unawares which is what he was doing. No he should not and the NZ government shouldn't have to apologise.
     
  7. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Half the British army would be classed as war criminals if this is the case. In 1944 after several unpleasant actions, e.g blowing up innocent women and children, or finding comrades with their hands bound with barbed wire and their throats cut, any and all Germans wearing the black ss uniform were never given the opportunity to surrender, Whermacht were given one offer. if it was not taken, they reaped the consequences.
     
  8. Story

    Story Member

    Perhaps someone should invite Harper to explain himself?

    http://www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/departments/index.cfm?P=8899
    Associate Professor Glyn Harper
    Director
    Centre for Defence Studies / Military Studies Institute
    Massey University
    Website

    Specialities:

    Australian and New Zealand military history
    Peacekeeping
    The theory and practice of command
    The Great War
    Email: g.j.harper@massey.ac.nz
    Physical: Old Building, Tennent Drive, Palmerston North Campus
    Postal: Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North, New Zealand
    Phone: +64 6 350 5456
    Fax: +64 9 350 5676
     
  9. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    just e=mailed him, I await a reply!!
     
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I too have emailed him.
    I expect nothing in my "IN" box from him.
    If I do I will post it here.
     
  11. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I too have emailed him.
    I expect nothing in my "IN" box from him.
    If I do I will post it here.

    Be interesting. Await developments.:icon_sleepy: Could be a long wait.
     
  12. Marina

    Marina Senior Member

    He must have saved dozens of Allied lives by taking out those snipers. He deserved his VC
     
  13. adrian roberts

    adrian roberts Senior Member

    The current government of New Zealand has a reputation for extreme political correctness. They have virtually disbanded their armed forces. Anything connected with them is considered ideologically unsound. The concept of heroism is completely alien to them.

    If you apply the letter of the law to the what Hulme did it could possibly be labelled deception, but he saved the lives of countless of his comrades while putting his own at extreme risk.

    Adrian
     
  14. jimbotosome

    jimbotosome Discharged

    Concerning the original issue, I do beleive it qualifies for a spy. I don't say there is anything wrong with espionage or guise in warfare but if you take the chance you are subject to the results. It is highly exploitive to disguise one's self as the enemy. If you do it you assume the consequences. I would only think it a dishonor if he himself had thought it unjust to be treated as a spy had he have been caught. If it was a matter of, I took my chances, I paid the price, then to me he would have died a hero and the enemy did no wrong in executing him. It's certainly no worse than putting grenades under a dead Allied soldier so when his buddies claim his body then they get a surprize.

    The Germans did the same things to the US at Bastone, dressing up in American soldier uniforms. We executed them as we should as well. Those are the rules and both sides know it. But it is not an act of cowardice, in fact if anything it is pretty daring if you ask me. I wouldn't have had the guts to do it. But if I did, I would expect execution or I would think the enemy does not give a crap about their own men if they didn't. By the same token should the German government apologize to the people that died at Bastone for their act? I think it's ridiculous.

    Take it a step further. Does hiding a tank in a barn that looks docile and peaceful as the enemy is approaching a purfidity? It is just as deceptive. What is more docile than a tree holding a sniper? Is he not even more hidden? Should you say, we can't allow the snipers to hide because it betrays the principle of fair fighting?

    If I am not mistaken the Germans were uninvited at Crete right? I think the NZ government should bend over and ask Peter Wills to kiss their patootee rather than apologize for fighting with whatever they had. That would make a good smilie, though I think it might get overused on this site!

    I say keep the cross for his creativity if nothing else. You have to admit it was pretty clever. It's war folks. Its not for making friends.
     
  15. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    Sounds like they have that disease called liberalism in NZ as well. I say Cheers, good for him, outsmart the enemy but he took an awful chance of catching friendly fire.
     
  16. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    The current government of New Zealand has a reputation for extreme political correctness. They have virtually disbanded their armed forces. Anything connected with them is considered ideologically unsound. The concept of heroism is completely alien to them.


    Big mistake, distances are smaller these days, not bright to not have a big stick. Shows you how apathy will let the bastards take over.
     
  17. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Email from Glyn Harper recieved today.

    "Dear Owen,

    Don't believe all you read in the newspapers. We never called Sgt Hulme a
    war criminall at all in our book which I suggest you read.

    Regards
    Glyn Harper"

    So...........was it all a marketing ploy by the publishers?
    Even so it still sullies Sgt Hulme VC 's name.
     
  18. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    This morning's online Telegraph contains the following item about NZ VC winner Sgt A C Hulme - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/04/10/wvc10.xml&DCMP=EMC-new_10042006

    The authors of a new book suggest that Sgt Hulme's ruse of donning a German para's smock to dupe German snipers was "an act of perfidy under international law", and another NZ academic suggests that Sgt Hulme's actions (killing enemy soldiers while wearing their uniform) were "prima facie a war crime".

    Do Forum members believe that Sgt Hulme's disguise was an acceptable action in war? Or is it unarguably against the rules of war?

    Do they agree the NZ Govt should now apologise for Sgt Hulme's actions?

    Either way, do they agree with his daughter's statement that accusing him of war crimes was "a terrible thing to bring up".

    Jim

    :mad111: :mad111: :mad111:

    Academics!!! These people prove my point about some educated imbeciles.
     
  19. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    Sgt Hulme was a brave man who deserved his VC & does not deserve to be called a war criminal by people trying to sell books (or by anybody else for that matter).
     
  20. smc

    smc Member

    Time to play devil's advocate here.

    I think some of you should re-read the article before jerking that knee into action. It is the guy who is director of peace studies who is making all the claims not Harper. All the author is saying is that Hulme was on dodgy ground re the Geneva Convention when he did what he did - see Jimbotosome's story about the germans at Bastone for a similar occurence. You have to remember that by and large the Western theatre still held and expected both sides to abide by some of the Geneva Convention, it was in the east where it was totally ignored. Furthermore, you are relying on a couple of newspaper articles to bring you the story both of which probably have an axe to grind against PC or those of a 'liberal' disposition and as someone has alluded you have publishers trying to sell the book. In my mind until I actually see a copy of that book I'm not going to react the way certain sections of the media are looking for people to react.

    I see nobody has picked up that Harper holds the rank of Lt Colonel and is part employed by the army's Military Studies Institute.
     

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