US Bombers hitting British tanks, Tunisia, 1943.

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by SixPounder, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. SixPounder

    SixPounder Member

    Has anyone read of any incidents of US bombers hitting British tanks in Tunisia, April-May 1943?

    I have a very short anecdote from a veteran (and his brother) which tallies with a similarly limited account told by my grandfather.

    Absolute pot luck this one. I suppose a corresponding war diary entry by a tank unit could be a source. I've nothing else to go on.

    I've search for other "friendly fire" and Tunisia incidents on the forum and there's nothing that matches.
  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    If the anec
    If the anecdotes are short perhaps you could put them in a post - they might contain a clue that someone could pick up on.
  3. SixPounder

    SixPounder Member

    Other than pulling probable unit locations out the war diary there’s nothing else.

    “In Africa, George and I sat on the side of a hill, overlooking a company of British Tanks, at that moment we heard the roar of engines in the sky, it was an American Bomber squadron. They flew over and then came around.” I said to George “Quick get in this ditch.”

    “We looked on as the American Bomber’s destroyed the British Tank’s, we could do nothing.”
  4. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Thanks - it does give a rough idea of the scale of the incident. Do you knowq "George and I"'s unit?
  5. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Can we have some primary sources? The whole story sounds like a myth.

    American bombers had previous form in hitting friendly forces.

    However, level bombers were not very effective against AFVs. The payload of heavy bombers used to support the armies in NW Europe was comparable to tactical nuclear devices. They could not destroy whole companies of tanks. It is improbable that the more limited air forces in Tunisia accidentally wiped out a squadron of British tanks. . .
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    There is nothing in the account to indicate what kind of bomber or for that matter what kind of tank - an attack by fighter bombers on a squadron of light tanks could well put a significant number out of action even if only temporarily..
  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    SixPounders quote says an American bomber squadron - That means B25 or B17 nor P39 or P38.

    Got any primary source for the tank unit?
    There are plenty of accounts in War diaries in 1944 of friendly fire incidents described as "enemy spitfires or enemy thunderbolts" British soldiers were not shy of recording their displeasure at being bombed by their own side. So found any war diaries mentioning casualties from enemy B25s?.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  8. SixPounder

    SixPounder Member

    Morning all.

    The unit is 87th Anti-Tank. Probably 132 battery. I have the war diaries and there is no mention of such an incident.

    Luftwaffe activity was significant and a recognition fail is also a factor.

    This story may be a dead end.
  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    From war diary nw Europe 1944

    116th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment amongst others

    Le Mont
    8/8/44 381 battery, 12.35hrs Fortress dropped 6 bombs crashed 1-2 miles

    8/8/44 engagement rep from C Troop 19.10 hrs ,20 round (bofors) fired at 8 Thunderbolts machine gunning and dive bombing also engaged by J troop

    Gresse, Germany RAF Friendly fire incident

    Friendly fire
    Dave55 likes this.
  10. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    All that means is two soldiers saw a lot of aircraft that dropped bombs.
  11. SixPounder

    SixPounder Member

    I think what I had in mind was someone researching a tank unit coming across a reference to such an incident.

    87th's batteries seem to have been moved from one end of the line to the other. I'll try and pick out armoured formations and list some of those but I'm not sure it gets much below "6th Armoured".

    I don't suppose anyone is doing L.A.A batteries in Tunisia?! I could do with knowing if 87th had an accompanying L.A.A battery. There is a reference on google to them disembarking with 117th LAA and 8th Survey Regiment. Would that LAA battery have stayed with 87th? There was a notable incident with friendly-fire and a malfunctioning bofors.
  12. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    See attached extracts from 56 Recce war diaries, whilst they don't provide any information on the incident they do give some clues as to the air traffic at that time.
    430426.JPG 430430.JPG
    Takrouna, SixPounder and CL1 like this.

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