Blue on Blue

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by JessopSmythe, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    I may be doing them a great dis-service here as I haven't done any deep research but has anyone else noticed that in all the "friendly fire" incidents reported since the invasion of Iraq it's always the Americans getting it wrong?

    I don't recall seeing reports of any other nationality shooting allied soldiers.

    And yes, there are some other nationalities serving in the gulf it's just that there's not quite as many of them (Their governments didn't feel the need to blindly follow Dubya into the Vietnam of the 21st century!)
  2. bigmamabadger

    bigmamabadger Active Member

    The Yanks don't have the best record for friendly fire. A quarter of all casualties in Vietnam were blue on blue.
    This is not to say it's unheard of for the rest of the world's armies, just a little less liekly...
  3. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Quite a few such incidents in the Falklands and only UK troops involved there.
  4. bigmamabadger

    bigmamabadger Active Member

    You also have to determine whether or not such incidents are deliberate or merely incompetent.
    I remember reading somewhere that a number of NCO bodies retrieved from the WW1 trenches had bullet wounds in the back...
  5. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    Not want to appear to be defending them, but a lot of things have to go right.

    1) the forward air controller has to call in the correct co-ordinates
    2) the pilot has hear and remember the correct co-ordinates
    3) the friendlies have to be in the position they reported
    4) the direction/angle the plane is approaching has to be right
    5) the planes aiming system has to be working correctly for those bombs
    6) the bomb has to fly accurately
    7) the wind direction right.

    There is no such thing as precision bombing, you only get to see the good ones on TV. For the guys on the ground it's a bit like working doing repairs on a fairway in golf, you have trust the abilities of other golfers to miss you. The pilots know if they make mistake it's going to result in deaths, so cut them some slack. These are the same pilots, that if the plane could potentially crash into a school will try and steer it away, even if it means their own deaths.
  6. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Well said Bungle, however, I do wonder how this would be received if it were US troops regularly killed by UK forces.

    I am sure they'd go mental and wouldn't be so forgiving as we are. No offense meant to our US friends on here, but it's easy to have that attitude when you are the ones dropping the bombs.
  7. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Another factor is that the USAF provide the majority of air support for coalition ground troops; if they're the ones who are in the air most, it stands to reason (cold though it sounds) that they are going to have a proportionally higher level of "mistakes".

    Apparently US ground troops have tranceivers that identify them to US aircraft, but the British Army system is incompatible with the US one (and the MoD have declined to issue US tranceivers to British troops for some reason). So the US troops can be clearly identified by US aircraft but for other nationalities the pilots are reliant on getting up-to-date position information from forward air controllers on the ground. Not easy in a war zone.

    I think this was how those who refused to go over the top and advance on the enemy trenches were "encouraged" - the NKVD used similar tactics at Stalingrad. I don't think it's currently used as a motivational technique among coalition ground troops. :eek:
  8. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    As it happens, someone I know extremely well is in the army and has done 2 tours of Iraq.

    On his second tour he had to work very closely with and American platoon.
    You know what he said about that platoon?
    Absolute Nutters! Didn't know what they were supposed to be doing, couldn't do anything to a schedule. Half the time the Brits were sat waiting for the Yanks to finish their job so they could do the next bit.
    He also said that they were very trigger happy, to the point that if someone (On an allied camp) said hello to them they would have their guns out before you could even say hi back!
  9. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    ^^ They're just trying to make up for being late for the last 2 wars that we were on the same side.
  10. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

  11. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    have any of us ever been in the situation where we are expected to drop the bomb on the opposing force - if not how many of our colleagues may be killed?

    it's easy to criticise, or make what seems an easy judgement, when you (and by that i mean me as well) have never had to actually make the decision.
  12. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Also the coordinates may be correct, but the ground battle may have moved since they were sent. In this particular case I can understand the mistake. When they attacked a UK marked convoy and were never fired upon, then that one was unforgiveable. Well by us, the pilots concerned in that incident are back on active duty.