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View Full Version : Friendly Fire... and how to avoid it?



k-otic
08-11-2007, 11:16 AM
Last night i was playing some Battlefield 2142 and accidentally killed some of my team mates (4 of them) with a nade.:(
I was asking myself how the hell did they try to avoid friendly fire in real combat?

some examples:

At the battle of the Marshall Islands (specially at Kwajalein island) the americans issued to the soldiers of the 1st and 2nd wave small red&white colored flags to be attached on their backs.

During the campaign in Poland the Germans did paint an all white cross on all of their tanks to avoid friendly fire, after they did find out that most of the polish anti-tank crews did use this marks as aiming point they turned back to the normal white&black Balkan Cross :rolleyes:

someone knows of other methods to avoid friendly fire??

Rising Sun*
08-11-2007, 11:21 AM
someone knows of other methods to avoid friendly fire??


Yeah.

Vietnam era.

Don't throw smoke.

Wrong coloured smoke can't be retrieved. Planes and things fire on it.

Nickdfresh
08-11-2007, 11:58 AM
Using standardized symbols between different formations and even services...

There was an article on Fratricide during the First Gulf War in which a tandem of an M-1 MBT and M-2 Bradley AFV shot up a distant convoy of their fellow US Army soldiers, even though they recognized the American made "deuce-and-a-half" trucks (they thought we had sold them to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War!:mad: ) In any case, after one was killed tragically and several wounded, a white star cluster was sent up. This only intensified the fire because the armor thought this was a flare while while the convoy personnel was told this was their friendly recognition sign in case of the sight of friendly forces.

Finally, a green flare was shot up by chance out of desperation, & the tanks ceased fire as they had recognized that to be THEIR symbol for friendlies...

Drake
08-11-2007, 01:28 PM
Using standardized symbols between different formations and even services...

There was an article on Fratricide during the First Gulf War in which a tandem of an M-1 MBT and M-2 Bradley AFV shot up a distant convoy of their fellow US Army soldiers, even though they recognized the American made "deuce-and-a-half" trucks (they thought we had sold them to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War!:mad: ) In any case, after one was killed tragically and several wounded, a white star cluster was sent up. This only intensified the fire because the armor thought this was a flare while while the convoy personnel was told this was their friendly recognition sign in case of the sight of friendly forces.

Finally, a green flare was shot up by chance out of desperation, & the tanks ceased fire as they had recognized that to be THEIR symbol for friendlies...

Ouch! :shock:

There is probably not very much you can do about FF at all as long as the technology isn't advanced enough to actually make a decision if it thinks the human did it wrong. From what I've heard the FF quote didn't change that much at all since the first world war, it is still a high 2 digit percentage. (~30 something?)
And when it comes to artillery/bombs and frags, well I can't even imagine how you could prevent unwanted damage there as an explosion has the tendency to be uncontrollable and you will always find someone who does precisely the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time.

pdf27
08-11-2007, 02:22 PM
Well for starters you cover it in your mission orders - make sure that you cover neighbouring forces in your Situation-Friendly Forces paragraph, make sure your fire plan is correct and doesn't bring down fire on your own forces.

If you're doing a "seven questions" type combat estimate you also go over the entire plan when you get to question 7 to ensure that you are imposing appropriate anti-fratricide control measures. This is things like report lines, boundaries across which you aren't allowed to engage the enemy, signals for switch fire, limits of exploitation and the like.

When it comes to just not killing your mates with a grenade however (or shooting them in the back) it's far simpler. Communicate what you're doing, train together so you instinctively know what's happening next, and don't be a total retard.

Panzerknacker
08-11-2007, 02:28 PM
Put a flag over you vehicle, the easiest way of not being killed by a stuka.

http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/9477/pziii15ws.jpg

Nickdfresh
08-11-2007, 03:06 PM
Put a flag over you vehicle, the easiest way of not being killed by a stuka.

http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/9477/pziii15ws.jpg


Yeah, but what about these: http://www.acesofww2.com/soviet/DONNO.jpg
:D

Nickdfresh
08-11-2007, 03:08 PM
Actually, this is a particularly sad incident of friendly fire involving AH-64 Apaches in 1991 I viewed on the Discovery Channel some time ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8-wr8_qRBQ

The lesson of how to avoid FF in this situation: the coach stays on the sidelines and stays out of the game...

