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Wikileaks: Pentagon logs show how British troops repeatedly came under ‘friendly fire’

Robert Mendick
London Telegraph
Oct 23, 2010

British soldiers repeatedly came under attack from US forces in a series of ‘friendly fire’ incidents, according to Pentagon logs on the Iraq War leaked to the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

The Wikileaks’ files reveal that British forces were attacked in error on at least 11 occasions.

In one incident, a commando with the Royal Marines was shot and wounded while, on another occasion at night, US troops, who had no night vision goggles and were listening to their iPods, began firing on a British patrol.

On October 29 2004, a commando with the Royal Marines was ‘engaged by friendly fire’ after being shot at mistakenly by US Military Police, whose own vehicle had broken down in the middle of the road.

The log states: “US individuals fired rounds on the front [Land Rover] Discovery.”

It states that the commando sustained injuries but does not detail what those were nor how seriously injured he was.
In another incident on 27 February 2004, three British vehicles driving close to the Kuwait border were threatened by a US soldier armed with a .50 calibre machine gun, who was in a vehicle ahead of them in a convoy.

The log suggests the American threatened to shoot the British who had tried to overtake the American patrol vehicle.

An intelligence report written by the British but passed to the Americans stated: “There was sufficient daylight for the US convoy to clearly see the British military number plates on the vehicles.”

It went on: “The British convoy attempted to get close to and pass the US convoy a total of three times and was threatened in the same way each time.”

Just five months later, on 20 July 2004, a US convoy actually opened fire on British vehicles trying to overtake in the same area.

British vehicles were also shot at by American convoy escorts again in November and December and by a Bulgarian convoy the same month.

Being shot at had become relatively routine so that by February 2005, according to a report, a three vehicle British convoy strafed by an American gunner did not even bother to stop.

Three months later in May 2005, two Kings Royal Hussars vehicles were fired on by an American convoy when a driver of one of the British vehicles had apparently caused alarm by swerving to avoid a piece of debris on the road.

In October 2006 a British patrol, which was emblazoned with blue light sticks to make it identifiable as friendly to other coalition units, was nevertheless shot at by US troops.

The log reveals the American soldiers were not equipped with night vision goggles and had been listening to their iPods.

The Pentagon logs also detail a series of deaths of American troops killed by their compatriots. At least seven American servicemen were killed and another 34 wounded in 18 suspected friendly fire incidents. Not all the incidents had been made public until now with the leak of the documents.

In one of the first incidents on 4 November 2005, 502nd Infantry Regiment came under small arms fire in Baghdad. Five men were injured and another, Staff Sergeant Joseph Fegler, 24, was killed.

Two hours after the engagement it emerged that the damage had been done by the rear gunner of another US convoy up ahead.

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