Om Friendly Fire
The term "friendly fire", referring to the unintentional killing or wounding of friend or ally, is an emotive one which provokes hostility and indignation; it suggests the incompetence, carelessness or stupidity of those who commit it, and excites pity for its victims. But such errors are often unavoidable or the fault of the injured party. Although familiar to the armed forces for centuries, friendly fire came into prominence during and after the Gulf War, a four-month campaign with only 100 hours' ground-fighting, on which the attention of the world was focused and where a host of news reporters were present. There were four incidents in which nine British soldiers were killed and 16 wounded, and 28 others in which 35 American troops died and 72 were wounded. Despite hundreds of similar events which went unreported in both World Wars and in Korea, those in the Gulf War were publicized as though they were the most outrageous calamities in the history of warfare. This book explores "friendly fire" from Ancient Greece to the present, and sets out to put it into military and historical perspective.