Backfire: A History of Friendly Fire from Ancient Warfare to the Present Day

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It has been estimated that during the First World War, 75,000 French soldiers were killed or maimed by 'friendly fire', the term commonly used when soldiers are killed in error by their own colleagues or allies. As recently as the Gulf War, the heaviest British casualties suffered in a single engagement were caused when US forces fired at British armoured vehicles, killing nine of the men inside. A quarter of all American casualties in Iraq in 1991 were generated by other American soldiers. How does this happen? ...
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Overview

It has been estimated that during the First World War, 75,000 French soldiers were killed or maimed by 'friendly fire', the term commonly used when soldiers are killed in error by their own colleagues or allies. As recently as the Gulf War, the heaviest British casualties suffered in a single engagement were caused when US forces fired at British armoured vehicles, killing nine of the men inside. A quarter of all American casualties in Iraq in 1991 were generated by other American soldiers. How does this happen? How widespread is it? To what extent is it covered up? In this shocking and revelatory study, military historian Geoffrey Regan presents a disturbing expose of this phenomenon and attempts to answer all these questions.

Covering an impressive sweep of history from the days of Alexander the Great to the twentieth century -- incloding Korea, Vietnam, the Falklands and the Gulf War -- Regan describes the incidents in detail and examines the causes behind them, which can often be traced to human frailty. This engrossing study examines the truth behind the most tragic examples of military incompetence and sheds explosive new light on an ever growing problem.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861055019
  • Publisher: Robson Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 1
Introduction 3
Part I Ground Warfare
1 Ancient and Medieval Warfare 29
2 The Early Modern Battlefield 41
3 The Nineteenth Century 57
4 The First World War 86
5 The Second World War in Europe 122
6 The Second World War in the Pacific 141
7 Ground Warfare Since 1945 152
Part II Air Warfare
8 Air Warfare up to 1939 171
9 The Second World War 177
10 Operation Cobra and Afterwards 200
11 America's Undeclared War With Switzerland 217
12 Air Warfare in East Asia 224
Part III Maintaining Discipline
13 Intentional Friendly Fire 247
Afterword 266
Notes 268
Bibliography 271
Index 273
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