103d INFANTRY DIVISION WORLD WAR II ASSOCIATION
10d Infantry Division History: World War II
Prisoners of War
The best known German prisoner of war camps were Stalags or Oflags. By its name, it is obvious that Oflags were for officers only, whereas Stalags housed both officers and enlisted.
Most prisoners were processed in Dulags, which were transit camps where captured prisoners were interrogated and processed.
After passing through the Dulag, POWs would then proceed, normally by train, to a Stalag or Oflag. The travel time was determined by how far the train had to go and the delays caused by having to pull over and allow for passage of troop trains, which took priority. Bodily functions were accommodated on brief stops where POWs were told to get out of the train and relieve themselves or defecate by the side of the track.
Although the layout of each camp varied, all were surrounded with barbed wire and the standard guard towers, complete with armed German guards. Rest assured, the guards were there to ensure no one escaped, even if this meant shooting all who might try. POW barracks were generally one story wooden buildings which contained bunk beds stacked three high and a stove in the middle of the room. Most of the stoves used charcoal for heat.
There were generally two meals a day which consisted of a thin soup and black bread. Breakfast may have consisted of bread, jam, and coffee. Hunger stalked the POW on a daily basis. One bright spot was the delivery of the Red Cross packages, which contained things like butter, bread, chocolate, condensed milk, dried fruits and vegetables. Yankee ingenuity would take over and POWs would make their own stoves and cook food in empty tins.
From camp to camp, the daily routine for POWs varied, but generally all prisoners were expected to fall out at least once a day for roll call. Some POWs worked at jobs in the camp, others were sent out to local venues to work. Weather permitting, POWs played a number of different sports, but for the most part, daily life of a POW was filled with boredom, dreams of getting out and going home, and hunger.
All in all, the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) had a total of 356 men captured by the Germans during the six month period engaged in combat.
For a complete list of those killed in action (KIA), wounded, or captured during combat operations, their unit, and place of enlistment, CLICK HERE.
103d Infantry Division WWII POW List
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