Firing Squad and one blank round ?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by old_bloke, Dec 7, 2009.

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  1. Often read about this and always though it was a myth. One of the firing squad was given a blank round , so all those firing had the chance and cop out to say that they they "did not kill" .

    Just seen this on youtube - Anton Dostler getting his "right or wrong" not ours to call but its clear to see the firing squad picking up weapons as they arrive , wonder why :?

    So was a blank used in the British army in WW1 and after?

    GEN Dostler getting shot
  2. Fang_Farrier

    Fang_Farrier LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Think it was a tale told to help ease the conscious of those in the firing squad.

    But the officer pistol used for the coup de grace was definitely a live round and would appeared to have had to been necessary on more than one occasion.
  3. Why not watch the video in slomo and count the rounds?
  4. Why? Surely there must have been loads of blokes more than willing to slot someone. I'd love to be in a firing line squad. It'd give us a right semi on!
  5. Fang_Farrier

    Fang_Farrier LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Why does that not surprise me in the slightest.

    Though find the use of the word "us" slightly disturbing, is there more than one of you in there?
  6. It's a northern thing.

    I would love to shoot someone in the face close up though! :D
  7. Anyone else just get "Rik Rolled" after checking up on a follow up after that YouTube Vid?! :x
  8. There's this thing called recoil . . .
  9. The clip shows the inpact not the actual muzzles!

    And the squad seem to have about turned after the fact?

  10. My bold - Ahh............. the spirit of the Airborne brotherhood. I seemed to recall that there was a queue of volunteers to resolve a 'guilty' verdict following a particularly brutal incident in Angola. Fair play though they were sporting enough not to tie him to a stake :D
  11. I was taking the pish you mong.
  12. In "Forgotten Voices of the Somme"there are a number of remembreances of fireing squads, Captain Maberly Esler MO 9th of the Border Regiment says that only 2 men in the 8 man fireing squad had live rounds in their rifles, and that it was a sergeant that had to go forward to carry out the "coup de grace" poor barsteward
  13. IN the case of Nazi war criminals I should imagine that no-one would wish to think they were firing blanks. I should imagine that anyone who truly couldn't bring themselves to kill someone in cold blood would just aim off.
    It may well have been a different matter in WW1 when soldiers were called upon to execute their own but I believe that the blank round is a myth, I seem to recall reading it in a book once, possibly one lent to me by Old Red Cap if he'd care to comment.
    I also seem to remember reading that the (I think) Guards Company who were stationed at the Tower during WW1 had many problems with men struggling to come to terms with the many firing squad executions they had to carry out.
  14. Found this:

    The firing squad in Britain.
    As mentioned earlier, the firing squad has always been the preferred method of military execution, no British civilian having ever been shot.
    It is not known when shooting was first used as a method of execution in Britain, but there are records of soldiers being executed by shooting during the English Civil War in the 17th Century and Roche's 18th century map of London shows an area adjacent to Tyburn gallows "where soldiers are shot."
    On July 18th, 1743, three members of the Royal Highland Regiment (the Black Watch) were shot at dawn on Tower Green, against the south east wall of the Chapel, by an 18 man firing squad from the 3rd Regiment of Guards. They were Corporals Samuel and Malcolm MacPherson (clansmen, not brothers) who were executed for desertion and Private Farquhar Shaw for striking a superior officer.
    During World War 1, at least 306 soldiers were shot for desertion, cowardice and other offences. Many of these were young recruits who were probably suffering from shell shock. There has been a long campaign to get posthumous pardons for them which came to fruition in 2006 when the Government decided to pardon all of them. A monument to them in the form of an Arboretum containing a statue of an unnamed soldier facing the firing squad has been created at Alrewas in Staffordshire. 2006. Desertion ceased to carry the death penalty after 1930.
    Foreigners convicted of spying in the 1st World War were normally sentenced to die by firing squad, the executions taking place on the rifle range in the Tower of London or in the Tower Ditch in two cases. According to usual practice, the condemned was tied to a chair with a target pinned over his heart and shot by a eight man firing squad from the Scots Guards regiment. One of their rifles contained a blank round. Twelve men were to suffer this fate, 11 during World War 1 and one during World War 2, when on Friday, August the 15th, 1941, Josef Jakobs, a German spy, was executed. It is thought that Jakobs was shot as he was an NCO in the German Army. All other spies captured during World War 2 were hanged at either Pentonville or Wandsworth prisons in London.
    Two American soldiers were executed by firing squad at Shepton Mallet prison during World War 2. They were 20 year old Alex Miranda, who shot his sergeant, for which he was in turn shot on the 30th of May 1944 and Benjamin Pyegate, who had stabbed a fellow soldier to death for which he was executed on the 28th of November 1944. Soldiers convicted of murder (or rape in the case of U.S. soldiers) were hanged either in British civilian prisons or at the U.S. Military prison at Shepton Mallet. For more on British firing squad executions visit
  15. The only problem at close range is the rifle being in recoil and not being able to see the impact. Not an issue with 5.56 though. :twisted: