One of the objectives of the Dieppe Raid in August 1942 was to discover the importance and performance capability of a German radar station on the cliff-top to the east of the French town of Pourville. To achieve this, RAF Flight Sergeant Jack Nissenthall, a radar specialist, was attached to the South Saskatchewan Regiment. He was to attempt to enter the radar station and learn its secrets, accompanied by a small unit of 11 men of the Saskatchewans as bodyguards. Nissenthall volunteered for the mission fully aware that, due to the highly sensitive nature of his knowledge of Allied radar technology, his Saskatchewan bodyguard unit were under orders to kill him if necessary to prevent him being captured. He also carried a cyanide pill as a last resort.
but why not broaden its issuance to all front-line soldiers? In a dilemma of life or painful death, soldiers ought be able to choose to live or painlessly die.
A counterargument is possible misuse of suicide pills e.g. due to mental illness. Yet this counterargument doesn't convince; it hasn't stopped militaries from issuing suicide pills to current recipients. One would have to prove that current recipients are less likely to misuse them than the set of all front-line soldiers.
Suicide with a pill looks less painful than how soldiers (across aeons) have been mutilated before dying:
Major Bernard Ntuyahaga was convicted of the murders in 2007. In his book, Me Against My Brother, Scott Peterson describes the barbaric details of their murders:
Their Achilles tendons were cut so they couldn't run, and the Belgian soldiers were castrated and died choking on their genitalia.
Lest we forget Ralph Anthony "Iggy" Ignatowski, KIA at 18 years old:
Other eyewitness reports further indicated that Ignatowski had been tortured in the cave by the Japanese for three days, during which time they also cut out his eyes, cut off his ears, smashed in his teeth and skull. He had several wounds to his stomach, which had been repeatedly stabbed with a bayonet. As a final insult, his genitalia had been severed and stuffed into his mouth.