Friendly artillery fire or air strikes may give you a
Wear as few clothes as possible. Save your shoes,
chance to escape. The first guards you will have are not
underwear, shirts, jacket, and any other items of clothing
as well trained in handling prisoners as the guards that
that protect you from the elements when you begin your
are farther back from the front lines. Some of the
first-line guards may even be walking wounded and
Save any nonperishable foods you receive from the
distracted by their own physical condition. You know
Red Cross or your captors. Candy, for example, comes
something about the terrain where you are captured, and
in handy as a quick source of energy when you are
you know the approximate location of friendly units.
traveling. If you do not receive candy, save each issue
Several days later and many miles away, you may be in
of sugar given you by the enemy. When you get enough,
boil it down into hard candy. SAVE it until you buildup
The exact way to make your escape depends on
your supply. Canned foods that you might receive are
what you can think of to fit the particular situation The
ideal for storing. However, if the enemy punctures the
only general rules are to make an early escape and to do
cans to prevent your saving them, you may still preserve
it when the enemy is distracted.
the food by resealing the cans with wax or some other
To escape from a prison camp is much more difficult
field expedient. It maybe feasible for you to save this
and requires more detailed planning. It must be
food by recooking it and changing its form. Other foods
organized and supported in the same way as other
to hoard for the day of your escape include suet and
cooked meat, nuts, and bread.
Once you escape, it may not be easy to contact
Save pieces of metal no matter how insignificant
friendly units, even when you know where they are.
they may seem. Nails and pins can serve as buttons or
Approach the solution of the problem in the same way
fasteners. Old cans are excellent for improvised knives,
as you would if you were a member of a lost patrol. Time
cups, or food containers. If you are fortunate enough to
your movements so you can pass through the enemy
forward areas at night and arrive between the enemy and
have a razor blade, guard it. Use it for shaving only.
friendly units at dawn. A good plan is to find a ditch or
Devise ways of sharpening itrub it on glass or stone or
shell hole where you have cover from both friendly and
some other hard surface. A clean shave is a good morale
enemy fire. Attract the attention of the friendly forces
by waving a white cloth, shouting, exposing or laying
Save your strength but keep active. A walk around
out a panel, or some other method. Doing this alerts
the compound or a few mild calisthenics keep your
friendly forces, who are prepared to accept any small
muscles toned. Sleep as much as you can. You will not
group that appears willing to surrender or regain contact.
get much rest on your way back after you escape.
Alerted, they are not as likely to shoot you on sight.
Since the conditions in various POW camps differ,
Use your ingenuity. Select those items that you
it is impossible to provide a specific survival plan for
cannot get along without and supplement them; for
each situation. What you need is a guide so you can make
example, your rations. There is more to eat in and around
the best of what you have. Here is one such plan that you
your compound than you think. When you are allowed
can remember by the word S-A-T Save, Add to, Take
to roam around the campgrounds, look for natural foods
native to the area, such as roots, grasses, leaves, barks,
and insects. If possible, add these foods to your escape
cache. They will keep you alive when the going gets
What can you save in a POW camp? Everything
Supplement your clothing so the more durable
clothing, pieces of metal, cloth, paper, string-anything.
garments are in good repair when you escape. A block
A piece of twine may mean success or failure when it
of wood and a piece of cloth make good moccasins; they
comes time to breakout. Hide these items under the floor
will save your boots. Rags can substitute for gloves;
or in a hole in the ground. If these items are discovered,
they may appear harmless and little or nothing will be
straw can be woven into hats. Do not forget to salvage
done to punish you.
clothing from the dead.