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Old 08-07-2013, 06:26 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,203 posts, read 20,232,235 times
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Going off to war, even if there is no opposition, would remain a deadly business with unavoidable casualties. Preparing for war there are training accidents, delivering soldiers and material to the war zone features transportation accidents, and simply gathering thousands of young men with guns and high explosives, insures inadvertent shootings and maiming. I had a cousin who was killed in Vietnam...in an accidental helicopter crash unrelated to combat.

Then in a category of its own, if you are killed or wounded because you were mistaken for the enemy by the soldiers on your own side, that is "Friendly Fire."

I suspect that the most famous victim in US history has to be General Thomas Jackson, shot by North Carolina troops in the dark at Chancelorsville when they mistook his approach for enemy cavalry. A year later General Longstreet would be seriously wounded by his own troops in the same Wilderness where Stonewall was struck.

More recently Friendly Fire was on people's minds with the death of former NFL player turned soldier, Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, an event which was at first covered up, and later exposed.

Last month we passed the 70th anniversary of the worst Friendly Fire incident in the history of US arms, yet its fame seems non existent.

On July 9th, 1943, the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment boarded transports in Africa to be flown to Sicily to bolster General Matthew Ridgway's 82nd Airborne, elements of which had already landed and captured an airfield where the 504th was now to drop. They would be passing over the Allied invasion fleet at sea and numerous US infantry and armored formations on the ground to reach their destination. Word was sent out to be alert for these planes, but communications were in disarray and messages were taking up to 48 hours to reach the ships and units of the massive invasion force.

Things went as planned until just as the first C-47 flew over the airfield and dropped the first stick of troops. Someone, somewhere opened up on them with a .50 caliber machine gun and it triggered an orgy of ground fire which no one could stop. It spread to the fleet which loosed its anti aircraft guns at the passing transports.

The formation of aircraft disintegrated, planes were shot down, troopers who managed to jump before their aircraft was hit, were in turn machined gunned by ground troops as they descended. Some troopers came down inside British lines where they were shot because their password and counter sign were different from the British one in use. One C-47 managed to safely crash land in the water, only to have a nearby destroyer open up on the survivors with its deck guns, adding eleven casualties to the total for the night.

Twenty three US transports were shot from the skies and close to 400 Americans were casualties. The attack by their own side had so scattered those aircraft which were not fatally damaged, that of the 1600 paratroopers being flown on this mission, only 400 arrived at their planned destination.

So here is a thread devoted to anything and everything having to do with Friendly Fire.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:25 PM
 
15,921 posts, read 18,175,334 times
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The Austrian army which was scouting for the Ottoman Empire fired on each other by mistake...

The result? Over 10,000 dead and wounded.

Battle of Karánsebes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Also from Wiki:

World War I
An estimated 75,000 French soldiers were casualties of friendly artillery in the four years of World War I.

World War II
1942
27 June - RAF bombed allies in Egypt killing over 359 troops and wounding 560.

1944
28 April - Exercise Tiger, 308 American deaths due to British fire which was being shelled with live ammunition by the British heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins.
8 June - Operation Cobra, American bombs killed 241 and injuring 620 Americans.
8-13 August - Operation Totalize, Allies bombed a Canadian and Polish headquarters "causing several hundred Allied casualties."
14 August - Operation Tractable, RAF heavy bombed Allied troops causing about 490 casualties including 112 dead.

1945
3 May 1945 - Three ships, the SS Cap Arcona, SS Thielbek, and the SS Deutschland were sunk by the RAF, resulting in the death of over 7,000 Jewish concentration camp survivors and prisoners of war.

