Friendly fire

Discussion in 'General' started by RemeDesertRat, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Supermariobros
    You appear to have done your homework on the RAF 's friendly fire casualties - with one or two seemingly inaccurate details - for example the bombing at El Alamein- I think it was perhaps at Alum Al Halpha when both the British and Germans were caught in the Minefields January and February...the bombing of the CLY and 3rd Hussars was during the retreat called the Gazala Gallop and I would think that your totals are in error...Tractable - well these things do happen - again totals ?

    Exercise Tiger - it is my understanding that the main casualties were caused by a fleet of German E Boats cutting through RN's protective guard and sinking many Landing Craft - it is doubtful that the RAF were involved in a US exercise at that time - the fact that the US and UK were main combatants in WW2 has little to do whether they were superpowers or anything else - so if you would be good enough to supply us with references which can easily be checked - this would go a long way to make your posting much more credibile...

    I for one will be happy to congratulate you on your scholarship.
    Cheers
    PS - Wikipedia is an Amercan outfit ...
     
  2. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    April 28, 1944: In Exercise Tiger, in a biggest training incidents in WW2, British Royal Navy dropped live ammunition on American troops, killing 308(compare to 200 American troops killed by enemy fire in Utah Beach. In total 946 died on in exercise tiger).

    During Exercise Tiger, Convoy T4 was attacked by the Schnellboots (Motor Torpedo Boats) of the 5th and 9th Flotillas operating out of Cherbourg. The S Boats involved were S136, S138, S100 and S145. The LST's hit by the S Boats were LST 507 which was hit at 0203 hrs and abandoned at 0230 hrs, LST 289, LST 531 (which was struck by torpedoes and sank) and LST 515. Landing Ship Tanks 511 and 496 were in fact damaged by firing upon each other in the confusion.

    A US crewman said later that the S Boats had them "trapped and hemmed-in like a bunch of wolves circling a wounded dog"

    I suggest that as well as editing your post for grammar that you do so for factual inaccuracies.
     
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Jonathan-

    not only grammer etc but the other fact is that -it was the Supreme Commander himself who felt that the landing troops should experience actual firing who gave the order for - I think it was HMS Warspite - not sure of that - to fire in front of the landing party's -BUT there was white tape spread in front which they were ordered not to cross - they disobeyed that order -and were killed ...- the other bit of nonsense is his figure of 919 casualties to CLY and Hussars at Mersa Matruh amount to 73% of establishment of some 1250 troops two regiments - they would never have made those reinforcements to get back to El Alamein let alone fight at Alum El Halfa..his next posting should be interesting...
    Cheers
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    I suggest that as well as editing your post for grammar that you do so for factual inaccuracies.

    Now, now, we're no that kind of forum, are we?

    :icon_fork:
     
    Formerjughead likes this.
  5. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Now, now, we're no that kind of forum, are we?

    :icon_fork:

    Look again at Post #19 for the 'reason for editing' comment. I'm not that condescending as to correct anyone for grammar. It was meant in an ironic manner.
     
  6. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    - for example the bombing at El Alamein- I think it was perhaps at Alum Al Halpha when both the British and Germans were caught in the Minefields January and February..
    PS - Wikipedia is an Amercan outfit ...

    A bombing incident happened on 23rd 0ct at Alamein, when infantry advanced too quickly and were caught in the bombardment by Aircraft, similar could have happened at Alem Halfa too.
     
  7. SuperMarioBros.

    SuperMarioBros. Discharged

    Supermariobros
    You appear to have done your homework on the RAF 's friendly fire casualties - with one or two seemingly inaccurate details - for example the bombing at El Alamein- I think it was perhaps at Alum Al Halpha when both the British and Germans were caught in the Minefields January and February...the bombing of the CLY and 3rd Hussars was during the retreat called the Gazala Gallop and I would think that your totals are in error...Tractable - well these things do happen - again totals ?

    Exercise Tiger - it is my understanding that the main casualties were caused by a fleet of German E Boats cutting through RN's protective guard and sinking many Landing Craft - it is doubtful that the RAF were involved in a US exercise at that time - the fact that the US and UK were main combatants in WW2 has little to do whether they were superpowers or anything else - so if you would be good enough to supply us with references which can easily be checked - this would go a long way to make your posting much more credibile...

    I for one will be happy to congratulate you on your scholarship.
    Cheers
    PS - Wikipedia is an Amercan outfit ...

    I'm not more of a history guy and Wikipedia wasn't always runned by Americans but it's the only source out there. The friendly fire section from Wikipedia are mostly runned and owned by the administration from the UK and Canada as far as i know off. No the RAF wasn't involved in Exercise Tiger. Did i even mention it? If u do some research, 308 Americans did die from friendly fire from a British heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins after being hit by live ammunition. They are some books that confirms it.
     
