Why was it an issue?

Why the soldiers did it? The system of the orders

This was one of the first orders emanated by Alberti Kesselring to norm the fight against the bandits in Italy. It's the first step of the future exacerbation of this fight and the introduction of harder and harder military measures and “psycological” incentives to the commanders.

 

See clause of impunity:

Translation of some parts:

 

Geheim!

Classified

[…]

1) Terroristenanschlaege und Bandenunwese.... -

The terrorist attacks and the bandits's activities rose.

 

Second page:

 

a) Schlappe und untenschlossene Fuehrer...

The spineless and undecided commanders will be deemed responsible by me, as they compromise the safety of their troops and the respect for the German Wehrmacht. For the time being, too drastic measures will never be a reason for punishing.

 

b) Bei Ueberfallen ist sofort...

- In the case of an assault, the whole area is to be surrounded and all civilians nearby must be arrested. After a particularly serious assault, the houses the shooting was from may be burnt down.

 

8 april 1944, Commander in chief South West  General Albert Kesselring, Bundesarchiv Freiburg (Germany)