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Author Topic: Fragging the lieutenants
snopes
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Comment: I have always wondered about the truth of something I heard in WII.
During the invasion of Attu in Alaska there were 20-30 casualties although
there wasn't a Japanese presence on the island. The story that circulated
was that the casulaties were predominately second lieutenants. The
implication was that disguntled troops behind them were responsible.

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hardhead
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I believe you are thinking of Kiska not Attu, there were about 200 casualties on Kiska of which 17 Americans and 4 Canadians died. The deaths were from booby traps and friendly fire. I have never heard that the fatalities were from "fragging", though that doesn't mean much.

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The Rubber Chicken
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This sounds like the result of a military joke being turned into an urban legend.

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Malruhn
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A freshly minted second lieutenant is quite the sight to behold...

For a unit leader to "lead a charge" is either uber-brave, or uber-foolish.

In my estimation, there is a dearth of 2LT's in the former, and a wealth of them in the latter.

The invasion of Kiska was very early in the war - especially in the Pacific. I can see the LT's being very green and potential targets for fragging - however, the enlisted force in the Pacific was just as green, meaning that the odds have it that they would be truly unable to distinguish the traits in a poor leader that would get them killed.

Ergo, the enlisted folk were unable to figure which LT's were good or bad, so I would highly doubt that the death toll was due to fragicution.

According to [url= http://www.nps.gov/aleu/historyculture/upload/Invasion%20of%20Kiska%20Brochure%208.5%20x%2011.pdf#search=%22invasion%20of%20Kiska%20WWII%22]one web site[/url], there were 24 allied soldiers killed by friendly fire, 4 by booby traps, and 71 killed when the USS Abner Read struck a mine. 168 were wounded or ill.

Other sites have even fewer dying... One from the Canadian military lists ONE friendly fire death - by a guy that is thought to have bumped a big bomb on the nose with his shovel as he was cleaning up.

I very strongly doubt the OP claim.

(ETA: I tried to fix the linky, but the system won't let me...)

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Lainie
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[hijack]My dad served on Attu on his first tour. After a brief leave at home, he was sent on a second tour in Europe. He never saw combat there, either. Hated the whole Army experience, though, from basic training on up.

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