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Supermariobros -
    I am quite sure - as you are - that any book on that subject - if they hold to the truth - will note that the troops who were caught in the Bombardment by HMS Hawkins in exercise Tiger - which was ordered by General Eisenhower - The Supreme Commander - on the condition that white tapes were strung across the paths of the landing troops in order that they could experience actual firing and a warlike scenario without getting hurt......those troops who were killed DISOBEYED that order to stay clear of the tapes and became victims to that Official Bombardment.....ergo the blame lies on their unfortunate shoulders..tragic but it happens when orders are disobeyed. Many Americans - in my experience - were noted for that trait - even at high levels of Command and I can think of a few cases !

    Other friendly fire incidents can happen owing to the speed of aircraft not allowing for true recognition of troops being friend or foe and can - at times be excused - but to disobey a rightful order to preserve life can never be excused by anyone- no matter their nationality.
    Cheers
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Honestly, I don't know where this joke came from(do they make a joke because Americans portrayed themselves in Hollywood as cowboys and they make a joke for the fun of it?) but i checked into Wikipedia friendly fire and there was lot of friendly fire incidents from the UK in WW2 too. The RAF did bombed a lot of British troops during Battle of El Alamein and Operation Crusader. In one incident in June 27th 1942 during a raid on Mersa Matruh, Egypt, the RAF heavy bombers pummeled the 4th County of London Yeomanry, British 7th Armoured Division and the British 3rd Hussars in error killing 359 troops and wounding 560.

    August 14, 1944: During Operation Tractable, RAF heavy bombers bombed Canadian and Polish troops in error, causing 490 casualties including 112 dead.

    April 28, 1944: In Exercise Tiger, in a biggest training incidents in WW2, British Royal Navy dropped live ammunition on American troops, killing 308(compare to 200 American troops killed by enemy fire in Utah Beach. In total 946 died on in exercise tiger).

    Oh and the RAF repeatedly bombed American troops in Mortain, France in August 1944. Even the RAF accidentally inflicted heavy casualties on the U.S. 13th Infantry in Saint Lo, France on July 25, 1944.

    I admit the US did lot of screws up during WW2 and i'm not berating British or anything but pretty much both RAF and USAAF at that time did lot of friendly fire in WW2 since they in fact both superpowers at that time.

    The only difference is the RAF have learned from history, speaking from experience on more than one occassion the Americans still appear to be learning the difference between Friend and Foe ;)
     
  10. SuperMarioBros.

    SuperMarioBros. Discharged

    The only difference is the RAF have learned from history, speaking from experience on more than one occassion the Americans still appear to be learning the difference between Friend and Foe ;)

    I'm not trying to argue here but after WW2, America have more military budget than anyone else in the world and Britain was forced to pay debt to U.S after buying so much equipment during a lend lease so they cannot even provide their own air-force 95% a lot when US was around. In Iraq/Afghanistan war, we flyed 95% of close-air-support out there for coalitions allies even British troops and that's why we have more friendly fire and civilian incidents.

    Technology in WW2 was known at that time for misdirected bombing. There was no IFF, radar on aircraft, no guided weapons, laser designation... not to mention the situation was a lot more dire. WW1, can u imagine how many soldiers die due to friendly fire? I do admit that Vietnam had its share. One case, American soldiers lit off a red signaling flare, wind carried it over friendly troops. Pilots did as told and dropped the bombs, killing dozens of them. THEN, to make matters worse, operation was repeated with same results.

    Lack of co-operation between forces, improper training and poor communications between different branches of the armed forces leads to errors.
     
  11. SuperMarioBros.

    SuperMarioBros. Discharged

    Supermariobros -
    I am quite sure - as you are - that any book on that subject - if they hold to the truth - will note that the troops who were caught in the Bombardment by HMS Hawkins in exercise Tiger - which was ordered by General Eisenhower - The Supreme Commander - on the condition that white tapes were strung across the paths of the landing troops in order that they could experience actual firing and a warlike scenario without getting hurt......those troops who were killed DISOBEYED that order to stay clear of the tapes and became victims to that Official Bombardment.....ergo the blame lies on their unfortunate shoulders..tragic but it happens when orders are disobeyed. Many Americans - in my experience - were noted for that trait - even at high levels of Command and I can think of a few cases !

    Other friendly fire incidents can happen owing to the speed of aircraft not allowing for true recognition of troops being friend or foe and can - at times be excused - but to disobey a rightful order to preserve life can never be excused by anyone- no matter their nationality.
    Cheers

    all right all right fine you don't have to take a shot at me and i'm not trying to blame one other side or the other. But whoever fault was it, it's still a case of friendly fire that came from a British HMS Hawkins. As long humans are involved, mistakes like these always happens. This embarrassing incident even was covered up many times by the Allies that no one even wanted to remember it. But i guess they got away with it since the fact Allies won the war.
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi,

    I'm not trying to start an arguement either just speaking from personal experience and it wasn't from air support either. One was a mortar round and the other was from a .50 cal machine gun both by members of the USMC.

