Friendly Fire

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by carpro, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. carpro

    carpro
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    The worst case of friendly fire in American history, to my knowledge, is the night of July 10/11 or 9/10 (?), 1943.

    "On one night during World War II _ July 9-10, 1943 _ 23 U.S. troop transports carrying paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division were shot down by American forces in Sicily who mistook the planes for German bombers.
    The death toll in that single friendly fire incident was 410. "

    Any others?
     
  2. Rufus_1611

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    While not the worst in terms of head count, the Pat Tillman fratricide and the military lying about it afterward, was the most heinous in my recollection. May God grant peace to his wonderful family.
     
  3. carpro

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    Fratricide?

    In the scope of things concerning instances of friendly fire, it's doubtful Tillman's , as tragic as it was, really even rates an honorable mention.

    But thanks for the effort.
     
  4. El_Guero

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    During GWI, an officer took command of his tank and killed an NCO as he lead his men to retreat from the field of fire.

    Fortunately, the Army finally disgraced that cowardly officer for what he did.

    Not on the scale of 400+, but that NCO gave his life leading his men like any good NCO should be proud of. He was an example of courage to his men, his unit, the US Army, to the NCO corps, and to his country.
     
  5. Melanie

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    I know one of my teacher's in high school lost most of his platoon in "Nam to friendly fire.......he was very bitter about it
     
  6. carpro

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    I can understand why he would be. Many instances of friendly fire did not get reported in the past. Only the worst, like the one in the OP.

    I was also bombed by our own jets when an AO spotted our patrol during a roadmapping patrol on the border to Laos. He called in the jets. We were able to stop their runs before they dropped any napalm, but not before their bombs killed 1 and wounded 2 others out of our 15 man patrol. I don't imagine it made the news at all.

    It is also doubtful the families of the KIA were informed by the government of how he died unless it was by other patrol members that knew him well., and likely not even them. Why add to their pain?
     
    #6 carpro, Jan 6, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2007
  7. rsr

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    You'd have to mention the shooting of Stonewall Jackson, which may have affected the outcome (or at least duration and casualities) of the American Civil War.
     
  8. rsr

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    Does the USS LIberty incident (the Israelis attacked the ship during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War; 34 Americans were killed and at least 173 wounded) count?

    Friendly-fire casualties were especially prevalent in World War I, when artillery routinely pounded incorrect positions. (The Lost Battalion - units of the 77th Infantry - were hit by "friendly" artillery fire, though I don't know how many of the 400 casualties were due to enemy fire, as opposed to "friendly."

    The Pentagon estimates that 16 percent of all casualties in World War II were the result of "friendly fire."

    Such episodes are not limited to warfare. Locally, in 1989, an errant artillery shell killed three soldiers and wounded more than two dozen trainees; in 1995, an Air Froce Reserve fighter jet dropped a bomb onto the wrong coordinates, killing one soldier and injuring eight soldiers and Marines. Any time you're using deadly force, things can go wrong.
     
  9. carpro

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    Great!

    One person, but the results, some say, led to the defeat of the confederacy, and provided Grant his first victory, sort of by default. If I have the right battle. Shiloh?

    I'm working from memory here, and it ain't what it used to be.
     
  10. carpro

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    If you consider Americans killed by our allies as friendly fire (I do), then your Israeli example is good.

    I know about the "lost battalion" and am aware of the problems with artillary in WWI, but can't seem to find hard numbers

    Thanks a lot for your input. Good thinking.:thumbs:
     
  11. El_Guero

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    Keep us workin' on remembering those that have paid the ultimate price for freedom.

    Thanks!
     
  12. carpro

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    Itoluso. My memory is shot.

    My guy at Shiloh was Gen. Albert Sydney Johnston and it wasn't friendly fire. He had what he thought was a minor leg wound and sent the surgeon to treat others.

    He bled to death from his "minor" leg wound.
     
  13. rsr

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    Right. Jackson was killed after Chancellorsville - probably Lee's most brilliant victory (and perhaps planted the seeds of Gettysburg - casualties were higher than Lee could really afford, and perhaps he was lulled into thinking all Union generals were inept as Hooker.)

    Anyway, I would refer you to an article, "Integrating Technology to Reduce Fratricide" by Layry Doton, which appeared int he Winter 1996 edition of Acquisition Review Quarterly that contains the following:

    -- "In 1758, during the French and Indian War, the commander of a British
    detachment and Col. George Washington, then a colonial officer of the British
    Army, mistakenly identified each others’ forces as French. In his papers, Washington reported that between 13 and 40 British soldiers died at the hands
    of their own forces during the ensuing engagement ... "

    -- "Of the five million French casualties in World War I, artillery caused two thirds, regardless of friend or foe. French General Alexandre Percin believed
    that French artillery fire caused one million, or 20 percent of French casualties ... "

    -- "During the breakout from Normandy in the Second World War, British aircraft inadvertently bombed the 30th Division for over two days, killing, among others, American Lt.Gen. Leslie J. McNair." (McNair was the primary mind behind the training program that prepared millions of American soldiers for combat; the post headquarters at Fort Sill is named in his memory.)

    -- "At the Battle of the Bulge, the First Infantry Division became the target of heavy ‘friendly’ bombing. In St. Lo, over 750 casualties occurred as a result of U.S. bombers attacking American ground forces."


    -- "Meanwhile, in the Pacific theater, an allied destroyer depth-charged and sank an allied submarine; likewise, in the Caribbean, friendly fire sank the American submarine USS Dorado."

    -- " ... a gun crew cut an incorrect powder charge. The ‘long’ round killed one and wounded 37 U.S. soldiers. Compounding the tragedy, the victim’s unit initiated extremely accurate counterbattery fire, resulting in an additional 53 casualties. The entire incident occurred in the short span of 23 minutes."

    Doton goes on to say that it appears that fratricide historically has accounted for 15-20 percent of American casualties.

    The entire article is at http://www.dau.mil/pubs/arq/94arq/doto.pdf

    On another note, I would point out that Boise City, Okla. (far in the wilds of the Oklahoma Panhandle) is one of the few American cities ever hit by aerial bombs. On July 5, 1943, a B-17 dropped six practice bombs on the city, mistaking it for the target some 40 miles away. Luckily, no one was hurt and there was little damage, although the First Baptist Church escaped damage by a whisker.
     
  14. carpro

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    Great source!

    I had never heard friendly fire referred to as "fratricide" before it was mentioned in this thread.

    Never too old to learn.:thumbs:
     

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