Sperrle Order for Immediate Reprisals

On 3/02/1944, German General Field Marshall Hugo Sperrle issued an order which stated that, if partisans attacked the German army, drastic counter measures could be taken immediately by the commanding officer.

After the war, the SS claimed that the Sperrle Order was the authority for Major Adolf Diekmann's command to destroy the village of Oradour-sur-Glane after SS soldiers were fired upon and the bodies of executed German soldiers and weapons were allegedly found in the village.

The Sperrle Order:

i.) We (German Armed Forces) are not in the occupied western territories to allow our troops to be shot at and abducted by saboteurs who go unpunished. The countermeasures up to now, despite undenied successes, will not alter the situation substantially if immediate self protection is not undertaken in instances where we are attacked or presented with insubordination.
ii.) If troops are attacked in any manner, their commander is obliged to take his own countermeasures immediately, these include:
iii.) There is to be an immediate return of fire. If innocent persons are hit this is regrettable but entirely the fault of the terrorists. The surroundings of any such incident are to be sealed off immediately and all the civilians in the locality, regardless of rank and person are to be taken into custody. Houses from which shots have been fired are to be burnt down on the spot. A report will not be made until these or similar immediate steps have been taken.
iv.) In the judgement of the actions of troop commanders, the decisiveness and speed with which they act are to be regarded as the primary aspects. A slack and indecisive troop commander deserves to be severely punished because he endangers the lives of the troops under his command and produces a lack of respect for the German armed forces.
Measures that are regarded subsequently as too severe, cannot in view of the present situation, provide reason for punishment.