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Unfriendly Fire

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"Friendly fire isn't."
Military Proverb

What to do when you've made an enemy on your own side? Good thing there is a convenient battle coming up... What's one more casualty between friends? The coroner will never know the difference.

Shoot the guy In the Back yourself, or push him into enemy fire, it makes little difference. Nobody's going to check. That annoying squadmate or sergeant is dead, and you can now resume shooting the enemy like nothing wrong happened. Even if someone recognizes that it was your side's ammunition, Friend or Foe? might have happened; even if someone knows you shot him, you can feign bewilderment, claiming in a Friend or Foe? situation you made a terrible but understandable mistake — sometimes.

As you might imagine, this is Truth in Television. The military even has a name for it that stems from the use of a fragmentation grenade to kill someone on one's own side of the conflict: "fragging" (which has since become a part of the gamer's lexicon after its use in Doom's popular Deathmatch mode). This originally referred to the specific act of throwing a fragmentation grenadenote  into the offending officer's tent, but soon spread to all methods. Sometimes even a junior officer, concerned over senseless waste of his men, would eliminate a glory-hungry or inefficient senior officer to save his unit.

Contrast Trial by Friendly Fire, which is about the grisly mathematics of deciding when it's safe to risk accidental friendly fire in order to hit an enemy, and Cold Equation, about the grisly mathematics of actively sacrificing the few to save the many. See also I Just Shot Marvin in the Face, when accidental friendly fire was unexpected, and Collateral Damage, when a stray shot hits someone completely at random, friend or foe.

The Team Killer is a character (or player) who engages in unfriendly fire. See also Uriah Gambit for purposely sending an underling to his death. A video game's rules on the issue sometimes result in Friendly Fireproof or a Non-Standard Game Over.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • After War Gundam X:
    • In one episode, the Frost brothers kill off an allied Newtype pilot as part of their "revenge" for being designated failures; Olba even quips "There's always friendly fire on the battlefield" when they do so.
    • In Episode 27, UNE soldier Duett Langraph, whose ferocity earned him the nickname the Hunter of the Eastern Front, slaughters three of his fellow UNE soldiers to show off his skills to the Frost brothers. They are impressed, and Shagia Frost remarks that they will explain it away as an accident happening in a warzone.
  • Attack on Titan: Jean briefly discusses this in Episode 18, when they're ordered to stand guard in the forest of giant trees, mentioning that an unpopular commander may find themselves getting attacked from behind by one of their troops. Armin wonders if he's really going to do that, but Jean tells him he was just thinking out loud and will follow the orders.
  • Guts from the Berserk manga did this when he was only eight years old. He was raped by a pederast soldier named Donovan after his adoptive father Gambino sold him to the mercenary for three silver coins. Guts took violent revenge during the very next battle, shooting Donovan in the back with a crossbow and then laying into him with his sword, demanding to know who had sold him to him. Guts did not believe Donovan's final confession that it was Gambino who sold him until the fateful night when Gambino, who lost his leg to a cannonball during the battle in question, got drunk, confessed to the deed, and then tried to murder him.
  • Cross Ange: In the early episodes, the members of the First Troop would often try to take down Ange during battles against the DRAGONs, partly because they were bitter over the fact she got their former captain killed in her first deploy. She eventually calls Salia out for not reining in the others.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: During the Ishvalan War of Extermination, Basque Grand informs his superior officer Brigadier General Fessler that 60% of all Amestrian officer deaths are at the hands of their own soldiers. He then proceeds to nonchalantly shoot Fessler at point-blank range in the chest with a rifle to stop him from ordering the death of the surrendering Ishvalan leader and wasting more lives. The nearby soldiers agree it was a stray bullet and then ask Basque for orders as he is now the highest ranked officer.
  • In Macross Frontier, Mikhail's sister killed her commander with friendly fire, but because they were lovers and he had just recently dumped her, some suspected she did it on purpose as revenge. The series never reveals the truth, but obviously Mikhail thinks his sister was innocent.
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico, the eponymous battleship's main computer decides it doesn't like the Earth's military forces (the Nadesico's previous encounter with said military being when they shot at it to stop the ship from leaving Earth), causing allied systems to register them as enemies, causing much of this. Since it was a humorous episode, however, nobody actually died.
  • In the Napoleon manga by Tetsuya Hasegawa, Marmont is shown to be a specialist in this. His tendency to dispose of the superiors he doesn't like may be foreshadowing his betrayal of Napoleon in 1814.
  • While they haven't exactly made an enemy of him, the World Government in One Piece decides that Gekko Moriah is too weak to represent them as one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea; after the Whitebeard War, they try to kill him, intending to use the excuse that he died in the war.
  • Ravages of Time: Zhou Yu captures a city right out from Yuan Shu's nose by pretending to surrender to one of his generals and then giving false information to the generals' forces such that they end up attacking one another in the middle of the night, decimating the forces and leaving the city unguarded.
  • Occurs twice in the Transformers: Robots in Disguise episode "Skid-Z's Choice", when Megatron ends up shooting Sky-Byte during a race after seemingly mistaking him for an Autobot. Knowing Megatron, it's highly likely he knew better and was looking for an opportunity to punish Sky-Byte for his continued incompetence.

