Military experts say that death by “friendly fire"--accidental attacks by one’s own forces--is always a risk in war. On Wednesday, the British military said that friendly fire killed nine of its soldiers. Among the friendly fire incidents in the Persian Gulf War:
Feb. 27: During a battle with Iraqi troops, a U.S. Air Force A-10 attack plane mistakenly fires on two armored personnel carriers, killing nine of 13 Britons. “The cruel fact of war is that no matter how many procedures are put in place, this kind of thing does happen,” said British Army Col. Barry Stevens.
Feb. 17: Two soldiers killed when U.S. Apache attack helicopter destroys two U.S. military vehicles in a border skirmish.
Feb. 2: U.S. Marine killed in cluster bomb attack on a U.S. convoy.
Jan. 29: Seven U.S. Marines killed in light armored vehicle when U.S. warplane hits Marine reconnaissance vehicle during tank battle along the Saudi-Kuwaiti border.
* One in every 50 of the U.S. soldiers who died in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War was a casualty of friendly fire.
* In Normandy, in July, 1944, 112 American soldiers were killed by U.S. warplanes when bombs fell short of their mark. They included Lt. Gen. Leslie McNair, commander of ground forces in Normandy and the highest-ranking officer to be killed by his own side.
* Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, has described his own close call, when U.S. bombs were accidentally dropped near him in Vietnam.
* In the 1989 Panama invasion, two of the 23 U.S. soldiers killed were the victims of friendly fire.