Korean War
3 July 1950, RAAF strafed and destroyed a train, resulting in more than 700-1000 casualties.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendly_fire
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:28 PM
 
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Battle of Dak To, 19 November 1967:

Quote:
At 18:58 one of the worst friendly-fire incidents of the Vietnam War occurred when a Marine Corps fighter-bomber dropped two 500-pound bombs into 2/503's perimeter. One of the bombs exploded, a tree burst above the center of the position, where the combined command groups, the wounded, and the medics were all located. It killed 42 men outright and wounded 45 more, including the overall on-scene commander, Captain Harold Kaufman. 1Lt. Bartholomew O'Leary, Delta Company Commander, was seriously wounded. (Alpha company's commander had been killed in the retreat up the slope).
Battle of Dak To - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Newport Beach, California
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This is the Green Berets in Afghanistan - Friendly Fire Accident


Green Berets in Afghanistan - Friendly Fire Accident - YouTube
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:49 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
17,691 posts, read 10,429,582 times
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Japanese Hell Ships
A hell ship is a ship with extremely unpleasant living conditions or with a reputation for cruelty among the crew. It now generally refers to the ships used by the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army to transport Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and romushas (Asian forced labourers) out of the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore in World War II. The POWs were taken to Japan, Taiwan, Manchuria, Korea, the Moluccas, Sumatra, Burma or Siam to be used as forced labor. In Japanese they are called jigoku-sen (地獄船?), with the same literal meaning.

In May 1942 the Japanese began transferring POWs by sea. Similar to treatment on the Bataan Death March, prisoners were often crammed into cargo holds with little air, food or water for journeys that would last weeks. Many died due to asphyxia, starvation or dysentery. Some POWs became delirious and unresponsive in their environment of heat, humidity and lack of oxygen, food, and water. These unmarked prisoner transports were targeted as enemy ships by Allied submarines and aircraft.
More than 20,000 Allied POWs died at sea when the transport ships carrying them were attacked by Allied submarines and aircraft.

Sample:
Quote:
The Oryoku Maru was a 7,363-ton passenger cargo liner transporting 1,620 survivors of the Bataan Death March, Corregidor and other battles. It left Manila on 13 December 1944, and over the next two days was mistakenly bombed and strafed by US planes. About 270 died aboard ship. Some died from suffocation or dehydration. Others were killed in the attack or drowned while escaping the sinking ship. A colonel, in his official report, wrote:
Many men lost their minds and crawled about in the absolute darkness armed with knives, attempting to kill people in order to drink their blood or armed with canteens filled with urine and swinging them in the dark. The hold was so crowded and everyone so interlocked with one another that the only movement possible was over the heads and bodies of others.[8
Hell ship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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It isn't possible to know how many, but from the diaries and papers of the participants, it is apparent that a good percentage of Santa Anna's casualties at the Alamo were the product of friendly fire.

The typical Mexican peasant of the 1830's was short and of slight stature due to a combination of heredity and poor diet. A portion of the army which Santa Anna brought north to punish the rebels was composed of veteran troops and cavalry, the rest was fleshed out by grab as you go conscription. As they marched through the different territories and villages, able bodied men were drafted on the spot, given a musket and told to fall in. Training for these men was non existent.

The Napoleon era muskets which the Mexican army used were large, heavy weapons with a strong back kick. Allowed to fire one or two practice shots, the newly drafted soldiers discovered that the muskets would slam back into their shoulders, severely bruising or dislocating them. Via experimentation, it was determined that the only safe way to discharge the gun was to mount the butt on your belt buckle and fire it from your waist.

The first wave of attackers in the final assault were composed of the veterans, and when they were stopped beneath the Alamo walls, the next wave was sent, composed of the untrained peasants. They stopped to fire a volley before closing and with their muskets mounted on their belt buckles, they fired low, into the backs of their own men.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:30 AM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
It isn't possible to know how many, but from the diaries and papers of the participants, it is apparent that a good percentage of Santa Anna's casualties at the Alamo were the product of friendly fire.

The typical Mexican peasant of the 1830's was short and of slight stature due to a combination of heredity and poor diet. A portion of the army which Santa Anna brought north to punish the rebels was composed of veteran troops and cavalry, the rest was fleshed out by grab as you go conscription. As they marched through the different territories and villages, able bodied men were drafted on the spot, given a musket and told to fall in. Training for these men was non existent.