    Comic Books 
  • The Comedian does this to his commanding officer in the Pacific during World War II in Before Watchmen: Comedian.
  • In his origin story, the Crimebuster villain Iron Jaw "accidentally" shot his superior officer during a battle in World War I. Unfortunately for him, the man lived long enough to toss a grenade in his direction, which blew his lower face off and necessitated his moniker.
  • Deff Skwadron:
    • A uniquely orky variation happens in one chapter where oneork manning a turret isn't firing for fear of hitting their own.
      Uzgob: Topside turrets! Which one of you gitz isn't shootin' like all the others!?
      Gunner: Me, boss. 'Ow we supposed to know who's on our side and who ain't?
      Uzgob: Listen karefully and I'll explain 'ow we do things 'ere in Deff Skwadron... You shoot at it an' you miss, it's one of ourz. You hit it an' you shoot it down, then it must be one of theirs. Dead simple, see?
      Gunner: Got it, boss. Works a treat, that does...
    • Goose is the Butt-Monkey of the skwadron who is constantly getting shot at by his own teammates (but doesn't seem to hold it against them).
    • One chapter ends with the skwadron returning to base in a stolen fighta-bomma. Seeing as they're in a plane with enemy markings, they decided to bomb a rival skwadron on their own side.
  • In Demon Knights, Horsewoman shoots Exoristos non-fatally with an arrow after the latter encourages a young civilian to try and sneak through enemy lines during the siege of Little Spring, which resulted in the young girl being captured and beheaded.
  • One issue of The Phantom Stranger involved a would-be revolutionary constructing a metal, robotic "god" (who could shoot and fight like a human) as a symbol of his people — unfortunately, said "god" got interested in the revolutionary's wife and decided to Murder the Hypotenuse this way.
  • In Preacher, Jesse's dad iced his racist commanding officer while serving in Vietnam, after the officer's sadism and stupidity got one of Jesse's friends killed.
  • The Punisher:
    • In The Punisher: Born from Marvel MAX line, an account of Frank Castle's time in Vietnam before he became The Punisher, Frank eliminates a general trying to shut down Firebase Valley Forge by recommending the view from a hilltop while standing in front of a sniper warning sign. Such situations are a Running Gag.
    • During Frank's very first tour, one corrupt quartermaster was responsible for Frank's squad nearly getting eliminated (by swapping out new batteries for old ones and selling the new ones, leaving the squad with no radio). The quartermaster is last seen waking up to find a grenade pin on his pillow, then is said to have been fragged properly.
  • In a one-off Rogue Trooper strip by Alan Moore, Rogue encountered a Souther scout who was intending to kill a busload of Nort civilians. The scout stole Gunnar to try and do this, but Gunnar responded by shooting the scout.
  • Darth Maleval from Star Wars: Legacy winds up getting shot in the back by one of the stormtroopers under his command after his unit gets fed up with his constant abuse and ruthless tactics. Afterwards, it is reported to high command that Maleval was killed in battle; Anson Trask, the trooper who pulled the trigger, admits to not being sure the false report was believed, but the unit never faces any consequences for Maleval's death, suggesting even the other Sith weren't that keen on the guy.
