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I remember reading that Hitler had a standing order in place that if anyone should capture Clark Gable, who was flying in bomber crews over Germany, that Gable must NOT be harmed and must be brought to Hitler. Apparently, Hitler was fascinated by Gable's ears and thought they were an important proof of some of his racial theories or something along that line.

That got me wondering about other standing orders that might have been in effect in WW II on all sides of the conflict. I'm especially interested in knowing if there were any standing orders on what was to be done if one side happened to capture one of the enemy's top people. For instance, did the Red Army have instructions for what to do if they happened to catch Hitler sneaking out of Berlin in April 1945? Did the Wehrmacht have instructions for what to do if Stalin or Molotov were captured when they were on the outskirts of Moscow late in 1941? Etc. etc. Is anyone aware of what would have happened in those situations?

I'm guessing that there really weren't any specific standing orders as such and that it was more a matter of all combatants having learned in their basic training that if something unusual happened, report to an officer rather than acting on your own initiative. If that officer didn't know what to do, he would know to pass the question on up the chain of command.

Then again, some armies gave their men a lot more room for initiative than others. For instance, I understand that the Germans had more freedom to take initiatives than their Soviet counterparts. Perhaps a German encountering Stalin would simply shoot him without reference to his officers while a Soviet soldier might have to pass the question of what to do with Hitler right up to Stalin himself.

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    This would benefit from displaying prior research and focus. Cut out Molotow and friend, work Mr Gable and claims into the question. The last paragraph seems redundant? – LаngLаngС Feb 11 at 21:18
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    What is the question? – Mark C. Wallace Feb 12 at 11:21
  • @LangLangC: Yes, I suppose the last paragraph is redundant. I was "thinking out loud" at that point ;-) As for Gable, he was just my starting point: a real life example of someone who apparently had a standing order about him. That got me wondering what would have happened if various top people had been observed by opposing armies. Would the enemy leaders have been shot or captured? – Henry Feb 15 at 22:43
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    @Henry It's quite the lot here. Please edit this into shape. Might be an interesting Q, but is certainly a bit unclear now and going by your comment it will be quite broad? (Prob OK with me, but risky in community reviews) As long as you make assertions, please reference them. As starting points, perhaps en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_order histclo.com/essay/war/swc/force/wehr/wehr-order.html (or your Gable thing?) – LаngLаngС Feb 15 at 22:51
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    Please edit the question to clarify. And avoid counterfactuals – Mark C. Wallace Feb 15 at 23:19

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