View Full Version : Friendly Fire

18th Apr 2002, 12:08
First let me say that I fully support the Americans in their drive against terrorism, but I have the odd doubt about their way of doing it.
Why is it, for instance, that they seem unable to carry out military operations without killing and/or injuring friendly forces? The latest instance (where Canadian troops were involved) follows a sequence stretching back to the Gulf War and even Vietnam.
Is it simply the 'fog of war', or is it incompetence? Is it, paradoxically, because they try too hard to avoid casualties among their own troops by keeping the fighting at arms length?
Is it just bad luck?
Perhaps it has something to do with what our Navy calls Command and Control. If so, why is the General in charge of operations in Afghanistan, controlling them from a headquarters in Florida?

America without doubt has the most awsome weaponry, but I question if they have the will to use it to any great purpose?
They are better equipt than any other power on the planet, but they still seem to get it wrong far to frequently.

Take the invation of Grenada for example, in they went with C5s,
5,000 marines, the whole shooting match, they managed to lengthen the runway, stay a month or so to what end? The opposition was a couple of dozen local policemen.

It is still a little early for history to judge, but what about Vietnam?
they were fighting against people who could walk day and night
for a week living of a banana skin, but even so?

So back to the point, we have so far Im sad to say at least 22 british servicemen, 3 Dutch ,1 Belgian, 2 Australians,1 New Zealander (SAS) 4 Canadian's Im sure their are more in the last few years. I am of the opinion that they are petrified of any US casualties, but can you seriously fight a war this way?

So with all their might how do they sometimes get it so wrong?

18th Apr 2002, 12:24
There's a thread on this issue on the Military forum which I suspect will garner a fair few relevant replies.

A couple of media stories have pointed at the fact that the weapon or weapons dropped in this latest incident fell from an F16 of the US Air National Guard and not the regular USAF, and question whether the presence of what are effectively reservists flying around with live ordanance with so many friendly troops on the ground is a wise strategy.

In a choice quote from the BBC article linked below, "correspondents say it is the worst accidental bombing of the six-month Afghan campaign". Just how many accidental bombings have there been?


18th Apr 2002, 13:26
Those "reservists" were in the majority in the Gulf War and they didn't do too badly. Dont let their title fool you, they're as good as anybody in the air.

18th Apr 2002, 13:34
Weapons are getting progressively more accurate and destructive. The result is that when mistakes are made more and more lives are lost.

Friendly fire is a reality of all war. Has been for the longest time and always will be. The difference now is that our casualties are now so low when we prosecute a war that we notice 5 or 10 friendly fire casualties where as on D day for example 10 or 20 friendly fire deaths would have been lost in the static and not even noticed.


18th Apr 2002, 13:34
tinyrice, is this when 9 British were killed when their truck was bombed ?

Aaron G. Stryngge
18th Apr 2002, 13:44
Yes, Wino. It also seems to happen most when any there are any American troops around! I can't remember when I last heard of a blue-on-blue that didn't involve American units.

I seem to remember a survey a few years back of NATO forces. Concluded that the Brits were just about the worst-equipped, and the Septics the best-equipped. As for training, the good 'ole US of A came bottom of the league, and Britain top.

Might one conclude that they rely just a little too much on technology?

I note today that they allowed Bin Laden to slip out through their reluctance to put their own men in harm's way, relying instead on Northern Alliance militiamen.

Not much of a record, is it?

18th Apr 2002, 20:09
Its also because the whole world now depends on the USA to actually do their fighting. Somolia comes to mind. we would really like to feed these people, but we don't have the troops to protect the food shipment. Can you come in here and help us please? To a large degree the rest of the world (including Nato) isn't pulling their own weight.

Its hard to have a friendly fire accident if you don't pull the trigger in the first place. Then its just the hostile fire that gets you.

As I have posted in other threads. War is a dangerous thing. Sh#t happens...

So while there have been friendly fire incidents and the percentage may well be increasing, The amount we are able to accomplish for the amount of casualties has become truly Staggering. We defeated Iraq for a couple of hundred lives, and took down AFghanistan for about a dozen lives. Thats Astounding when you think about it, and is also why the friendly fire incidents have become newsworthy.


18th Apr 2002, 20:14
Kill your friends or be killed? Interesting way of looking at it! :D

And if everyone else has you lot do all their fighting for them, can you explain excatly who it was who, as AGS pointed out, let Bin Laden slip through the net?

Wino, it really is time you read grown-up newspapers and got your understanding of military matters from someone other than Tom Clancy.

18th Apr 2002, 20:19

by we I presume you are talking about ALL the allies not just the USA.

And Im here to tell you it was the afghanistan militia who bought the taliban down.

Send Clowns
18th Apr 2002, 21:19
Agreed Wino that over-reliance on US forces and lack of numerical strength in others plays a part. But US servicemen are considered a bit of a joke among UK forces (your senior officers are well-respected, though), though a useful bulk ally. Latest is a complete lack of mountain troops - in a country with more than adequte 10,000 ft-plus mountain terrain to train in. You call in the specialists - from Britain whose proudest height is around 4300 ft.

Someone mentioned Granada. The US went into a British protectorate, with no intelligence (because the 16-man SEAL diving team sent in to look all drowned !!???!!? No time to replace them, as Reagan was in a hurry for no apparent reason). Using a 12-year old Exxon gas station map, they bombed a hospital instead of defence HQ, as it had been built too recently to feature. Their excuse for going in was to protect US students, who were in no danger until rounds started hitting their accomodation. All damage to the building was on the side towards the sea - and Granada had no marine forces.

How's that for friendly fire? No pressure of low numbers, lack of help there. It was only through US paranoia that they attacked an unthreatening country, so no-one would have heped even had the US asked.

