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This is the forum for Movie and Film discussions. Again, our topic is naval warfare in WWII for the most part. 
Re: U-156 & Red Cross
Date: September 04, 2009 04:26PM

Is a warship immune from attack when it is engaged in an at-sea rescue operation?

Indeed that is my point.

Let's have a look at the law:

Manual of the Laws of Naval War. Oxford, 9 August 1913, would be a reference



Art. 2. War-ships. Constituting part of the armed force of a belligerent State and, therefore, subject as such to the laws of naval warfare are:

(1)All ships belonging to the State which, under the direction of a military commander and manned by a military crew, carry legally the ensign and the pendant of the national navy.

Addressee of this law is not the warship by its own but the crew of the ship; “under the direction of a military commander...........” U 156 was, clearly visible, for the enemy on a rescue mission thus on the time of attack by the fighter plane not on a combat mission to attack, as a matter of fact, because of said people on board objectively in no condition to conduct any combat mission against the enemy. Subjectively the skipper of U 156 did not intent any military/combat action with these people on board, something the fighter-pilot had figured out too, otherwise he wouldn't have contact his control center.

In the ECK-Case it was the commander Eck who had to stand trial and not his boat.

"Art. 25.
and other places where the sick and wounded are gathered, provided that such buildings, objectives and places are not being used at the same time for military purposes. Such monuments, objects and places must be indicated, during the day, by signs visible from the aircraft. Using such signs to indicate buildings, objects or places other than ….........”

U 156 can be subsumized at time of action as “other places......” And this place was indicating” signs visible from the aircraft.

In other words the law which seems to apply to the element of the case has to be construed as to the specific facts/elements of the single case. So I don't need a treaty or a law to dissent from your point of view.

Legally speaking, basically one could indeed argue with the people on board U 156 was an accessory to an attempt the POW could escape thus might legitimately be attacked by aircraft. But the intent of the skipper was not to help the POW to escape but simply to survive after their ship was sunk. This intent becomes also clear by the fact he had not only POW s on board but enemy personnel as well.

You all have a nice day.
Sincerely Yours

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