1 KOYLI - Anzio - Patrol Friendly Fire Incident Report

Discussion in 'Italy' started by ClankyPencil, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    I came across this in the 14th Bn Sherwood Foresters War Diaries and thought it might be of interest, as it gives an insight into some of the dangers encountered while operating in the beach head.
    WO_170_1477_0084.jpg
     
    dbf likes this.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Thanks for that but it's hard to read as it is a rather large file size, too big for my screen.
    I think it's about 1800 pixels wide.
    I find it best to have things no bigger than 900 pixels wide myself.
    Cheers.
     
  3. ropey

    ropey Member

    I had no problem reading it, and found it very interesting, and rather sad. Bad enough dying, but to die by the hands of friends? War is hell.
     
  4. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Thanks Owen

    I tried to resize it to less than 900 pixels. Hope that helps
     
  5. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    I checked the CWGC and the officer and the 2 other ranks have entries although the sergeants name is mis spelt in the report (should be Dilly not Dilley). Also strangely, the officer's date of death is noted as the 22nd whereas the others are noted as the 21st.
    I couldn't find any entry for Pte Fielder so assumed he survived the war.

    Also, can anyone tell me what relevance the bren gun's change lever being at the 'R' position has, and why it was duly noted in the report?
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Also, can anyone tell me what relevance the bren gun's change lever being at the 'R' position has, and why it was duly noted in the report?

    that's perfect, cheers.
    Regards the R I maybe wrong but I think the safety catch had three positions, A for 'automatic' fire, S for 'safe' and R for 'rounds' or single shots.

    If an enemy patrol appeared you'd want to put as many rounds into them as possible so it should have been on 'A'.
     
  7. Jen'sHusband

    Jen'sHusband Punchbag

    In practice (and having spoken to a good number of Bren users), the setting for the fire selector switch should really have been at 'A', for 'automatic', rather than 'R' for 'repetition' (one round per squeeze of the trigger). 'S' of course, is the safety mode.

    It may have been material in the case - orders saying it should have been at 'A'? Sloppy drill? Or just noting why only one round was fired from a Bren.

    The Bren's fire selector switch had three settings:
    [​IMG]
    Not my pic, by the way.
     
  8. Damiano

    Damiano In the shadow of Monte Cassino

    Clanky,
    thank you very much for sharing it.

    Best

    D.
     
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Attached Files:

    • asr.jpg
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  10. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Small Arms Training, Volume 1. Pamphlet No. 4, Light Machine Gun 1939


    When reading reports - all one can do is apply the training and application of that training from your own time, if you are not from the era. Putting my cynical hat on - can hear myself saying for goodness sake be careful we have friendly forces moving into location. Were verbal orders given? Keep the gun on repetition until certain - it would be reasonable to assume that the gunner and his No2/spotter were experienced - you would not put the platoon Jonah on sentry - would he have made the decision to fire a single shot? We will of course never know. When moving into a dig in or long stay location, the platoon commander and myself would take individual soldiers and show them their arc of fire to cover. once each man knew his arcs, if digging in we would then 'spitlock' trenches - that is to say get down at ground level and look to locate the trench with a field of fire and an arc. Whilst this was going on sentries would have been posted, the guns covering the most likely areas of attack. Everyone else digging in, a command cord could be rigged where the sentries could pull it to raise the alarm,shout or if close quarter open fire -soldiers digging would then go to the places they had been shown earlier and cover their arcs or if trenches completed use them. My first platoon sergeant would insist that the gun (GPMG) had 6 or so tracer rounds as first load on the belt. Rather than the sentries shouting out a target indication - 'Watch my tracers'.
     
  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I see there's been a pic found already, but as O asked & the photo's been taken now... (and I never resist a photoshoot with Brenda)
    My Bren's 'uninhibited' selector:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Jen'sHusband

    Jen'sHusband Punchbag

    It was the only photo I could find of a selector at very short notice. If I were at home I'd have dug one of my own out to photograph it. I would imagine that the reason for noting that the Bren was set to R would have been that if you suspect enemy out front, you fire a burst. If you think it might be your own chaps, you challenge with the challenge/password. Single 'warning' shots were not on.

    PS. VP, I'd like to see more images of your Bren (but that's for a different topic).
     
  13. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    The book lays out the standard - there are no fixed ways in the field - he would not do that, or that is not what they would do it - is plain nonsense we have all done it and there will be commanders in the field at present adapting to suit - the book went out of the window down South. There are lads here who have more recent experience than me and I am pretty sure they have done the same.
     
  14. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    ClankyPencil.

    Great piece of info. I will be using it on my tours.

    Many thanks

    FdeP
     
  15. Jen'sHusband

    Jen'sHusband Punchbag

    The book lays out the standard - there are no fixed ways in the field - he would not do that, or that is not what they would do it - is plain nonsense we have all done it and there will be commanders in the field at present adapting to suit - the book went out of the window down South. There are lads here who have more recent experience than me and I am pretty sure they have done the same.

    I know that but investigations rarely go that way, in any field.
     
  16. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Thanks everyone for the photos and help answering my query regarding the Bren gun.

    I am trying to not be too judgemental regarding the friendly fire incident, but considering the foresters men had been notified to expect the patrol, and the sentry spotted only 4 men at the 'wire' near their positions, is it only me who thinks the foresters sentry may have possibly been a little 'trigger happy' in the situation?

    It would be interesting to see if there was a similar report done by Pte Fielder in the 1st KOYLI's war diaries for comparison.
     
  17. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just using co-ords translator to find the Culvert at 851295.
    The "Coordinates Translator"
    Use South Italy Zone rF851295

    I come up with 41° 33' 38'' N 12° 37' 19'' E

    Seems correct as I know just north-west of that is The Fortress in the Wadis where other 5 Div units were.

    enemy MG post at 844303 mentioned at end of report is
    41° 34' 04'' N 12° 36' 48'' E

    Use South Italy Zone rF844303
     
  18. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Owen.

    You are spot on with the location of the Culvert. I have stood on that piece of ground and, looking westr, it is still discernable as a wadi - even if a little overgrown in the base of the riverbed. The Culvert was often a Bn or Coy HQ for units in the line.

    The position of the German MG conforms to where the line was at the time.

    Regards

    FdeP
     
  19. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Hi Owen

    Thanks for that.

    The attached aerial map is from one of Paul Reed's old threads
    Anzio Aerial?
    and covers the the area mentioned.

    The machine gun post was possibily located at the place indicated as 'R.A.P.' just North West of 'Law's Folly'

    My great uncle was killed in action in the wadis area just south east of Pontoni a week before this incident happened. Going through the 14th foresters war diaries & Paul's map trying to follow his movements, i'd previously assumed the 'Culvert' was a little further south than the position indicated in the report. Other grid references in the war diaries seem to indicate it being at the end of the wadis, south of the road that runs in the NW-SE direction.

    Maybe FdeP or someone else might be able to confirm?

    cheers

    Scott
     

    Attached Files:

  20. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Oops. Looks like Frank already beat me to it.
     

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