Aaron G. Stryngge
18th Apr 2002, 21:34
...waits eagerly and with bated breath for the retort "You would all be speaking German if it wasn't for us" or "We whupped your sorry asses good during the War of Independence"... :D

18th Apr 2002, 21:42
Those who do the bulk of the work will by the laws of statistics get the most screw-ups. Since it is the US who seem to be doing most of the work in the recent conflicts it hardly seems fair to me to slag them off.
As for training just who specificaly are we talking about, what units, I am hearing a lot of generalisations out there. I've seen a few pretty ropey units that weren't US. As for friendly fire I don't accept that there haven't been blue on blue by other nations in recent years. Painful subject, yes you had better believe it, few in the Falklands. Sh*t does indeed happen when you play with pointy things and stuff that goes bang.
National Guard did pretty good in the Gulf War. Lets not cr#p on friends too much, it's not friendly and definitely not polite.

Send Clowns
18th Apr 2002, 21:51
Paterbrat - I haven't heard of any, in 7 years in military environment and 3 years since, have you?

Some of these have been in very unpressured situations too, where there is no excuse. Shooting down of the two US UH-60s over Northern Iraq, around 1994? Just plain trigger-happy. Shot down a "no-threat" aircraft without positively and carefully identifying it.

18th Apr 2002, 22:10
Well....if you read the Grauniad, you'll know that they send RMarines into bits of Afghanistan to find out if the enemy AREN'T there so they can move in!

18th Apr 2002, 22:22
friendly fire isn't...

18th Apr 2002, 22:23
Er... yes. Per Mare Per Terram managed to invade the bit next to the big rock that's also mentioned on the buttons. So yes cock-ups do occur in the best of units.

18th Apr 2002, 22:51
Afghanistan militia brought the Taliban down did they, Nostradamus? - since when were they flying B52s and all the other aircraft that did the softening up first?

And if it was the Afghanistan militia that did it, why did they wait for the allied effort before they did it?

18th Apr 2002, 23:56
In the absense of your requsted retort Aaron G. Stryngge

...waits eagerly and with bated breath for the retort "You would all be speaking German if it wasn't for us" or "We whupped your sorry asses good during the War of Independence

I thought I would throw in a well known quotation given in response, as this thread looks like it is already heading down the mud slinging route

if you cast your minds
back that far and you don't get a historically tainted hollywood version of the truth you may recall your country was torn between which bandwagon to jump on Germany or England. Such unethical dilly-dallying resulted in your showing up in the death throws of ww2 to grab the glory, alas something synonymous with your great nation. Still better late than never

19th Apr 2002, 01:44
Someone said that perhaps the US relies too much on the technology. If we define "friendly fire' as shooting at a non-threatening target then no-one has mentioned the worst friendly fire incident yet. I refer to the downing of an Iranian Mig23 by an 'Aegis' cruiser back in the Gulf War days.

The "Aegis" ships are a miracle of modern technology - designed to defend the battle group from all airborne threats, scanning the skies, to identify and engage multiple targets from among all the contacts received in the centre of an air group operation. Quite how one of these technological marvels mistook a civilian Airbus A300 in cruise for a threatening Mig23 will never be revealed, but it doesn't give one much confidence in the ability of the technology to differentiate between hostile and non-hostile targets does it?

One day, one of these 'friendly' targets might shoot back; perhaps that would focus a few minds on how to avoid such events.

A message to wino - The US were assisted by other forces in Somalia. Forces that managed to deal peacefully with the local citizens. Indeed, it was the Malaysian troops who were able to rescue the US Marines that survived when their helicopter was shot down. You wouldn't have seen them in the movie on the subject then.

Through difficulties to the cinema

19th Apr 2002, 06:51
It aint friendly fire it is - complete incompetance.
Now I do not have the time to quote history or ant other nonsense that is written here.
I have worked with many US Service men. Apart from their inability to drink- they have not learnt the ability of lateral thinking. Something that is not down to the individual I would sasy it is the military ethos. This is more IMHO to senior officers wanting cannon fodder to do as their told. Rather than 700 Thousand medal seakers. Due to the size of our Army we need soldiers who can think around problems, from the lowest rank.

Back to the friendly fire, we are still waiting for an apology after the Gulf War, for the murder of Callsigns from my Battalion. Feeling still run very high about this and I still believe that it is murder untill a public admission from the US and an apology is given. I find it strange that Canada got one within hours.
(Could somebody also let the Channel4 know that the Apache is not an A10, as they screened last night!)

PS thanks for your help in Bosnia, Croatia, oh yeah and a very narrow minded foreign policy for the last 50 yrs. Dont worry the Brits seem to be heading the same way with President Blair.
How about some US peacekeepers on the streets of NI. I wouldnt bring up Somalia by the way.
It is nice to see that your third major ally -is listening to you and withdrawing from the occupied territories - eventually.
For the sake of peace in the world stay out of Iraq.

Right back to work and off my soap box and rant thread.

19th Apr 2002, 07:18
First, my heartfelt condolences to the families of the Canadian soldiers killed and injured in this incident. My thoughts are with them.

Second, revisionist "history" is obviously alive and well in our age or perhaps some posters herein were "educated" by tabloid sensationalists.


Number of US Marines on the island. Far less than 700, not the quite the 5000 quoted above (but I'll grant that sure SOUNDS more interesting).

Hospital bombed instead of headquarters. The Fort Frederick compound (aprox 400 x 100 meters) was the Peoples Revolutionary Army Headquarters on the Island of Grenada. The hospital in question is in that compound. A string of bombs impacted the headquarters with one bomb landing in the parking area between the headquarters and the hospital. But that sounds a little less attention grabbing.

16 seals drowned. Well, 4 were lost in the insertion. The rest, among other things, managed to rescue the Governor General from the PRA on day 1 of the fight. Can't quite recall what nationality he was or why his own country didn't seem to mind him being held and hadn't gotten him out.

Damage to seaward side of "the building" during rescue of US students. Which "building" might that have been? Medical students were rescued from two different campuses and a housing area. And what sort of damage might that have been? There was no naval gunfire used during the operation, the assault was via helo into LZs on campus and no air strikes were made on the campuses.