    In my opinion nothing to do with poor communication or co-operation. More like poor training and the want to shoot anything that moves and not engaging the brain with what the Mark 1 eye ball sees.

    Just because someone uses a phrase about the Americans you shouldn't get upset and take it to heart, even when it is probably true. The Americans called us the 'Borrowers' in Iraq as we was always borrowing their kit (I'm still 'borrowing' some of it)-We just said to them that someone had to show them how to use it properly. ;)

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  13. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    We just said to them that someone had to show them how to use it properly. ;)

    Cheers
    Andy
    :D
    Lad at work was training with Americans in Germany (70s/80s?) and even though it was yank artillery the brits fired of twenty rounds before yanks had even loaded!!
     
  14. SuperMarioBros.

    SuperMarioBros. Discharged

    Hi,

    I'm not trying to start an arguement either just speaking from personal experience and it wasn't from air support either. One was a mortar round and the other was from a .50 cal machine gun both by members of the USMC.

    In my opinion nothing to do with poor communication or co-operation. More like poor training and the want to shoot anything that moves and not engaging the brain with what the Mark 1 eye ball sees.

    Just because someone uses a phrase about the Americans you shouldn't get upset and take it to heart, even when it is probably true. The Americans called us the 'Borrowers' in Iraq as we was always borrowing their kit (I'm still 'borrowing' some of it)-We just said to them that someone had to show them how to use it properly. ;)

    Cheers
    Andy

    The joke can be true today i'm fine by that but for WW2 it bothers me since everyone was guilty of it. It can be from lack of experiences and lack of communication anything regardless. I remember one incident in Vietnam, where an inexperienced Australian officer gave the wrong coordinates to a New Zealand battery and the rounds instead landed on them and his Aussies soldiers, killing two and wounded several others. I can't remember the rest of the story but that's all i remembered from. Even during the heat of the battle.
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I can't comment on the WW2 side of things because the Americans weren't in WW2 during the bit I'm interested in ;)
     
  16. SuperMarioBros.

    SuperMarioBros. Discharged

    I can't comment on the WW2 side of things because the Americans weren't in WW2 during the bit I'm interested in ;)

    Oh i see. I'm not much of a history guy but i'm still trying to make a point(well hardly) and i'm still trying to learn about friendly fire. I'm basing on information through documentaries, links etc. LOL :D.
     
  17. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    The Exercise Tiger incident happened because German MTB's got through the Royal Navy's defensive screen. HMS Scimitar had been in collision with an LST, suffered structural damage and left the screen. Her position in the screen was not subsequently/adequately covered. In addition, due to a series of communications mix-up's/cock-up's, mainly the LSTs and British Naval HQ operating on different frequencies, the US Army/Navy were not informed. The exercise should have been aborted, but wasn't and the German MTB's found easy targets amongst the US forces. I believe there were over 700 US servicemen killed.

    Matters were hushed-up at the time to prevent ill-feeling (greater) between the US servicemen and the British.

    There is a Memorial at Slapton Sands in Devon to the US servicemen who were killed; it includes a Sherman tank. I believe it is maintained by the local community at their own expense. It isn't a grand monument (not in the Nelson's Column sense), but it is in a prominent position and pays due 'respect'!

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  18. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Friendly fire seems to have been accepted as an occupational hazard, up to a point. Tired, terrified and twitchy men are going to make mistakes sometimes.

    The air forces (note the plural) gave themselves a problem as they did tend to oversell their accuracy - particularly the well-known USAAF's 'bomb in a pickle barrel' claim. Even worse, they may have believed it themselves. I'm not suggesting that an umpteen hour bombing mission was stress-free, but I don't think the air forces' crews/pilots could excuse mistakes in the same way that infantry and tankers could excuse theirs, what with all those clean sheets, warm beer/WAAFs and bacon and eggs before and after the nasty bit.

    It's also inevitable that the closer the 'friendship' of the firer and the fired upon, the less noise will be made about it. Sentries shooting their colleagues, not many will hear about it (until they put it in a mini series, that is) and the circumstances are easier to accept. One service bombs or shoots down another, they may have harsh words. One ally blats another and it'll be all over the papers.

    Going back to the earlier point, to what extent is friendly fire a bigger news today because of the overhyped accuracy and infallibility of modern technology?
     
  19. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    I can't comment on the WW2 side of things because the Americans weren't in WW2 during the bit I'm interested in ;)

    Ah, but the bit you are interested in was before the real WW2 had even started :p
     
  20. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Ah, but the bit you are interested in was before the real WW2 had even started :p

    I think the Polish, who suffered more than any other nation, would agree with Andy on this point Za!

    Best,

    Steve.
     

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