Analysis of fratricide in United States naval surface and Submarine Forces in the second World War
Orloff, Lars R.H.
Hughes, Wayne P. Jr.
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Friendly fire in naval warfare is a virtually unstudied phenomenon. In order to prepare future U.S. naval forces for the inevitable losses that will occur as a result of fratricide, we must look to the past to discover the role it has played in this century's wars at sea. This study examines the significance of friendly fire in U.S. naval surface and submarine operations during World War II and argues that the occurrence of self-inflicted casualties is a function primarily of the frequency and intensity of naval combat. Additionally, the causes of and factors contributing to naval fratricide are identified and discussed in detail using historical cases. The crucial result of this thesis is that even the most technologically advanced and highly trained force is subject to surprisingly high rates of friendly fire. Only when the vulnerability of every navy to fratricide is officially acknowledged can technology and doctrine be developed to reduce the risk of accidentally engaging one's own forces.
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