The poster makes an interesting and valid point. How could a a US warship possibly think that a civilian airliner might be hostile? Flying over a combat zone, directly at them, refuses to respond to radio warnings. I mean it's a civilian airliner right? I'm not defending the Captains actions, I wasn't there. Just suggesting all might not be as it was perceived in the press then. Suicide airliner? Naw, couldn't have been.


Malaysian troops rescue survivors of US Marine Helo shoot down. No Marine helos were lost in Somolia. There were some US Army helo losses, perhaps that what was meant.


RMs are sent in first to make sure it's safe for (I assume Americans). Yeah, and thank gawd they are there........ finally. The USMC was operating there in Nov and even the US Army has been there since Dec, one wonders how they survived without the help. Please note: that's not a crack at the excellent Royal Marines or the other coalition forces but at the misuse of them to embelish a myth.

US allowed Bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora. Since that is presented as a FACT here I presume someone has his current address? Perhaps a telephone number? I heard he's living in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kabul under the name Vito Corlioni but that may just be a rumor.

US used Northern Alliance troops because they were afraid of casualties. Interesting to note previous posts decrying perceived unilateral (that means doing it by themselves) US actions. So which is your concern? When is it permissible to use other than US troops?

Send Clowns
19th Apr 2002, 09:16
So how comes a bomb landing in a car park killed 12 in the hospital (all civilians - in a military compund ??? ) that was, on the film footage I saw, some distance from military HQ, which they missed completely apparently? How come none of the initial SEALs made it ashore, and so no recent intelligence was available? I have heard twice from independent sources that the SEALs "killed 16 of their own people" - the second source said it was by specialist divers drowning. How come the USN attacked the student accomodation, where the people they claimed to be rescuing (who had a couple of days before had a friendly baseball match with the people who they were supposed to be rescued from) were cowering? Those people had been living freely and without fear.

Most importantly of all - how comes America attacked a British protectorate for trying to improve their tourist trade? Is that not the ultimate "friendy fire"?

19th Apr 2002, 09:33
StbD, you may be right about the number of USMC troops on Grenada. The remainder were probably made up by Rangers and 82nd. Airborne. It is generally agreed that the initial invasion force was about 1200, rising within a few days to over 7000.

The SEAL Team 6 (12 members) and 4 ACCT's had planned for a daytime beach insertion. In the event, the drop was carried out at night, in poor weather. 4 SEALS were lost. The remainder of the team managed to swamp the engines of their inflatables, drifted out to sea and were eventually rescued by USS Caron.

Not only was US Intelligence sorely lacking in the map division (using an Exxon map for example) and therefore having to have maps flown in later, but also in communications. One unit of the 82nd. put in a long distance phone call to Fort Bragg to ask for a C130 gunship.

Fort Frederick was not the headquarters of the PRA. That was Fort George (see below). The general hospital is in St. George's.

Fort Frederick is the location of the National Emergency Relief Organisation (I don't know if it was in 1983), which was set up to provide a centre of organisation in case of severe national diaster such as hurricane or volcanic eruption.

Fort George (renamed Fort Rupert in honour of Maurice Bishop's father) is now the Police Headquarters, and was where Maurice Bishop and his supporters were shot. It was named back to Fort George after the conflict.

The US intended to hit Fort Frederick but mistakenly bombed Fort Matthew, just a few hundred yards to the north, which was being used as a mental hospital at the time of the attack.

Forts Geroge and Frederick are on opposite sides of the entrance to The Carenage (harbour).

Now, what were you saying about getting your facts right?

19th Apr 2002, 09:56
Send Clowns,

Lets lay out credentials first. I WAS THERE. Less than 24 hours after the bomb fell.

The bomb hit the parking area. Since you ask the question I presume you have no idea of the blast effect of a MK82 500 lb bomb. Please note the dimensions I gave in my earlier post. The Hospital was an old wooden building, not much protection offered.

I have no idea what film footage you saw. There were no reporters on the island at that time. Therefore, nobody to have shot the film before the damage was largely cleared away.

"How come none of the initial SEALS made it ashore" Errm, which part of my previous post did you not understand? 16 in the unit, 4 lost in the insertion leaves 12 by my math. Again, I don't know who your "indepent sources" are but I refer you to that portion of my post which discusses revisionism. Further, I would point out that unlike the popular saying, History is not usually written by the victors, it is written by people with axes to grind.

"How come the USN attacked the student accomidation?" Um, they didn't. Which student accomidation anyway? There was student billeting so to speak at both campuses and an off-campus site. What portion of the USN is supposed to have attacked them? Neat story about the baseball game. I hadn't heard that one. "Living freely and without fear" Says who? Did someone take a poll? The ones I saw were damned glad to be getting off that island.

Now to your "most important of all question." Forgive me but I must answer with a question of my own: How come the British Government allowed a Protectorate to turn into a hellhole in which it's citizens were murdered by a "government" with closer ties to Cuba and revolution in South and Central America than to the UK?

The only troops on the island were Peoples Revolutionary Army... which should give you pause for thought in your "British Protectorate" claims..... and the Cubans.

Now lets turn to what we found on the island. It was being used as a transhipment point for weapons, ammo, and other military equipment heading for South and Central America and warehouses full of the stuff were confiscated. Now what exactly would a British Protectorate be doing that for?

Perhaps if the UK would have carried out it's responsibilities to it's "Protectorate" and more importantly, it's Protectorates neighbors a little more seriously, there would have been no need for intervention.

So, you ask is that not "Friendly Fire", I say yes it was. But not on the US's part.

19th Apr 2002, 10:17

The phone call you mention was made by 2nd ANGLICO (Marine Air and Navaal Gunfire Liason Company) to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in order to obtain an air strike from US Navy A-7s as the FACs did not have the Navy frequencies (a screw up, I'll grant you). The message when rapidly up and down the chain (amazing) and the A-7s switched to the FAC freq.

