Mistaken identity

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Bernhart, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. Bernhart

    Bernhart <b>2012 Forum Fantasy Football Champion</ b>

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Messages:
    432
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    mental health nurse
    Location:
    Canada
    Reading one of the threads got me thinking... One often hears how allied planes where often marked/painted to help with identification. I've hears several stories about planes shot down by mistake, typhoons mistaken for focke wulfes, mustangs for me 109's....

    Anyone have any documentation on the Axis doing the same?

    I know often other Axis nations did the yellow wing tips, noses to stand out.
    and there was reference in another thread about a battle between 109's and 190's .
     
  2. Mstcnc

    Mstcnc New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2006
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Finns dovned one german reco JU188 by mistake and another was secret flight of he111 painted black whit out any national id.
    Germas did down one unarmed civil fligt in north of Finland.

    I will try found detail information tomorrow when I am home and can have my books available.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,195
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    I remember reading a while back, how Eric Hartmann and his small group managed to start a brawl between some P-51s and a Yak escort group who were protecting some Soviet bombers.

    The American fighters and the Soviet fighters were eyeballing each other, leaving the bombers pretty much alone, so Hartmann dove from above, attacking the Mustangs and then the bombers in a single pass.

    According to Hartmann, all hell was breaking loose as he looked behind him. He guessed that the Americans and Soviets never noticed the Germans, and attacked each other in "retaliation". And he and his group made good thier escape at that point.

    This incident happened near Romania, near Prague late in the war.
     
  4. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,636
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    niagara falls
    It was a very common occurence for both sides something crosses your nose at 300knots and your instinct is to shoot and ask questions later
     
  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,195
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    I think the interesting thing here was that the Americans and Russians were so busy giving each other the "hard eyeball", that they missed the Germans the whole time.

    Then, the Americans seeing that a couple Mustangs were attacked, thought it was the Russians. The Russians on the otherhand, thought the Americans attacked thier bombers, and the fight was on!

    Crazy stuff!
     
  6. ONE_HELLCAT

    ONE_HELLCAT Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    Ventura County
    What I read was that the Russians shot the Mustangs first, and they shot back in defense. Then later mistook some grey Yaks as German aircraft and attacked them as they landed at a small Russian air field. The Russians wanted the Americans tried and executed, but the gun cam evidence was mysteriously lost or damaged by ground crews.

    I also know Anti Aircraft gunners on both sides have shot down their own aircraft.
     
  7. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    4,441
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    MGR
    Location:
    Phila, Pa
    That was what killed George Preddy. Shot down in a Mustang by his own side in the Ardennes, 1944. I think it was a quad .50 that got him.

    He was the highest scoring active ace at the time, at least I think he was.
     
  8. Bernhart

    Bernhart <b>2012 Forum Fantasy Football Champion</ b>

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Messages:
    432
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    mental health nurse
    Location:
    Canada
    Seems to me I remember operation bodenplatte alot of Germans where shot down by thier own side.

    My question was however, while i have seen alot of references to allied loses this way, doesn't seem to be as much on the axis side.
     
  9. Mangrove

    Mangrove Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Aero Oy's OH-BLB "Lappi" was damaged when a Bf-109 piloted by Oberst Carl Schumacher fired upon on 8th November 1941.

    Ltn. Lauri Nissinen (MT-225) shot down a Junkers Ju 188 F on 14th April 1944 at Virojoki.
     
  10. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    Messages:
    19,419
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    Network Engineer/Photographer
    Location:
    Moorpark, CA
    Home Page:
    I know the P-47 had the bar markings on the tail and horizontal stabilizers to identify them as friendlies. You can see the white stripes on the tail in this shot from Chino.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Substitute teacher; graduate student
    Location:
    Connecticut, United States
    Well, I can see how the mustang and 109 can be mistaken, both aircraft had squared tipped wings.
     
  12. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    561
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Executive, Consulting
    Location:
    Scurry, Texas
    The 8th AF ETO fighters in fall of 43 through March-April 1944 all had the white stripes. At that time (mar 1944) some of the various groups started with nose cowl bands of distinction (red cowl for 4th FG and 56th, blue for 352nd, all white for 355th, red/tellow checker for 357th, etc) but still kept the rudder and H.Stabilizer bands.

    The Mustangs kept the same bands on wing/tail, converting to black bands for NMF a/c until Oct/Nov 1944 when cowls and rudder colors were differentiated within the group, nut the same within squadron.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. wingnuts

    wingnuts Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Technical Officer - Aviation + Graphic Design
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    The first aircraft to be shot down by an RAF Spitfire even before the Battle of Britain was an RAF Hurricane in what came to be known as "The Battle of Barking Creek". Two Hurricanes were shot down resulting in the death of one pilot.

