In attempting to answer the question, I think that a more specific war would be needed. You do a nice job with the tags, but in the text of the question, it would be very helpful to indicate which war that you are speaking. I would suggest as a general rule of thumb that acts of desperation on the part of military troops are undertaken when all other options have been closed. If an opposing forces is closing in on another, there is a tendency to embrace the very worst in military and human nature prior to defeat. The act of desperation is a last ditch attempt to stem the overwhelming tide. I would submit this potential explanation and ask you to apply it to the specific context to see if this is applicable. If not, I think it only underscores the need to specify in the question of what war you speak.