Fort Freddy was the Headquarters of the PRA in Oct 82. I still have a flag liberated from one of the Staff Cars.

Fort Rupert was also the police headquarters at that time as I recall. Richmond Hill Prison was just downhill from Fort Freddy and was the scene of many of the executions. A disgusting sight inside.

The US intended to hit Ft Freddy, did hit Ft Freddy. One bomb went "long" by about 50 yards and struck as I decribed previously. You are correct that the hospital involved was in fact a mental hospital.

So, my facts as stated are correct but I thank you for your other information. My intention was to try and bring the slagging down to a reasonably factual scale.

El Grifo
19th Apr 2002, 10:17
Hey I realise I am only El Grifo and not the illustrious "Nostradamus" but I started a identical thread about 20 mins before he did. Pecking order I guess. Anyway for what its worth, here it was :-

Freindly Fire

Can somone tell me what it is about the damned American Airforce that causes them to attack and kill their own troops, or troops allied to them, time after time after time.

We all know of their Hotshot Flyboy, Top Gun, Hollywood attitude, that is legendary. its just that no other Airfoce has a record of such carnage. Things are simply getting out of hand.

Am I not correct to say that friendly fire was responsible for more deaths in the Gulf War and the Bosnian Conflict, than enemy fire.

Are they going for a new record in the Afghan War/Conflict.

This is a disgraceful reflection on what is supposed to be a Professional Fighting Force

After reading some of the replies on Nostradamus' thread, I would like to offer the opinion, that in view of the myriad cockups in most of the major conflicts over the last decade or two it is clearly obvious, that the american fighting forces are not the professional fighting machine they obviously think they are.

it is truly a sad reflection on both the quality of training and the collective "personality" of the people involved

Send Clowns
19th Apr 2002, 10:24
See Huggy's post for mre detailed discussion of the hospital hit. I don't have the source in front of me, he obviously does.

You were there - well so you saw a very small part, and heard the rumours. You did not do any journalistic research. I admit the latter can be flawed, but so often are the rumours, and even your memory. The footage I saw was modern helicopter-shot film footage of the positions of both buildings. The sources were a book and a Discovery or History Channel, don't remember which, documentary on the war. Journalism, but reputable, and the simple fact of 16 men drowning is simple to confirm if you have the research resources of a TV company or a writer.

The shell holes in the apartment block where the students were staying were still clearly visible whe footage was taken. They were towards the sea - only US forces could fire from that side.

The students interviewed had been taken by surprise at the attack. They had had unrestricted movement, had been keen to study in Grenada. They had felt no threat until the attack. Their baseball team had played a team from the visiting Cuban workers and service personnel (as baseball is not common in Grenada, but is in Cuba, this seems logical).

How supremely, disgustingly arrogant of the US to demand that a country be invaded because of association with Communists. The communist regime in Cuba is far better for the general population than the US-backed Batiste regime was, a murderous fascist bunch who ruthlessly supressed the poor, but made Cuba a nice holiday hangout for the US rich. They were much more suppressive than the Grenada government (you fail to justify your assertion that they were murderous), as were many governments suported by th US just because they were "anti-communist". The People's Revolutionary Army were local troops, the Cubans invited forces. You can't justify invasion just because they invite Communist forces in, not British.

The final justification was the building of a new airport. The US claim that this had "no conceivable civilian purpose" was an obvious, lame excuse. The real problem was they used Cuban workers, and Grenada was a fairly successful communist state (as was Cuba, until US sanctions bit). Much of the money for the project was European, so our banks were obviously convinced that tourism would pay back the loans, our governments that a decent 10 000 ft runway was justified. The US never asked us.

The US has poured weapons into South and Central America. They wanted to pour weapons into the Balkans. Your citizens have paid for terrorist weapons in Norhtern Ireland for God's sake.

The US, Germany and France particularly have armed some nasty regimes. Some the UK has supplied have been less-than-perfect. Clean up your own shi't andpressureyour own allies before attacking another nation on that score.

19th Apr 2002, 10:30
Sorry, StbdD, you are not correct about the bombings of the Forts. You can see the remains still. Fort Matthew is a wreck. Fort Frederick is unscathed. There is still some small-arms damage evident to Fort George, but not much, and an exterior building received some damage.

You are very much mistaken about Fort Frederick being the PRA's HQ. That was Fort George/Rupert. (Why can I never type the name "Rupert" without laughing?)

I refer you to http://www.forts.org/history.htm which has some very good history and photos.

Send Clowns
19th Apr 2002, 10:34
Agreed, Huggy. That is what I saw on the documentary footage. The explanation given was that Ft Matthew was not marked on the map the US services were using. Poor/out-of-date intelligence - ask the Chinese about that one.

19th Apr 2002, 10:44
SC, I can well believe that Fort Matthew was not marked on the map they were using if it was, indeed, an Exxon tourist map. Those maps are all over the Caribbean. They are little give-away things that show no detail at all and are totally useless, even to most tourists. I don't know of many tourist maps that show the location of mental hospitals.

El Grifo - no need to get the hump. Actually, Nostradamus' thread pre-dates yours by a full 20 hours.

Since you've transferrred your initial posting over here, how about saving Danny's bandwidth and server space and deleting your thread?

19th Apr 2002, 10:48
Send Clowns,

If you want to sling comments like "Supremely Disgustingly Arrogant" around in what was turning into an interesting debate you'll have to do it by yourself. I'll not stoop to that and I suspect you wouldn't either in a face to face conversation. If I have given offense in my post to you I appoligize.

Your call.

19th Apr 2002, 10:58

The B52s did indeed carpet bomb a few mountain ranges, they managed to turn lots of big rock's into little rock's.

