Book Review: Blue on Blue: A History of Friendly Fire by Geoffrey Regan

January 5, 2016

Blue On Blue: A History Of Friendly Fire by Geoffrey Regan is a non-fiction work. Mr. Regan is a British historian specializing in military gaffes, some with very serious consequences.

  • 258 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0788198084


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Blue On Blue: A History Of Friendly Fire by Geoffrey Regan is a well-researched, interesting and disturbing book about amicide (killing of friends), also known as “friendly fire” or “blue on blue”. The book concentrates on 20th Century warfare, so many of the battles or events might be familiar to those who read a lot of military history.

Mr. Regan writes about the tremendous amounts of soldiers “killed in action” due to mistakes made by their own sides. In World War I trench warfare the numbers were huge on both sides due to artillery being fired in a trenched battlefield using short aiming, bad shots, bad ammunition and faulty maps. The World War I battlefield was so small and confused that many times the infantry attacked their own troops.

While ground troops certainly had their share of incidents, the navies and air forces also had their own. While not as many, the results were devastating due to the strength and power of their weapons. The senior commanders who gave orders to fire on their own troops, and sometimes knew about it, faced almost no consequences as a result of their actions.

The last chapter “Discipline and Friendly Fire”, the author examines the numbers of troops executed by their own commanders (especially during World War I) and the damage that has done to morale and fighting capability of the armies. In fact, German General Erich von Ludendorff said: “The Entente no doubt achieved more than we did with their considerably more severe punishments. This historic fact is well established”.

This book should be read by anyone who is interested in military history or is aspiring to leading troops. Learning from history is an important aspect of all management and leadership roles, it is especially true when lives are in the balance.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I bought this book.
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