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Friendly Fire - 1
This story is from an Aussie Leopard crewman, who shall remain anonymous:
During 1992 I was at the time a gunner of a leopard 1 in the 1st armoured regiment Australia and this is a short story about being shot at by my illustrious troop leader during rehersals for a live fire firepower demonstration for the public called Ex(ercise) El Alamein.
As with all demonstrations that any defence force does you have to rehearse over and over again. The day in question started off hot dry and very dusty. Because we were live firing as we attacked a hill and artillery were also live firing onto the same hill we had to close down (close all hatches). The theory going along the lines that the artillery would cease fire as we were 400 metres from the hill.
We had a whole squadron in the attack (14 tanks), very little visibility due to the dust and being closed down and on the move. As we attacked and I was busy shooting targets I could hear a banging sound like someone was hitting the tank with a sledge hammer. I didn't think much about it until we stopped after the attack. On climbing out of the tank the crew commander was ranting and raving and pointing to the left side of the tank. I got off and noticed that all the bins on the left were peppered with bullet holes, all the oil drums on the rear were leaking like a sieve, the left side antenna was shot off and my webbing which I store on the side looked like it had been eaten by something and the thermal jacket around the main gun wouldn't be very thermal anymore.
The story doesn't end here.
Our most valiant troop leader had been designated by the commanding officer as the officer to call cease fire so that the artillery would stop when we were 400 metres from the hill. The troop leader at the time must have had a rush of blood to his head and forgot to call cease fire. The control tower couldn't see the attack due to the dust and artillery was still falling on the hill and we were 100 metres from it's base. The tower finally saw what was happening and ceased fire but the damage was aleady done.
The only tank that was on our left was the troop leader. Well I've never seen a new troop leader squirm so much as his troop sergeant tore strips off him. He tried denying it until sarge pointed out he was the only tank on the left. He then stated that his gunner had become overcome by cordite fumes and that he decided that he would shoot the co ax from his position with out looking through his sights (not very smart).
Out of the 14 tanks including the CO's and 2IC's 10 tanks lost their antennas 3 lost their search lights and only 4 got away unscathed.
By the end of the day 3 troop didn't have a troop leader and the squadron was down a troop leader. I think he was transferred to catering.
My thanks to the person concerned.
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