  • Sturmtruppen is about the misadventures of a German battalion in World War II, so of course this happens from time to time:
    • Implied with an early captain, that started an assault shouting "If I advance follow me, if I go back shoot me"... And promptly reached the edge of a cliff, under the eyes of his grinning soldiers.
    • The two guys from the 27th Armored Battalion (of Discipline) once almost shot the sergeant while cleaning their weapons, and when he protested they told him they'd never "accidentally" shoot him... Not in presence of witnesses. Later, after the sergeant forced private Otto to hold his pants while he had sex with his "girlfriend" (actually the battalion's whore, whom Otto had paid for the whole night), they give him a much-deserved lesson and remind him that there's plenty of steets with no witnesses where she takes customers.
    • After a glory hound took over the battalion and was about to get it decimated in a suicide attack to grab a promotion, the guys from the 27th tricked him into walking into a minefield.
    • At times regular soldiers try to murder the sergeant, but, being a veteran from the previous war, he's extremely hard to kill (in one occasion they put a rattlesnake in his lunch and him ate it after mistaking it for an eel). They do succeed at time... Resulting in him being replaced by someone equally nasty.
  • In the Elseworlds series Superman & Batman: Generations, Superman's powerless son Joel Kent gets a bullet in the back after ordering his men to raze a Vietnamese village full of women, children, and the elderly, saying "In this country there's no such THING as 'non-combatants'!"
  • During the Thunderbolts tie-in to Secret Invasion, Bullseye kills one of his handlers with a dagger.
    Bullseye: Whoops. Friendly fire. Or not. Does it really count as "friendly" if I hate you?
  • Transformers: Shattered Glass: Optimus Prime and his bodyguard Ricochet are traveling between bases when Remote Patrol Six suddenly drive up to them despite Optimus assigning them elsewhere. Prime begins to ask them what’s going on, only to realize they’re charging up their weapons. Cue attempted fragging. It doesn’t go well for Remote Patrol Six.
  • In Über, Joseph Stalin, frightened by the first Soviet Battleship Maria's raw power and popularity, gets her Deceptive Disciple Olesya to halo her in the back immediately after she defeats the last surviving first-generation German Battleship. She is apparently killed, but resurrects three days later thanks to her Healing Factor. Cue Cruel and Unusual Death for Stalin and Olesya.
  • Occurs in volume four of The Walking Dead, "The Heart's Desire". Rick shoots Dexter, a prison inmate who stated his intent to forcibly evict Rick and his group from the well-stocked and spacious prison as soon as the zombie attack was quelled. It was under the cover of a heated, surprise zombie attack. This is one of the first incidents that show Rick is on a slippery slope. Executed in a somewhat Anvilicious manner as the victim taunted his murderer that he would have done the same thing if given the opportunity.

