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Prisoners of War – Camp Ruston

The following excerpts explain why the American Navy violated the Geneva Code by not reporting the capture of the POW’s from the U-505 and how the POW’s try to let other prisoners in Camp Ruston know they were there.

Why was it so important to hide the U - 505 crew?

…" The big thing we got out of it was the ability to read the German naval codes. We got the current code books, the cipher machine, and hundreds of dispatches with the code version on one side and the German translation on the other. ... the German Navy changed their codes every two weeks so enemy cryptographers wouldn't be working on the same system. But the key to the routine was the code books. We read the operational traffic between U - boat headquarters and the submarines at sea for the rest of the war. This may have had something to do with the sinking of nearly 300 U - boats in the next 11 months." …

Captain Daniel V. Galloway, USN

Secret memo to the Provost Marshal General from the War Department General Staff, Military Intelligence Division, G-2

" 1. Reference is made to fifty six (56) German Naval prisoners of war (four (4) officers and fifty two (52) enlisted men) now at Camp Ruston, Louisiana. It is important that these particular prisoners of war not be allowed to mingle or communicate with any other prisoners of war at any time. Necessary provisions will be made to insure that no communications of any nature from this group of prisoners reach Germany.

2. No reports of capture of members of this group of Naval prisoners of war will be submitted either to the protecting power or to the International Red Cross without specific authorization. 3. This confirms verbal instructions issued to Brigadier General B.M. Bryan, Jr.


The crew of the U - 505 were kept under heavy armed guard and segregated from the other prisoners. There was to be no contact what so ever between them and others. In an ingenious attempt to communicate their presence to the others, the sailors,

…" took the paper, wrapping paper from the loafs of bread...took thin twigs from trees...scraped them so they were light and bent them together... We took the insect spray bottom of the tin and hook it to the balloon. We light it up and they went up fast, up they went....below the tin we hung flyers that said ' the U - 505 Lives ' and swastikas. The guards in the watch towers tried to get them down. They reported it to the intelligence officer and he came inside and asked us what we were doing? We were always making trouble. We told him that we were in contact with some people outside the camp and they know exactly that we are here. But nothing was true. So they had to look for where the balloons went down...they stayed up as long as there was heat inside. So they were kept

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