The Napoleon era muskets which the Mexican army used were large, heavy weapons with a strong back kick. Allowed to fire one or two practice shots, the newly drafted soldiers discovered that the muskets would slam back into their shoulders, severely bruising or dislocating them. Via experimentation, it was determined that the only safe way to discharge the gun was to mount the butt on your belt buckle and fire it from your waist.

The first wave of attackers in the final assault were composed of the veterans, and when they were stopped beneath the Alamo walls, the next wave was sent, composed of the untrained peasants. They stopped to fire a volley before closing and with their muskets mounted on their belt buckles, they fired low, into the backs of their own men.
Brutal, Man!

But it reminded me of how T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) shot his own camel in the back of the head during a charge into battle.
Quote:
Lawrence was nearly killed in the action; he accidentally shot the camel he was riding on in the head with his pistol, but was fortunately thrown out of harm's way when he fell.
Battle of Aqaba - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

After learning of that episode I've always had this sort of Yosemite Sam image of Lawrence. Can't shake it....

When I say WHOA - I MEAN WHOA! Dumb camel get's PUMMELED! - YouTube
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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On May 6th, 1943, the Italian scow, the Loyd Triestino, departed Tunis carrying 464 American and British POWs to camps in Italy.

At 8 am it came under air attack by Allied fighters and bombers. Near misses ruptured the hull and the ship began to sink. The Italian captain decided to try and make it back to Tunis, the air attacks continuing as it crept back to its departure harbor. As it drew near, it was struck directly in the forecastle by a bomb....which did not explode. As the ship neared the coastal fishing village of of La Goulette, the sinking rate increased and the 30 members of the Italian crew jumped ship and made for shore taking all of the vessel's life boats and leaving behind the captain, a few German guards and the prisoners still locked in the hold.

Recognizing that the ship would go under before reaching the shore, the captain ran it aground 300 yards away from land. He and the guards then unlocked the hold, freeing the prisoners, but abandoning the ship themselves and leaving the POWs aboard.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, the Loyd Triestino was subjected to six more waves of attacking aircraft. The POW's cut cloth into huge red crosses and laid them out on the decks, but the attacks continued. They draped white sheets over the ship's guns and this was either not seen by the pilots, or considered a ruse because the attacks kept coming. A British POW stationed himself on deck and would note the direction from which the attackers were approaching. If he yelled "port!" the prisoners would all scramble to the starboard side to avoid the machine gun and cannon fire coming through the hull from strafing planes. Then "starboard!" and they would all rush to the huddle on the port side.

Finally when it was dark, a POW swam ashore to get help and word was sent out to call off the attacks.

More than 300 bombs had been dropped at the ship and incredibly, the only one to strike the vessel was the dud that hit the forecastle. Later the ship was discovered to have more than four thousand bullet and cannon shell holes in its hull.

And the most remarkable thing in the adventure? Despite ten separate air attacks throughout the day, only one POW was killed and three others wounded during the entire ordeal.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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Who knows how many P-51 mustangs were shot by US bombers during WW2 because their side profile was very close in appearance to the German BF-109, or how many Navy pilots made bombing runs on USN subs trying to pick up downed pilots because the pilots couldn't tell the difference between a Gato/Balao and a IJN sub.

Or how about when allies are attacked on purpose, such as when the British attacked the French fleet at anchor in Algeria because the English thought they would surrender to the Germans.

War sucks.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post

Or how about when allies are attacked on purpose, such as when the British attacked the French fleet at anchor in Algeria because the English thought they would surrender to the Germans.

.
Friendly fire generally references damage inadvertently inflicted by members of your own side in the war.
In that the British attack on the French Fleet was neither accidental nor against an allied power (Vichy was allied with the Nazis), I'd rule that the incident does not truly qualify.

"Because We Can Fire" or perhaps "Because You Weren't Friendly Enough Fire" might be more accurate for that particular situation.
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