When POWs were captured, they were either executed, exchanged, put into slavery or sometimes incorporated into the enemy army. I'm trying to find a few examples (3 would do) of the last category. Would their loyalty an issue in such a case?

  • Quite a few recently conquered German tribes (Gepids, Franks, Ostrogoths) were in Attila's army at Orleans. They didn't really have the concept of a POW in ancient times though.
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 7, 2021 at 15:52
  • 1
    @T.E.D. The treatment of POWs has been a major point in Islamic jurisprudence for a very long time, to quote just one example
    – Daud
    Apr 7, 2021 at 17:28
  • Look up the possible story of Yang Kyoungjong , he was Korean and served in the Japanese army, was captured then fought for the Soviet union and then was captured again by the germans and fought for them till he was captured by the allies.
    – ed.hank
    Apr 7, 2021 at 22:08

3 Answers 3


During WW2 you had:

  1. Russian Liberation Army. These soldiers fought for the Germans and consisted out of former POWs.
  2. British Free Corps. These fought also on the side of the Germans and partialy consisted out of British POWs and volunteers.
  3. National Committee for Free Germany. While technically not an army, but you may consider their efforts an attempt to destabilize the enemy army. Essentially it was a group of communist and POWs that took efforts to bring their ideals to the German front.
  • Thanks. If possible, can you add an example from pre-19th century?
    – Daud
    Apr 7, 2021 at 9:54
  • 1
    @Daud - There wasn't even the really the concept of a POW until the late 1600's, so "pre-19th Century" cuts it down to only about 1/3rd of its possible history to draw from.
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 7, 2021 at 15:46
  • Vlasov's Russian Liberation Army was not allowed to fight till the very end of the war. They were used as noncombatant help forces mostly.
    – Gangnus
    Apr 9, 2021 at 21:11

In the American Civil War, both sides recruited from their POWs. Most entered US service and smaller number of Union POWs entered Confederate service. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanized_Yankees


In the Russian Civil war of 1918-21, the incorporation of prisoners was so standard operation that some people changed sides many times. They had to choose from being shot or dying from starvation in the camp, against maybe remaining alive by means of "voluntary" incorporation. Such mass incorporations happened practically after every battle. Not three examples, but millions of them.

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