    Battle of Barking Creek

    Battle of Barking Creek - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  14. thewritingwriter89

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    In a small space capsule
    I do know that some Groups defending Germany late in the war would paint part or all of the vertical tail surface the same color, or have a bright identification band around the rear fuselage.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The yellow nose and tail markings are more characteristic of a Eastern Front Unit
    [​IMG]


    JV44's airfield protection unit used bright underbelly schemes for quick identification by anti-air gunners.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Messages:
    8,857
    Likes Received:
    376
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Workin' for the man....
    Location:
    South East Queensland
    Most allied single engine aircraft in the New Guinea area had a white tail and white leading edges.
     
  16. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    1,840
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Lancaster, California
    here is Hartmanns account of it.

    "Once, in Romania, we had an interesting experience with both Russians and Americans. We took off on a mission to intercept Soviet bombers attacking Prague, and we counted many American made aircraft with Red Stars, part of your Lend Lease. But then there were American fighters also nearby, and I was above them all by a thousand meters. It seemed that the Americans and Russians were busy examining each other and were unaware that we were around. I gave the order to drop down through the Mustangs, then the Russian fighters, and through the bombers in just one hit and run attack, and then we would get the hell out of there, since there were only the two of us. I shot down two P-51s quickly in my dive, and I then fired on a Boston bomber, scored good hits but it was not a kill. The second element also scored a kill against the Mustangs, and my wingman and I were all right. Suddenly the most amazing thing happened. The Soviet fighters and Americans began fighting each other, and the confusion worked for us. They must not have realized that it was a schwarm of Germans that started the whole thing! The Russian bombers dropped their bombs in panic and turned away. I saw three Yaks get shot down and a Mustang damaged trailing white smoke. That was my last fight against the Americans."
     
  17. JoeB

    JoeB Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    809
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    An interesting Axis case in WWII was the detachment of captured P-40's operating with the Japanese Army 50th Flying Regiment in Burma in 1943. Their only victory was against a group of Japanese bombers they mistook for Allied near Rangoon in gathering darkness. The fact that they were flying an Allied fighter type apparently didn't contribute to the incident.

    Antiaircraft gunners of all countries fired on their own a/c pretty often. In case of an a/c swooping low over ground troops who had any expectation of being attacked by a/c, the chance of being shot at was seemingly almost 100%. Somewhat likewise, a single engine friendly fighter turning its nose on a USAAF bomber in ETO was pretty likely to get shot at, that was assumed. In fighter combat such mistakes were less likely, but obviously still happened time to time.

    In Korea an interestingly high proportion of the few Fleet Air Arm 'air combats' were friendly fire incidents, a Seafire which tried to 'investigate' a passing formation of B-29's early in the war was shot down, a couple of Sea Furies set upon by F4U's later on, mistaken for Lavochkins, though they survived with damage; v. only several 'real' combats where MiG's attacked FAA a/c.

    Also in the Torch landings in Morocco the USN sdns downed two RAF a/c in separate incidents in just a couple of days, a patrolling Hudson and a recon Spitfire. The rate of such incidents would be higher with 'unfamiliar' types of Allied a/c around, and not enough specific coordination so each air arm would be expecting to see those Allied types.

    Joe
     
  18. phas3e

    phas3e Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Spitfires of 485(NZ)Sqn were attacked repeatedly by a pair of Seafires while on patrol over the Normandy beach heads.
    Two aircraft made multiple passes on a flight of spits which each time turned to force the miss and show their elliptical wings and invasion stripes.
    After a few minutes the NZ pilots got sick of the game and shot down the 2 seafires, One of the RN pilots was killed.
    An investigation was quickly swept under the carpet, the Seafire pilots were on their first sorties and were never ment to be anywhere near the French coast.
     
  19. antoni

    antoni Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    397
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Battle of Barking Creek - A more complete version

    72 hours after Britain’s declaration of war on Germany searchlight batteries on the Essex coast reported to their local Sector Operations Control at RAF North Weald that they had heard the engine noise of aircraft flying over at about 06.15. No visual identification was made because of coastal mist and thick cloud. A force from I./KG 26 of six He 111Hs had been sent to perform the Luftwaffe’s first armed reconnaissance of the Thames Estuary but they returned to base because of bad weather., Whether these aircraft were detected by the RAF’s Chain Home Radar system is still open to conjecture, but on the strength of the searchlight batteries’ reports NW scrambled two flights (12 aircraft) of Hurricanes from 56 Squadron but only one flight had actually been instructed to launch. They were ordered to patrol, between Harwich and Colchester. As they approached the coast B Flight was told to keep station further south over Essex. Two more pilots had also from 56 squadron had also scrambled as in reserve aircraft a few minutes after their unit departure. P/Os ML Hulton-Harrop and FC Rose headed off to search for the squadron despite being told to patrol over North Weald. The late departure was their undoing.

