Infantry Drills

FM 3-21.8 – Chapter 6 – Section V – Enemy Prisoners of Wars and Detained Persons

Section V – Enemy Prisoners of Wars and Detained Persons

6-68.     Enemy prisoners of war (EPW) and captured enemy equipment or materiel often provide excellent combat information. This information is of tactical value only if the platoon processes and evacuates prisoners and materiel to the rear quickly. In any tactical situation, the platoon will have specific procedures and guidelines for handling prisoners and captured materiel.

6-69.     All persons captured, personnel detained or retained by U.S. Armed Forces during the course of military operations, are considered “detained” persons until their status is determined by higher military and civilian authorities.  The BCT has an organic military police platoon organic to the BSTB to take control of and evacuate detainees (Figure 6-6). However, as a practical matter, when Infantry squads, platoons, companies, and battalions capture enemy personnel, they must provide the initial processing and holding for detainees.  Detainee handling is a resource intensive and politically sensitive operation that requires detailed training, guidance, and supervision.



Figure 6-6. Detainee handling.

6-70.     All detained persons shall be immediately given humanitarian care and treatment.  U.S. Armed Forces will never torture, maltreat, or purposely place detained persons in positions of danger.  There is never a military necessity exception to violate these principles.

6-71.     Field processing of detainees is always handled IAW the 5 Ss and T method:

– Search: Confiscate weapons and items of intelligence value or items that might assist the detainee to escape. Let the detainee keep protective clothing, equipment, identification and personal items.  All confiscated items must be tagged.

– Silence: Direct the detainees not to talk, or make facial or hand gestures.  They may be gagged.

– Segregate: Leaders are separated from the rest of the population. Separate hostile elements such as religious, political, or ethnic groups.  Separate women and minors from adult male detainees.

– Safeguard: Ensure detainees are provided adequate food, potable water, clothing, shelter, medical attention, and that they not exposed to unnecessary danger.  Do not use coercion to obtain information.  Immediately report allegations of abuse through command channels.

– Speed to a safe area/rear: Evacuate detainees from the battlefield to a holding area or facility as soon as possible. Transfer captured documents and other property to the forces assuming responsibility for the detainees.

– Tag: Before evacuating an EPW detainee, he must be tagged with Department of the Defense (DD) Form 2745, Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) Capture Tag (Part A) (Figure 6-7), or by field expedient means. Field expedient means should include tagging with date and time of capture, location of capture, capturing unit, and circumstances of capture. DD Form 2745, Unit Record Card(Part B), is the unit record copy (Figure 6-8). DD Form 2745, Document/Special Equipment Weapons Card (Part C), is for the detainee’s confiscated property (Figure 6-9). Tagging is critical. If it does not happen the ability of higher headquarters to quickly obtain pertinent tactical information is greatly reduced.

6-72.     Detainees should be evacuated as soon as is practical to the BCT detainee collection point.  Tactical questioning of detainees is allowed relative to collection of CCIR.  However, detainees must always be treated IAW the U.S. Law of War Policy as set forth in the Department of Defense Directive 2311.01E, DoD Law of War Program.

6-73.     Soldiers capturing equipment, documents, and detainees should tag them using DD Form 2745, Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) Capture Tag, take digital pictures, and report the capture immediately. Detainees are allowed to keep protective equipment such as protective masks. Other captured military equipment and detainee personal effects are inventoried on DA Form 4137,Evidence/Property Custody Document.  Soldiers then coordinate with the platoon and company headquarters to link up and turn the documents and prisoners over to designated individuals.

6-74.     In addition to initial processing, the capturing element provides guards and transportation to move prisoners to the designated EPW collection points. The capturing element normally carries prisoners on vehicles already heading toward the rear, such as tactical vehicles returning from LOGPAC operations. The capturing element must also feed, provide medical treatment, and safeguard EPWs until they reach the collection point.

6-75.     Once EPWs arrive at the collection point, the platoon sergeant assumes responsibility for them. He provides for security and transports them to the company EPW collection point. He uses available personnel as guards, including walking wounded or Soldiers moving to the rear for reassignment.


Figure 6-7. DA Form 2745, enemy prisoner of war (EPW) capture tag (part A).

Figure 6-8. DD 2745, unit record card (part B).

Figure 6-9. DD 2745, document/special equipment weapons card (part C).

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