capitulator
(kuh.PICH.uh,lay.tur) n. A soldier who deserts or surrenders before engaging in battle.
capitulation n.

Example Citation:
Leaflets have been raining down on Iraqi troops, urging them to surrender in the event of conflict but also telling them to stay put and not run around the battle zones.

It also is hoped that many will become "capitulators," a newly coined category for troops and units who surrender before any confrontation with U.S. forces.
—Denis D. Gray, "Legions of expected war prisoners may slow advance toward Baghdad," The Associated Press, March 17, 2003

Earliest Citation:
He noted that U.S. military forces have not had to deal with the mass surrenders on a battlefield since the Korean War and World War II. But he said "abject surrender is not that hard to recognize" - a white flag, a rifle held above the head, or tanks with turrets backward and guns lowered.

"In modern war," he said, "you may very well be in a brigade or division command post, and suddenly somebody comes up on your net, and in a clear voice, good English, says ' ... we're calling it quits, boss."'

He said the would-be capitulators would then be instructed to demonstrate their seriousness, and "if they do it, then you follow through."
—Richard Pyle, "U.S. Forces Warned to Be Wary of Iraqi 'Surrender' Ruses," The Associated Press, February 20, 1991

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