    The RDF station at Canewdon, on the Essex coast, picked up the scrambled Hurricanes. Because of a sensing failure the plots were transposed and it looked like 56 Squadron were flying westward towards the Thames Estuary rather than out to sea. The two trailing Hurricanes then looked like the intercepting force on the plotters’ scopes. The Sector Controller at NW now thought there was a much larger raid than originally reported. He immediately ordered a full squadron scramble for 151 Squadron from North Weald. They were joined by both flights of Spitfires from 74 Squadron and single flights from 65 Squadrons, all from Hornchurch. Anti-aircraft batteries at Thameshaven and Sheerness engaged the enemy aircraft as they came within range and shot down a Blenheim fighter and damaged a 65 Squadron Spitfire.

    S/Ldr E.M. ‘Teddy’ Donaldson was leading 151 Squadron and described what happened next.1

    “On September 6th when we took off we were ordered to climb to the east, dead into the rising sun, to intercept the enemy coming up the Thames. I was leader. I spotted a large number of aircraft coming but they were difficult to identify, so I gave the warning over the radio, ‘Bandits ahead. 12 o’ clock. I believe they are friendly. Do not shoot unless positive identification.’.”.
    As he made this call the ‘Tally Ho’ was given by A Flight of 74 Squadron who had spotted the loose vic of 151 Squadron Hurricanes from North Weald between Gravesend and Ipswich and assumed they were the enemy from the direction they were flying, their loose vic formation and large numbers. Positive identification was impossible because of the angle of the sun. They could not even tell if they were single or twin engined. A Flight also spotted the two 56 Squadron Hurricanes trailing below and behind. As these were definitely single-engine types the Spitfire pilots were confident that these were escorting BF 109s. A section of three aircraft broke off and engaged the enemy. Donaldson; “I saw two of the Spitfires turn in on two of the Hurricanes and open fire. I yelled over the R/T ‘Do not retaliate. They are friendly!’ A frantic melee ensued but not one of the North Weald wing fired, although there was frantic manoeuvring by almost everyone. The Hurricanes fired at got spit up. Hulton-Harrop must have been hit by gunfire for his aircraft did not seem to be damaged substantially. It glided down in a left turn until it hit the ground apparently quite gently.
    I managed to get the wing reformed and we landed back at North Weald very angry at the terrible mess-up where our controllers had so irresponsibly vectored two wings onto each other, gun loaded and pilots warned for combat.”
    Now realising what had happened the Spitfires broke away from the Hurricane force and returned to Hornchurch. P/O Hulton-Harrop had been fatally wounded by a burst of fire from one of the attacking Spitfires. His bullet ridden Hurricane (L1985) crashed at Manor Farm, in Suffolk. Te second (L1980) was successfully forced landed by P/O Rose in a sugar beet field near Wherstead, also in Suffolk. The cooling system had been hit three times but he escaped unscathed. The Hurricane was soon repaired but lost when HMS Glorious was sunk 10th June 1940, the fighter then with 46 Squadron. Only as the various scrambled squadrons began to run low on fuel and return to base was the erroneous signalling by Canewdon RDF Station detected.
    The Sector Controller, G/Cpt D.F. Lucking, was sacked by Air Officer Commanding No 11 Group, AVM Keith Park, and the two Spitfire pilots, F/O V Byrne and P/O J Freeborn, identified as having shot down the Hurricanes (only they had fired their guns) were court-martialled. When the facts became clear, Lucking received a cursory punishment and went on to gain further promotion later in the war, and the two pilots were exonerated and returned to flying. An inquiry determined the root cause of the incident was the technical fault at the radar station at Canewdon. Failures in Fighter Command’s tactics, control system, radar and Observer Corps reporting and plotting had all been exposed. The RAF moved quickly to reduce the risk of further fratricide by introducing new plotting directives and better communication methods within Fighter Command organisations. The Observer Crops also improved recognition training. The incident highlighted the need for a means of distinguishing friendly aircraft on radar. The introduction of IFF, already in production, was given higher priority than previously.

    1 The Blitz – Then and Now, After the Battle Publications 1987
     
  20. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Barnsley, S. Yorks, UK
    It is thought that Douglas Bader may have been shot down by a fellow RAF pilot over Le Touquet in August 1941. I have only ever seen references to this on Wikipedia and the Channel 4 website - does anyone have any further information?

    It wasn't just aircraft that pilots misidentified either - during the hunt for the Bismarck, FAA Swordfish made a torpedo attack on the 11,350 ton light cruiser HMS Sheffield, having mistaken her for the 50,000 ton German battleship. The incident is decribed in Corelli Barnett's Engage The Enemy More Closely, unfortunately I do not have my copy to hand to give a page reference.
     
Loading...

Share This Page