Panzerknacker
08-11-2007, 03:56 PM
Yeah, but what about these: http://www.acesofww2.com/soviet/DONNO.jpg
:D


Sorry Nick, I cant see the image. :neutral:



Actually, this is a particularly sad incident of friendly fire involving AH-64 Apaches in 1991 I viewed on the Discovery Channel some time ago:



Incident repeated by A-10 Thunderbolts in 2003.

Nickdfresh
08-11-2007, 09:25 PM
Sorry Nick, I cant see the image. :neutral:

.

It's an Il-2 of the Soviet Red Air Force...;)

Panzerknacker
08-12-2007, 04:27 PM
It's an Il-2 of the Soviet Red Air Force...


Ok, not as deadly as a devoted tank killer as Stuka but aniway it was no nice to saw that russian attacker if you was a panzerman.

k-otic
08-13-2007, 11:27 AM
I think the most famous method to avoid friedly fire was the invasion stripes for operation overlord in 1944 :mrgreen:

Carl Schwamberger
08-14-2007, 10:26 PM
I think the most famous method to avoid friedly fire was the invasion stripes for operation overlord in 1944 :mrgreen:

Those were helpfull. But... shortly before dawn on 6 June the Naval Gunfire Spotter planes, were flying at low altitude & in a massed formation following a navigation plane across the Channel. Despite aircraft recognition training, the stripes, information on the aircraft tranisiting and routes, and a system of colored flares for indicating friendly units, the antiaircraft gunners on a ship opened fire. Several of the planes were shot down and the entire group scattered. Most were subsequently unable to find their station that morning thus degrading the effectivenss of the NGF on the first day.

I dont recall the exact numbers for the 1991 Gulf war, & dont have time to look it up this evening. From memory: of approximatly 125 US dead between 25% & 30% were offcially attributed to fratricide. A couple of examples:

During the battle of Kajafi a US Marine reconissance unit was attacked by a A10 aircraft while skimishing with an Iraqi tank column at night. A Mavrick missle destroyed one of the LAV25 vehicals, killing one and wounding several others.

During the attack into Kuwait & Iraq a troop of attack heliocopters became uncertain about the identity of some vehicals in the sector of the ground unit they were supporting. Several minutes of communication between the troop, the helo squadron commander & HQ and the ground unit commanders failed to identify one of the vehicals. The helocopter brigade commander thought the vehicals in that area enemy and became impatient. He transmitted a direct order to fire on the vehical. The squadron commander launched a missle and hit a Bradley.

Before anyone explains incidents like these as due to the 'Fog of War' let me say that training is dangerous.

I spent the bulk of my career in the artillery. Typically a battery shot a mimimum of 400-500 projectiles a year and several times that if there was a large scale training exercise. While I was fortunate that none of the batterys I worked in had any incidents there were more than few frightening or tragic actions nearby. We operated under a detailed & complete set of safety regulations, which were ernestly enforced. Yet serious mistakes were not uncommon.

Technology was no solution. In 1995 near the end of my career an aircraft squadron was practicing dropping laser guided bombs on the same impact area as we were using. After a full morning and half a afternoon of sucessfull bombing runs, one of the 500 lb bombs dropped at a steep angle and hit the vehical of the team operating the laser target designation equipment. Both officers were killed, and a artillery FO team nearby suffered concussion injuries. The bomb hit roughly 3000 meters off target and a few meters from the spoting team.

Ultimatly safety regulations in three centimeter thick documents, rigid enforcement, long detailed and complex orders, and multiple techincal aids are of no avail if the soldiers operating the weapons loose their situational awareness. Sucumbing to fatigue, the pressure of the moment, or the confusion of others creates the conditions for mistakes.