Why wont the US forces fight on the ground now? why is it that their are 1500 of H M marines 10,000 feet up mountains, looking in caves, doing the hard work and no U S forces? I'LL tell you why again " the us are terrified of getting casualties" The public in America cant bear it, the scar's from Vietnam are still raw.

Send Clowns
19th Apr 2002, 10:58

Do you seriously feel that disagreement with a country's political ideology is reason for military invasion? You would get little agreement in Western Europe, and see why the post-WWII USSR had genuine fear of US aggression.

I described US behaviour as I see it. The description is just as apt for US behaviour towards Cuba - a nation that would have a successful economy without US sanctions. The US even tried to institute penalties for multinationals' US operations if their non-US operations traded with Cuba, a disgraceful breach of international law and natural justice.

19th Apr 2002, 11:36
StbdDn posted a perfectly reasonable rebuttal. Hug Monster and Send Clowns have demonstrated their feelings over the Americans more than clearly. Ok guys you don't like them, you think that they are incompetant and have said so time and time again, it's getting more strident and unpleasant with each posting.
You two obviously have your views to which you are entitled, and you obviously both don't like any opposition to those views.
It's just a thought, but aren't both forces supposed to be on the same side. With allies like you two I would be giving serious second thoughts to even being in the same pub. Do us all a favour and cut us some f#cking slack!!

Send Clowns
19th Apr 2002, 17:12
Stbd posted a defence of the invasion of a tiny island state by the most powerful state in the world simply because the latter did not like the political ideology of those invited into that island state. Please define "perfectly reasonable".

19th Apr 2002, 17:19
Probably the description of an emotion or state of being that you display little of SC. Wouldn't bother to try with you.

Send Clowns
19th Apr 2002, 17:28
So, New York invites a convicted terrorist - who's political views were that I and any of my fellow servicemen (when I served) could legitimately be killed for his political gains, in a free, democratic country - to lead a parade. At any time NY hosts many of his fellow conspirators.

I think the UK has a far more legitimate grievance against these men that the US has against the Cuban military. Cuba has never attacked th US, in fact the US attacked Cuba.

By StbdD's logic Britain would be completely justified in invading New York.

And you imply I am the unreasonable one, Paterbrat :confused:

19th Apr 2002, 17:28
SC, what got the USA twitchy (to say the least) was the building of a new airport on the island.

That they did not consult HMG about their invasion was rude at best, a gross insult to an ally. They also cause much nervousness around the Caribbean generally.

After Gair (a religious nut and amateur astrologer among other peculiarities) was removed, a Communist regime took power. Nobody was particularly worried about this as Grenada has no strategic importance at all. But when elements of Bishop's Government began falling out among themselves, and things got just a tad unstable, Reagan saw the opportunity to salvage a little national pride which had been rather dented.

Washington announced (wrongly) that the new airport was intended for military purposes. In fact, Cuba had been assisting the island in developing its tourism industry, which was in the late 70's and early 80's very rudimentary. The deal was that Cuba would put shedloads of money in, and reap quite a bit of the profit, since Cuba itself, though a lovely spot, is blacklisted by the Americans (even the cigar-smoking ones).

The new airport is named the Port Salines International Airport (PSIA). When you visit Grenada you fly into PSIA. It is the second airport built in Grenada and superceded Pearls Airport in Grenville.

In former days, all persons going by air to Grenada had to go through Barbados or Trinidad and Tobago. Night landings were forbidden by civil aeronautics authorities on Pearls runway. This is because of the high hills, mostly north, south and west. Passengers and tourists were forced to make connections before sunset or spend the night in Barbados or Trinidad. The visitor usually flew to Barbados, stayed overnight and got on a LIAT flight to Pearls Airport, poor sods. If anyone thinks LIAT are bad now, they were 10 times worse back then.

Pearls Airport above Grenville is 23 miles from St. George's, the capital. This usually meant the visitor had to take a tortuous hour ride on bus or taxi to St. George's or Grand Anse where the hotels are clustered. And when luggage did not get transferred, too bad; the visitor had to go back to Pearls.

Obviously a modern civilian airport was urgently needed. The project would provide full-time work during construction. The related investments in new skills and infrastructure were waiting, along with increased import and export traffic, not to speak of tourism. The United States made its accusations; specifically opposition to the airport for Cuban/Soviet refueling, support facilitation and trans-shipment potentialities. The long 9,000 foot runway could be used for military purposes. Plessy Ltd. stated that the 9,000 foot runway "is designed to the standards and practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization."

“A statement from the British electronics company Plessey on 1 November listed eleven facilities that a military airbase would need: a parallel taxiway arrangements for dispersed parking radar hardened aircraft shelters for protection against bomb blast a secure set of underground fuel tanks
underground weapons storage surface to air missile sites or other anti-aircraft defence perimeter security an ‘operational readiness platform’ with rapid access aircraft engineering workshops major stores and aircraft arrester gear.

None of these items existed at Point Salines, Plessey said.

The Managing Director of Plessey Airports Limited (U.K), wrote a letter to The Times [of London]. In the letter from D.S. Collier, 8 November 1983, the Plessey executive denied any military purposes for the airfield by pointing out the vulnerability of the fuel storage facilities erected above ground. He explained the noticeably acute shortage of tourist beds by asserting that hotel developers were holding back until the airport was completed.

Point Salines International Airport opened 28 October 1984 for jet aircraft and night landings. The opening came nearly 5 years to the day after groundbreaking and one year, three days after U.S. forces landed. The U.S. sent nearly $20 million and Canada about $5 million for the $71 million project that had been about three-quarters completed by Cuba.

Send Clowns
19th Apr 2002, 17:34
Thanks Huggy, fits with what I remember

19th Apr 2002, 17:42
Echoes of 'friendly fire' die away.

Celtic Emerald
19th Apr 2002, 18:24

'Friendly Fire'

Not such a good euphenism for how the relations and friends are going to feel when there sons and mates return in bodybags.

