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.