A small point for the German players. I'm sure you both know this, but I find that if something everyone assumes we all know isn't stated aloud, it always turns out that someone didn't realise it...
This is not WWII, the Germans are not Nazis, there is no Gestapo. Prisoners of War were treated with a certain degree of respect, especially officers. Of course respect does not imply good living conditions - PoW camps are designed to keep captured soldiers from rejoining the fray, and were never nice places to be. The Geneva Convention of 1863 was already in existence, and both Prussia and France were signatories.
While that's true as far as it goes, the Prussians kept to the exact letter of the law when it came to the customs and law of war. (It's worth noting that the 1863 Convention only prohibited firing on unarmed medical staff tending to the wounded, under the auspices of the Red Cross. During the the Siege of Paris, the French put a big Red Cross on a hill near their hospital. The Prussians used it as a reference point for the bombardment of Paris- they never aimed right at it, of course, but just next to it- if there happened to be a hospital near by, it wasn't under
the Red Cross.) This means that the Prussians saw Law and Custom as sort of all or nothing- either you were under its protections fully, or you weren't- and as soon as you broke one of the L&C, you were out of the protections of all of them.
Of course, it's not like the French were super nice people, either. The collapse of the French regulars early in the war led to an effort to revive the levee en masse,
. This led to an effort to get ill prepared troops to the front, but also boosted the efforts of the Francs-tireurs
- quasi official militias and partisans- as they attacked Prussians in the rear areas. These were usually savage ambushes, conducted by people in civilian clothes- also a violation of the laws and customs of war. Some of them were intended to be terrifying, and included mutilations and looting. And, of course, attacks on collaborators and those who supported, helped or sold to the Prussians. These were usually worse than the attacks on Prussians.
This set up the primary conflict of the rear areas in the war- the Prussians weren't really occupying anything, or setting up governments. They weren't staying, after all. But, the Francs-tireurs
, who saw themselves as part of a legitimate military force, attacked Prussian forces in the rear areas, and then melted into the civilian populace, since they weren't a uniformed, formed body. In the opinion of the Prussians, this made them murderers, spies and saboteurs, not soldiers, and thus subject to summary military judgement and execution. This started legalistically, but reprisals became more and more summary as the war went on, and more and more collective punishments were applied. In areas where this sort of activity was common, episodes along these lines happened:
take a few potshots at Prussian column from a church steeple, then bolt.
2) Prussian Column stops what it's doing and heads for village.
3) Prussian officer in charge shoots the mayor.
4) Prussian soldiers burn village, get back on road.
So, yes- there's certainly no Gestapo or secret police, or organized torture rings, or anything like the things we usually think of when we think of World War II. That said, there's a lot potentially going on, and plenty of rough stuff around. How much of this we want in the game, it's up to us- we can be in a peaceful part of the rear area, which is fun, or there can be this looming threat of violence, or some rougher stuff. We can make this work however we like.