It takes a second to drop a bomb, it takes a lifetime for the people who have to live with the consequences of these mistakes to get over it knowing not only that their loved ones died but died in vain at the hands of their own who were supposed to support & protect them. No matter how much in error it might have been, it's cold comfort for those left to cope with the loss for the rest of their lives.

I just love the way military personnel dress up killing in such bland language like 'collateral damage' etc. My these people must have specialist degrees in marketing in 'The art of Bullshitting and Understatement' to avoid turning peoples stomach & public opinion against them. :mad:


19th Apr 2002, 18:47
I have to agree CE, there is no such thing as friendly fire, and the living with the consequences is done by both the sufferers and those who live with the rememberance of the mistakes made.
There is no real way to dress up the destruction of life with pretty words. The smell of blood and sight of mangled flesh are once seen never ever forgotten. But then again war has never been a pretty thing has it.:( :(

Send Clowns
19th Apr 2002, 20:32
Also, Em, so they can live with themselves. Remember even killing those you intend to is not an easy thing we ask of the young men of our armed services. The military don't usually sem to use the term anyway, rather "blue on blue". I suspect "friendly fire" comes from the media, though am ready to be corrected.

19th Apr 2002, 20:54
Having read through the threads, I wanted to add a few more thoughts of my own.
Firstly I think that we are all agreed that war is HELL.

Their is no argument about the US having by far the biggest force in the world, now that the russians have dropped out, so I will concede that they are more likely to have the majority of "errors"

However I still lean toward's incompetence, or even neglegence.
Sadly they have scored some spectacular own goals in killing and injuring their own side as well.

Remember the marines in lebanon? they were warned by every intelligence agency that the most likely attack would come from a car bomb, what happens? a mercedes rolls up gets through the supposed guards and well...........

Then their was the ship in Aden, every warship captain will tell you the first thing you do is send out picket boats, you dont let an inflatable boat loaded with high explosives within range do you?

I am sure Hugmonster will provide the details and correct me, his piece on grenada , you must agree was excellent.

WINO the war in iraq was won in the air the us army got involved,
and managed to kill more allied soldiers than the iraqes.

19th Apr 2002, 21:45
Sorry, Nostradamus, I know nothing about the ship in Aden. I knew quite a bit about the Grenada action, since I lived in the region for quite a while, and was only one island up from Grenada for a year. Spoke to a lot of people, saw the sights, saw the remains. And for this discussion, confirmed one or two details on the 'net.

Incidentally, a thought struck me whilst cooking the dinner...

StbdD stated that the US forces intended to hit Fort Frederick, and he appeared convinced that it was the PRA HQ. It wasn't. But perhaps, US Intelligence for this action being what it was, perhaps the rest of their forces were also convinced it was the HQ?

In which case, not only did they intend to attack the wrong target (PRA HQ was Fort George), and did minimal damage to the wrong target, but they also flattened even the target (Fort Matthew) they didn't intend to hit! Not good...

20th Apr 2002, 03:32
Nostradamus - If your sole perception of the allied air offensive against the Taliabn was, "to turn big rocks into smaller rocks" then I think you are definitely missing something!:rolleyes:

20th Apr 2002, 09:05
Interesting thread. Try putting yourself in their place.

Picture the scene, a briefing room in NI early 80’s. Call sign 2-3 Charlie is being briefed along with two other call signs about an illegal crossing over a river in NI. That night we’ll be putting in an ambush to intercept an incursion by PIRA.

Tension starts to mount when we learn that this is hot Intel and we kit-up and board the Lynx.

Several dummy drops later and we’re in the sticks and patrolling covertly into the ambush position. We are taking great care not to be spotted by the locals and looking out for booby traps and ambushes. As we get closer we shift into a very high state of readiness. We’re all so alert; it could all get nasty in a split second.

Two colleagues and I move forward and recce the ambush scene. The first thing I realise is that the trees overhanging the kill zone render the schermuly flares we’ve got useless. We can’t use flare pots because we haven’t got any because we left them at base to save weight. We’ll have to use the mini flares (they illuminate very quickly) and IWS’s to identify the targets. SNAFU.

The ambush is in and we settle down and get cold wet and tired.

3AM I heard the scrape of thorn against clothing. Straining my ears I could make out muffled whispers. It’s so dark I can’t see the weapon in my hands let alone the crossing. I nudge the man lying next to me and the signal is passed down the line. I switch on the IWS and the high pitch whine sounds incredibly loud in the darkness. I raise the sight to my eye and realise I’m shaking so much that I can hardly look through it. I try to make out if the people are carrying weapons. The green snow that makes up the picture in the IWS is not helping, I should have asked for an IR torch. SNAFU I put the IWS down and slowly get into the fire position, the safety slides off silently, I peer through the SUIT and the familiar red pointer is glowing and in a strange way I find it a comfort. I’m still shaking but not so bad now. I hear a pop to my right and the light is dazzling, the mini flare shows three men mid river two with weapons. The challenge is given “army stop or I fire”, another pop, another flare and the startled man closest to me turns towards me with the weapon, I have the pointer of the SUIT sat centre visible mass, just like they teach you. I start to squeeze the trigger I have only three other soldiers who are my match or peer when it comes to marksmanship in my Battalion, this man is dead and he doesn’t know it. I feel the trigger sear moving under the constant squeeze of my finger. The shout “hold your fire” finally registers on my brain and I stop the squeeze, just.

A colleague has got a better view of the scene and realises that the men are poachers and have a net strung between two poles that they are putting across the river to catch salmon. He gave the command to hold fire three times I only heard the last one.

Fifteen minutes later with the area secure, the enormity of the mistake I have nearly made sinks in. Now the shakes really start.

Present day.
My heart goes out to the Canadian troops and the pilot of the F16 involved in this terrible tragedy. Lessons will be learned, procedures put in place. If I were serving out there I would still want the men and women of the US armed services watching my back.

