Talk:Friendly fire

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This article is lacking a history section about how forces in the past avoided friendly fire incidents? How about the use of coloured sashes (or even plants tucked into the brim of hats), and then the development highly visible coloured uniforms, both developed to reduce the accidental killing of allies as well as unit recognition by senior commanders. Eg

Hussey Vivian wrote in 1833

Prior to this, the 18th [Hussars], in their pursuit, after their charge, had nearly reached the [farm of Rossomme], and had met with some of the advanced cavalry of the Prussians on entering the road; and, I fear, in some instances, mistakes had occurred. I myself, the next day, saw several men of the 18th lying dead or wounded on the high-road, nearly as far as the farm mentioned (319).

To balance that with two other examples given by Vivian in the same article to show that friendly fire incidents were not just a problem for Prussians:

[My] brigade was at this time so much in advance of all other troops of the British army, that whilst the French were firing grape at us, shot and spherical case were falling amongst us from some of our own guns, those working them taking us for an enemy, and I sent an officer to the rear to correct the mistake (316).


The circumstance here referred to occurred to the 1st hussars of the German Legion, in advancing over the plain near Rosomme, after the last attack of the 10th [Hussars]. I then brought the 1st hussars to the front, and the regiment was trotting across the plain, when suddenly we heard a large body of infantry and cavalry immediately before and advancing towards us. It was too dark to see at any distance; and but for the extraordinary steadiness of the corps, a mistake might have occurred, and very naturally so, as French voices were plainly distinguished, and preparations were made to attack. But it was soon discovered to be a part of the 11th light dragoons, of Sir Ormsby Vandeleur's brigade, which had charged a large body of the enemy, and made some hundreds of prisoners, with whom they were proceeding to the rear.

"The very great disadvantage of a similarity of appearance between British and foreign cavalry." [quoting George Gawler (1833)]

I have above explained the cause of the mistake which had nearly occurred with respect to the 11th light dragoons and the 1st German hussars. This had nothing whatever to do with similarity of dress; but I still quite agree with you in the advantage of a perfect distinction between the dress of our troops and those of foreign nations, and that distinction cannot be better maintained than by the British being clothed in the national colour—red, however much some may think it takes from the appearance of a part of our army. (320–321)

  • Vivian, Hussey (1833), "Reply to Major Gawler on his 'Crisis of Waterloo", The United Service Magazine, pp. 310–324 

This is one article about one battle, there must be wealth of subject matter to be used to build a history section. -- PBS (talk) 12:51, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

I'm sure you'll take this the wrong way, but did you bother to read to the end of the article and click on the link to the List of friendly fire incidents? You'll certainly find more than one battle there.Mdw0 (talk) 13:07, 29 June 2015 (UTC)


The causes of blue-on-blue incidents are not limited to "Errors of position" or "Errors of identification". General "trigger happiness" is also a major cause, particularly with green (unbloodied) forces, and the US military.Royalcourtier (talk) 04:25, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

No matter how trigger-happy a soldier might be, they don't fire on their own troops deliberately - they make an error of identification. Of course they might make this error more often and react with more deadly force, but it is still an error of identification that causes the incident.Mdw0 (talk) 23:35, 28 December 2015 (UTC)


[1] I reverted a recent addition, as this appeared to be largely the author's own opinion albeit sourced by supporting cites from other author's opinion. It appeared at least to me to be a WP:GREATWRONGS piece, as such not encyclopedic content. Bringing it here for further discussion. WCMemail 20:45, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

Maybe some could be worked into other sections, such as the more readily available video-producing technology that prevents suppression of the facts of friendly fire, but it doesn't warrant a new section. The wording is really terrible, and obscures the valid points, constantly referring to how things 'seem' or what is 'ínteresting' and it makes a lot of OR conclusions. Directly quoting the names of the authors of references in the text makes poor reading. The statement should be made, with citations backing it up. Otherwise it looks like cheerleading the opinion of the quoted authors. Mdw0 (talk) 16:05, 10 June 2016 (UTC)


The defining first paragraph currently reads:

Friendly fire is an attack by a military force on non-enemy, own, allied or neutral, forces while attempting to attack the enemy, either by misidentifying the target as hostile, or due to errors or inaccuracy. Fire not intended to attack the enemy, such as negligent discharge and deliberate firing on one's own troops for disciplinary reasons, is not called friendly fire. Nor is unintentional harm to non-combatants or structures, which is sometimes referred to as collateral damage. Training accidents and bloodless incidents also do not qualify as friendly fire in terms of casualty reporting.

Does fire on friendly forces include on neutral forces or only own and allied forces? Is friendly fire only in action and not in training? First sentence source, edit? citation? -Yohananw (talk) 04:22, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

Attacks on neutral forces could count, but I have found in my reading that most definitions bring it back to the intent of the attacker. If the attacker believes they are targetting the enemy, but the people they hit are not the enemy, then that is friendly fire. The source for the definition is the #1 citation. Not every single sentence requires a separate citation. Mdw0 (talk) 08:52, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Doing a Google search on the definition of 'friendly fire' brings up the following for me: "Weapon fire coming from one's own side that causes accidental injury or death to one's own forces." Note that it does say "one's own forces." If there are different definitions, that should be detailed, rather than just, say, adopting the broadest definition found or creating an amalgam of different definitions.     ←   ZScarpia   14:25, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
I'll get back to you when you're capable of a slightly broader commitment than one 'Google search' Mdw0 (talk) 11:43, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
According to Oxford dictionary, the term "Friendly Fire" is defined as: "Military weapon fire coming from one’s own side, especially fire that causes accidental injury or death to one’s own forces." No mention of non-enemy or neutral forces, or a precondition that it must be performed while attempting to attack an enemy. I believe it's safe to say that Oxford dictionary is a reliable source; thus, use its definition and cite accordingly. In other words, as it now stands, the recent edit of the definition by Yohananw is not supported by a reliable source.Ken (talk) 18:16, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

green on blue / blue on green[edit]

is missing --Mattes (talk) 22:56, 14 January 2017 (UTC)