German desertion rate...

German Veterans, vet accounts, MIA searches, KIA info, and on relatives who served.

Moderator: Tom Houlihan

Post Reply
User avatar
L. Kafka
Posts: 523
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2002 1:52 pm
Location: Vancouver, Washington USA

German desertion rate...

Post by L. Kafka » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:33 pm

It's not often talked about in the U.S., but the number of GIs that deserted or were missing in movement number in the tens of thousands. (Anyone know the numbers on this?) How about in the German military? Were there many in-country desertions as well as desertions outside of Germany? Also, missing in movement: were there many that failed to show up for unit assignments? My guess is that there were many.
"What are they going to do, send me to Vietnam?"
A oft heard GI refrain in Vietnam in '68.

User avatar
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:25 pm
Location: Deutschland - Köln

Re: German desertion rate...

Post by fridgeman » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:12 pm

There were 300.000-400.000 deserters in the german army, with a total of 18.000.000
soldiers this means a rate of ~2%. For example the US army today has a rate of about 0,25%,
and they had about 3,5% during the vietnam war (more soldiers needed to fight in dangerous warzones
and many were conscripts).

In WW2, the german army sentenced about 35.000 soldiers because of desertion to death, ~ 20.000
were not given pardon and they were executed. The ones who were given pardon very often ended
in so called "Strafbatallion/-kompanie (Punishment-platoon), doing suicidal missions on the eastern front,
that came close to another sentence to death.
As a comparison, the US army sentenced only 1 deserter to death for desertion.
The british and french together sentenced less than 50 soldiers to death for desertion.
The number of soldiers executed by the soviet army for desertion reaches from 100.000 to 150.000.

Posts: 163
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:46 pm

Re: German desertion rate...

Post by ljadw » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:20 am

There were between 1 january 1940 and 31 march 1942 1299 death sentences for desertion .
Death sentences (not executions :wink: ) for all reasons:
september 39-september 40:519
40-41: 447
43-44: 4118
+206 executions between october-december 1944
Other statistics (till mid-1944)
capital punishment: 11664
penal servitude : 23164
imprisonment for more than 1 year: 84346
6 months to one year:84393
less than 6 months: 232259

Ronald Lameck
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:46 am

Re: German desertion rate...

Post by Ronald Lameck » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:31 am

U.S. Army E.T.O. desertion was such that, by Jan. 1945, when Pvt. Slovik was shot for desertion, the command spoke of "The Lost Division" of more than 19,000 "missing." Some of these men were located years later doing such things as living as farmers in France, etc. I read a lengthy article on this subject, and have strained my brain without success to find this source to cite herein. I do know that Charles MacDonald wrote a bit about it in one of his books.

Post Reply