20th Apr 2002, 09:51

Of course I dont think the objective of the bombing was to make big rocks smaller, I merely pointed out that, the bombs dropped by the B52s from the stratosphere didn't actually achieve much.

20th Apr 2002, 11:06
And on what evidence do you base that stunning conclusion Nostradamus?

20th Apr 2002, 11:24

"How Come No One Fights in Big Famous Nations Anymore?" They Ask

Washington, D.C. (SatireWire.com) — A delegation of American high school students today demanded the United States stop waging war in obscure nations such as Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and instead attack places they've actually heard of, such as France, Australia, and Austria, unless, they said, those last two are the same country.

"Shouldn't we, as Americans, get to decide where wars are?" asked sophomore Kate Shermansky. "People claim we don't know as much geography as our parents and grandparents, but it's so not our fault," Josh Beldoni, a senior at Fischer High School in Los Angeles, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Back then they only had wars in, like, Germany and England, but we're supposed to know about places like Somalia and Massachusetts."

"Macedonia," corrected committee Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan.

"See?" said Beldoni.

Beldoni's frustration was shared by nearly three dozen students at the hearing, who blamed the U.S. military for making them look bad.

"I totally support our soldiers and all that, but I am seriously failing both geography and social studies because I keep getting asked to find Croatia or Yemvrekia, or whatever bizarre-o country we send troops to," said Amelia Nash, a junior at Clark High School in Orlando, Fla. "Can't we fight in, like, Italy? It's boot-shaped."

Chairman Levin however, explained that Italy was a U.S. ally, and that intervention is usually in response to a specific threat.

"OK, what about Arulco?" interrupted Tyler Boone, a senior at Bellevue High School in Wisconsin. "That's a country in Jagged Alliance 2 run by the evil Queen Deidranna. I'm totally familiar with that place. She's a major threat."

"Jagged...?" said Levin.

"Alliance. It's a computer game."

"Well, no," Levin answered. "We can't attack a fictional country."

"Yeah right," Boone mumbled. "Like Grenada was real."

The students' testimony was supported by a cross-section of high school geography teachers, who urged the committee to help lay a solid foundation for America's young people by curtailing any intervention abroad.

"Since the anti-terror war began, most of my students can now point to Afghanistan on a map, which is fine, but those same kids still don't know the capitals of Nevada and Ohio," said Richard Gerber, who teaches at Rhymony High School in Atlanta. "I think we need to cut back on our activities overseas and take care of business at home, and if that means invading Tallahassee (Fla.) or Trenton (N.J.) so that students learn where they are, so be it."

"I've always wanted to stick it to Hartford (Conn.)," said Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. "Oh ****, is my microphone on?"

The hearing adjourned after six hours. An estimated 2,000 more students were expected to hold a march in the nation's capital, but forgot which city it was in.

Copyright © 1999-2002, SatireWire.

20th Apr 2002, 11:31

The caves and mountains were searched AFTER the pounding, and found to be empty, apart from evidence that the enemy had been their some time before. I do however think that it may have had the desired effect, and scattered the taliban over the nearest border.

While most of us are having a sensible discussion, why is it you find it very hard to say something constructive? you tell me how many taliban were killed by the B52s? you have difficulty in stringing together more than five lines, yet you have not, said anything to back up your claims that the bombing was a success?

All you have managed to point out is that the taliban dont have B52s, your a genius if you dont work for the US intelligence agency, you ought to apply your a natural.

21st Apr 2002, 00:25
Nostradamus - it is my belief that you have made sweeping statements that cannot be substantiated, (Oh, and there is no call for you to get personal, by the way, if you come onto JB and make such statements you can expect to have them challenged).

You said the Americans did not remove the Taliban, the Afghanistan fighters did - well the Northern Alliance, (which was only a lose collection of tribes before American/Allied intervention) and others had been trying for years without success but when the bombing started the Taliban were broken up and have since become fairly ineffective, hence the empty caves - I put that down as a sign of success for the bombing, without it the Taliban would still be in power today.

For whatever reason you wish to belittle the allied air forces achievements yet without those efforts Afghanistan would be in much the same situation today as it was a year ago.

Everything I have said is constructive but in disagreement with you - you won't always get everything your own way in this life.

22nd Apr 2002, 22:29
A quote I read from a British WW2 veteran:

When the Germans fired, the British ducked. When the British fired, the Germans ducked. When the Americans fired, everybody ducked!!

El Grifo
22nd Apr 2002, 22:40
Original Posting edited out of respect for Flapsforty.

I will retire and observe the trading of insults.

Back to the Sapphire Pool


23rd Apr 2002, 09:19

Go back and check your incorrect facts again, I did not write the bit you quoted.

Your appology for yet another assumption is accepted.

23rd Apr 2002, 10:53
WE are waiting for the result's of your observation's Mr grifo,
you edited out your piece because as the many E mails told me,
you got it WRONG again , your quote, which you wrongly attributed to me was in fact from paterbrat was it not?
I am still awaiting your appology.

El Grifo
23rd Apr 2002, 12:43
Alas - - - Two Villians Exposed.

The Siamese Twins of the Targeted Personal Insult.

Sorry Flaps, Defensive Move Only

23rd Apr 2002, 12:46
Just noticed TDL's post.

As far as I know, there has been no apology from the USAF for the callsigns killed by the A-10's off the Basra road, it seems to have been quietly forgotten. Well, I am here to assure you, it hasn't been forgotten by the men with hackles, far from it.

One of our SPSI's was very very close to the men that were killed, and I know, having seen him do it, he tortures himself, as to whether or not, he could have done something different on that day, to prevent their deaths. Obviously he couldn't. but that's not the way he sees it. He is a very good man, and a superb soldier, even if he never had any of his own blimmin cigarettes when we were on exercise.

People forget, the casulaties of so called "friendly fire" are not just the direct victims. Emotional "collateral damage" reaches very far indeed


23rd Apr 2002, 15:12

I am sure paterbrat will be along shortly, to argue the VILLAIN point with you, I can't wait, the same goes for the apology you owe me for your "latest gaff" of misquoting me.

