|“||In war, there's no such thing as murder. Lieutenant Kopicek was a very stubborn man. No one enjoys killing||„|
Bruener was a Waffen-SS officer who'd been captured by an American officer, Lieutenant Eddie Kopicek, who was a friend of Private William Kirby and who was also engaged to Kirby's sister. While in captivity, Bruener turned the tables on his captor, and interrogated Kopicek, beating him to death when he wouldn't answer his questions. He then left in a staff car after being picked up by some of his men.
Informed of Bruener's whereabouts by a wounded French civilian, Kirby became determined to find and capture the cruel SS officer. Locating Bruener's field headquarters, he ran back to inform the other Americans, but was spotted and knocked unconscious. He awoke inside Bruener's tent. Bruener was able to deduce where Kirby had come from, and that he was a friend of the late Lieutenant Kopicek. When Kirby accused him of being a murderer, Bruener casually insisted there was no such thing as murder in war. He justified the beating and death of Kopicek by insisting he'd been "very stubborn."
An attack against the camp resulted in Bruener being recaptured. He eventually escaped, however. Since Allied intelligence needed him alive for questioning (the original reason Kopicek had captured him), getting him back was of paramount importance. During a battle between American and German forces later, Bruener took the uniform and rifle of a dead G.I. and tried to slip away, but ended up shot in the legs by Sergeant Chip Saunders. He and Kirby then took the wounded SS officer prisoner.