Friendly Fire Deaths on the Rise

May 31st, 2004 - by admin

The American War Library – 2004-05-31 11:36:21

The Michael Eugene Mullen American Friendly-Fire Notebook was established by The American War Library on November 11,1996, This database records estimates of the number of US troops injured and killed by other US forces.

Records have been assembled begining with WW 2 and continuing through the first Persian Gulf War. The trend suggests that the increased firepower of modern war may be increasing the numbers of “friendly-fire” incidents and causing growing numbers of US combat deaths.

In WW 2, approximately one death in five was the result of friendly fire. By the first Gulf War, nearly half of the deaths of US soldiers were attributed to friendly fire.

Friendly Fire Estimates Since WW2

The following are The American War Library’s best estimates on friendly fire casualties (both fatal and non-fatal) based on historic War Dept, Dept. of the Navy and Dept of Defense casualty reports detailing various battle reports.

At best, these are conservative figures. Which is to say, these figures represent the minimal percentages of Friendly Fire casualties on record so far. As additional friendly fire incidents are discovered these figures will increase, not decrease.

War/Campaign Percent Casualties (US Military only)*

World War II 21%
Korea 18%
Vietnam 39%
Persian Gulf 49%

* Both fatal and non-fatal (These figures do not include murders or deliberate or accidental self-inflicted wounds and/or fatalities)

Amicicide: the problem of friendly fire in modern war was a lesser problem in the days of small armies, circumscribed battlefields, and line-of-sight weaponry. In modern warfare, the engagement of friendly forces by friendly fire has become a serious and growing problem. csi/Shrader/shrader.asp