El Grifo
23rd Apr 2002, 16:24
For the sake of the others on the thread, please lets bring an end to this personal bickering. I agreed to delete my earlier posting when asked to, by powers greater than yourself.

The idea behind it, was to try and prevent personal issues get in the way of a fairly good debate.

You and I (and now everyone else on the thread) know fine that it was paterbrat who posted the unsavoury personal comments about myself. I just used an old courtroom ploy to get you to say it, rather than say it myself and have the wrath of Nostro descend on me yet again, in defence of his amigo.

I do not feel bad about this. both Paterbrat and yourself are the masters of personal insult, he worse than you. There are more intelligent methods of debate

I have no doubt you will want the last word and I hand it to you freely. say whatever you want about me, there will be NO reply.

Catch you on a happier thread

El Grifo :cool:

4th May 2002, 12:41
I have always admired the way Nigerian Armed forces handled the war in Sierra Leone. The capture of Freetown was done using basic house to house fighting. The enemy has similar to the taliban and al queda, and had similar combat experience, as a lot of the rebels had seen combat in Liberia earlier in the decade.
One should be ready to take casualties with this kind of war, but that is part of the job.
I don't remember hearing about any friendly fire incidents.
Even though, there wasn't an significant technology on display during the conflict (especially in the air), The troops were very effective in wiping out the rebels. More effective than America has been in wiping out Al Qaeda.
I think the American generals should focus more on using the 'grunts' more effectively and leave the technological display for the next Paris airshow.

1st Jul 2002, 16:48
looks like another classic, could be a record, could even be a wedding party:mad:

Mac the Knife
1st Jul 2002, 20:23
There were several blue-on-blue incidents in the Falklands. Here's one:

"3 Para came ashore in the first wave at Port San Carlos at 6am on the morning of 20th May. Little initial contact was made with the enemy appart from shooting at some passing aircraft. The Paras dug into the horse-shoe of hills surrounding the bay and started to send out patrols.
Lt. Peter Osborne took such a fifteen man patrol out from A companies position the following day. There had been reports of Argentine special forces units operating in the area, trying to gather intelligence & guide air attacks, and A company was worries that they had as yet not cleared the high ground above them. Indeed during the morning contact was made as a patrol member spotted movement to their front.

A firefight started and a separate patrol from C company also reported a contact the enemy being confirmed exactly at the same grid point. Heavy weapons fire was brought to bear and a number of casualties were taken from enemy machine guns.

C company realised their mistake. They had confirmed their own coordinates as the enemy position. It was a "blue-on-blue" contact. The two para companies patrols had been firing at each other for sixty two minutes before Colonel Pike flew to the area to stop it. By then Artillery had been called in and eight casualties had been taken. Things could have been even worse as the colonels heicopter made a controlled crash landing.

Some major lessons were learnt from the incident with some hasty reorganising of personel at the battalion ops centre."

"Green Eyed Boys (3 Para and battle for Mount Longdon)"
Author: Christian Jennings and Adrian Weale

1st Jul 2002, 21:14
I see that this thread has re-surfaced, and the Mexican weed merchant had still been smarting. Grow up get a life or retreat back to fantasy land, but do get over it. In fact try one of those life brightening frosted drinks on the dockside, then the days won't seem so dull. I do have to agree though, another day another dullard, does about sum it up.

Yes it does appear that somebody opened up a hornets nest when they fired on that recce patrol. It certainly does make the eyes smart when close air support is B52's and Spectre. I imagine it will give pause for thought.

1st Jul 2002, 21:50
Paterbrat are your "mexican weed comments " etc having a pop at me if so could you please clarify for me .

1st Jul 2002, 21:56
The Mexican weed merchant if you remember was the rather excited individual who's final comment before he deleted his thread was that he smoked that and put on some obscure band which apparently helped him drift away to Nivarna and soothed his agitation. Not a pop at you. Thought you remembered? Guess it was a while back though.

1st Jul 2002, 22:02
AH yes pater, the camera panned out or in ROFL , yes I remember that well. havent seen him lately.

1st Jul 2002, 22:43
Must have been bl**dy big AA shells!


Afghan spokesman: Bombing kills civilians at wedding
July 1, 2002 Posted: 6:00 PM EDT (2200 GMT)

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least 20 people were killed and more than 60 injured in Afghanistan when a U.S. plane dropped a bomb on a wedding party as attendees fired into the air in celebration, an Afghan defense spokesman said Monday.

Dr. Gulbudin, the Afghan Defense Ministry's chief of staff, said the information came from Afghan defense officials in the central province of Uruzgan.

A group of U.S. Special Forces conducting different operations overnight Sunday near Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan called in close air support -- B-52 and AC-130 aircraft -- when they were fired on, said U.S. military spokesman Col. Roger King at Bagram air base. But U.S. officials did not confirm the number of casualties.

The aircraft were "engaged by anti-aircraft fire from the ground," King said. The planes returned fire, including dropping bombs.

At the Pentagon, a spokesman said an errant bomb went astray.

The spokesman offered deepest sympathies on behalf of the U.S. government. He said an investigation is under way.

Pentagon officials said they want to determine whether the civilian deaths were from the U.S. bomb or from anti-aircraft shells falling back to Earth.

1st Jul 2002, 23:01
I well remember going into Beirut during a lull in their war. Didn't leave the apron, and waited rather uneasily for our customer to finish business and get the f*** out of Dodge. The tarmac was covered and I mean covered, with spent rounds of every calibre. Copilot and I wandered around having a competition as to who could get the most different calibres and it was twenty something, shrapnel didn't count.

I have often shuddered to think of how much metal was falling from the air over Baghdad in those air raids, that had been fired from 'defenders' on the ground, and certainly was going to hurt whoever it fell on.