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What offence would an officer be committing if they ordered troops into friendly fire

I couldn't give a toss - at least I'd still be alive - and so would the human beings that the retarded officer had tried to send to their imminent graves. The officer would deserve to die and no amount of laws, regulations would change that.
Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six, as the old saying goes.
 
Long Tan is a good example of FPF and danger close and having confidence in your gunners being able to get the bubble in the right place before firing.
Probably lucky at Long Tan in that they were very close to the Task Force HQ and had pre-arranged fire plans and ranges worked out. That saved though due to the professionalism of there RNZA FOO.
 

theoriginalphantom

MIA
Book Reviewer
In June 1963 a Belgian Air Force C-119 Flying Boxcar was hit by a WP mortar bomb over Sennelager with the loss of 38 lives. A few Belgian paras (about 5) managed to jump safely.

Situation was that three Boxcars took off from Melsbroek (now Brussels airport) with the intention of dropping a company of Paras near Geseke (on Route 1 about 10km SE of Lippstadt) as part of an exercise called (Something) Lance.
Whilst airborne message was passed that drop was cancelled, and it was decided to land at Gutersloh to let the Paras dismount. This required a large left turn over Sennelager ranges. The aircraft were in ATC Hanover airspace, and final control was handed to RAF Gutersloh, who directed them in over Detmold/Sennelager ranges. All mortar firing should have ceased at 1200 but the Belgians swear that their aircraft was hit at 5 minutes after 1200.
A bomb hit the starboard wing and ignited fuel tanks. The crew tried to keep the aircraft aloft, and the dispatchers started to chuck paras out. When the starboard rear door was opened it was seen that it could not be used due to the flames coursing down that side, and so only the port door could be used.

I won't mention the Brit unit involved, but I knew it very well from a few months after the incident. They were on last round of training/exercise prior to returning to UK after a full BAOR tour. There was some suspicion (putting it mildly) that they had continued firing after 1200 in order to use up allotted ammunition.


That reminds me of the near miss when on the air defence range pre gulf training (with drone target) at sennelager. The (sports) parachute plane was in the wrong place and was going across our range from left to right as we heard the command "watch and shoot , watch and SSSTTTTOOOOPPPP, CEASE FIRING" and so on

The RCO needed a sit down
 
There was a horrendous incident in Korea when C Coy 1 A&SH were attacked by Napalm bombs.

There is a good account of the action in the link below, but in these days of Apology=Guilt=Compensation, it's somewhat uplifting to read of the aftermath of the tragedy;
Quote:
It was natural, too, that the accidental air strike should feature prominently in the Press of the world, but both by those who had to endure it, as with those who had the misfortune to inflict it, it was recognised as an accident only too liable to occur under the stress and hazards of war. Mr. Holmes, the United States Minister in Charge, wrote to the Prime Minister to express the deep sense of sorrow of the United States Government and people over this tragedy, and at the same time Mr. R. L. Buell, American Consul-General in Edinburgh, wrote to Lt.-General MacMillan to express his deep official and personal regrets. In the field the Americans made almost superhuman efforts to mitigate the results of the accident. They rushed ambulances to the spot and refused to permit enemy shelling to interrupt the speedy removal and care of the wounded. Their stretcher bearers worked alongside those of the Middlesex and Argylls and they rushed the more seriously wounded 120 miles over mountain roads to the base at Pusan, and the wounded too had no word of criticism for the American airmen.

Many letters of sympathy were received by the Colonel of the Regiment, from the Stirling County Council, from General Sir William Platt, G.B.E., K.C.B., D.S.O., an old friend of the Regiment, from the Colonels of the Royal Scots and Duke of Wellington's Regiment, from the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, the 6th Royal Battalion (Scinde) 13th Frontier Force Rifles and from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, and finally a letter was received from Colonel Charles W. Bicking, U.S.A.F. Commanding 93 D Bombardment Wing (M) (Rear), Castle Air Base, California, with which was enclosed a cheque for 883.85 dollars, a voluntary and spontaneous contribution from the personnel of that Wing for the benefit of the families of those soldiers killed during the incident. Colonel Bicking said: 'It will indicate in small measure our regret, as it will show our deep feeling for our comrades-in-arms.'

The incident closed with Lt.-General Sir Gordon MacMillan's reply, in which, after expressing great gratitude for the generous gift, he said:

'I can assure you that we all understand too well how liable are such mistakes as that of 23rd September 1950 to occur under the stress and hazards of war. Every report I have received from the Battalion, both before and after the incident of 23rd September, has spoken in glowing terms of the wonderful co-operation afforded to them by the United States Air Force and no hard feelings have arisen as the result of this accident. 'I would ask you, therefore, to convey to all members of 93 D Bombardment Wing the assurance that not only has morale in the 1st Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders never been higher than during their period under U.S. Command in Korea, but also that the Regiment's friendship with the United States Air Force personnel can never be impaired by having suffered on one occasion from the risks which are inseparable from operations in modern war.'

The one memory of this action that will never fade from the minds of those who saw it, was the indomitable spirit and leadership of Major Kenneth Muir. His personal courage and determination and the inspiration which they gave can rarely have been excelled in the annals of British military history. Major Muir was awarded the Victoria Cross (posthumous) and the American Distinguished Service Cross (posthumous).
Unquote.

Link: Argylls & Napalm
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
If advancing behind friendly arty you want to be very close so as to deny the enemy the opportunity to set up as fire lifts before the assault ,so a bit of blue on blue may be the lesser of two evils. No simple answer apart from best judgment.
 

Chef

LE
If advancing behind friendly arty you want to be very close so as to deny the enemy the opportunity to set up as fire lifts before the assault ,so a bit of blue on blue may be the lesser of two evils. No simple answer apart from best judgment.
I believe during WWI the French reckoned that if you didn't suffer 5-10% casualties from your own barrage you weren't close enough. I guess for the reasons Molebath points out. One MG could wreak havoc on advancing infantry.
 

Dwarf

LE
I believe during WWI the French reckoned that if you didn't suffer 5-10% casualties from your own barrage you weren't close enough. I guess for the reasons Molebath points out. One MG could wreak havoc on advancing infantry.
By the wnd of WW1 advancing troops would be between 25-50m behind the moving barrage to allow them to get into the enemy trenches before the defenders got into position.

The Germans then held the first line very lightly and defended in depth. As one general rather cynically pointed out, "The first line troops have two tasks, to give warning of the attack and to die in place."

IIRC one of the reasons the Brits took heavy casualties on the first day of the Kaiser's Offensive was because they packed their front line. The result of years of being on the offensive.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
By the wnd of WW1 advancing troops would be between 25-50m behind the moving barrage to allow them to get into the enemy trenches before the defenders got into position.

The Germans then held the first line very lightly and defended in depth. As one general rather cynically pointed out, "The first line troops have two tasks, to give warning of the attack and to die in place."

IIRC one of the reasons the Brits took heavy casualties on the first day of the Kaiser's Offensive was because they packed their front line. The result of years of being on the offensive.

Whilst there's no denying the feeling of utter powerlessness inculcated by the arbitrariness of artillery fire and the absence of cover, second only to AP land mines in my view, I'd rather risk catching a friendly than advance under the nose of a machine gunner who knows his business.
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Selection of line GT plays a big part in Per figure for arty , ability to fire from a flank can allow later lifting of fire. Firing High Angle also assists but cannot be an option if the enemy are deploying arty loc radar (Gunner stuff is always complicated)
 
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