    Comic Strips 
  • Conversational Troping in Beau Peep: When the fort chef Egon is sent out on patrol with Peep, Peep advises him not to wear his chef's hat since it could attract sniper fire. Egon replies that a chef's hat is like the red cross, and the enemy wouldn't dare shoot at it. Peep clarifies that the enemy might not, but they don't have to eat his food.

    Fan Works 
  • In chapter 14 of Ace Combat: The Equestrian War, Night Raven kills Slip when he was trying to leave the battlefield. He absolves himself when Echo yells at him, saying he did Echo a favor!
  • In Aeon Entelechy Evangelion The Mole killed her own squad for the purpose of infiltration.
  • The Flashpoint fanfic Belonging:
    • It turns the canonical Friendly Fire incident in Sam's backstory into this. Though in this case, the primary victim is collateral damage; the actual target was Sam himself, but because Sam was a sniper (and thus not usually in the line of fire), to have him killed by friendly fire would be suspicious, so the Major who was behind the plan arranged instead for him to kill his best friend, thinking that Sam would kill himself over the guilt. It almost works.
    • The backstory also reveals that said Major and one of his accomplices had arranged for a similar "accident" to befall a unit commander who was beginning to get suspicious. An investigation into the Major's past reveals that many of his enemies seem to die in mysterious "accidents".
  • Discworld fanfics:
    • In Fresh Pair of Eyes by A.A. Pessimal, a group of Assassins' Guild pupils on a live field exercise find a way of placing a very large explosive device under the feet of two of their teachers. Granted, the bomb is "only" designed to generate a very large and disconcerting bang. But it gives their tutors pause for thought as to what those girls might have achieved with a real explosive device and not a near-harmless munition designed for training purposes. The team decide to combine four separate thunderflashes into a larger bomb so as to really make the most of their resources.
    • In the tale Bungle in the Jungle, a bush war erupts in Howondaland between two neighbors who do not see eye-to-eye. An unpopular political officer of the White Howondalandian Army is a casualty. The regular army lieutenant in command observes that the wound which killed him is so deep that it might have come from either direction — the front facing the enemy, or from the back. His sergeant laconically remarks that the tribal enemy they were facing are big powerful men who can put a lot of muscle behind a spear-thrust. The lieutenant shrugs and says he'll write a citation for a medal.
  • In Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters, Alistar Tharquin hates Jade, on account of her being a Shapeshifter. So, prior to the Rebellion's assault on Torus Finley, he makes the decision to have his ally Rhouglar assassinate her during the chaos of the battle, in order to eliminate her in a way that no one will suspect him for.
  • Peace Forged in Fire: D'trel's former CO Ameh ir'Tanat reportedly spaced their Tal'Shiar Political Officer and sent fake reports using his gear. Admiral tr'Kererek calls this "efficient".
  • In the final chapters of Uplifted:Revolution, Kampfgruppe Hoch (a thrown together Battalion) learned that no matter what rank you are, you`re subject to summary execution at Joachim Hoch's own hand should you murder a civilian or a prisoner, even if you're a Major.
  • With This Ring: When Paul sees Nabu temporarily incapacitated by the Terror Thing's fear magic, he considers taking the opportunity to kill Nabu and free Giovanni Zatara from being possessed by him, but in light of the Terror Thing's threat level, Paul ultimately decides that he Can't Kill You, Still Need You.
    For a moment, I contemplate taking advantage of his momentary weakness. Drug Kaldur with something that would let me blame his loss of consciousness on the Terror Thing, chain Nabu up again and hit his helmet with Mageslayers until he's gone. Might work, but… No. Do the job I'm here to do. He might be useful.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Animal House:
    • During the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, it's revealed that Neidermeyer was eventually fragged by his own troops in Vietnam.
    • A segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie directed by the same director actually focuses on those selfsame troops, based on an off-handed reference one makes to "fragging Neidermeyer".
  • The movie Assault, made in the 1950s, features a WWII CO whose raw incompetence keeps getting his men killed. At the end, as he climbs a staircase to surrender to the Germans, one of his men finally snaps and shoots him in the back. (This scene made Assault the first war movie to not receive support from the military.)
  • Basic revolves around an investigation into the presumed death of Drill Sergeant West and most of the unit of Army Ranger trainees that he took on a training exercise with live ammunition. West is famous/infamous for his extremely harsh methods (Hardy, one of the investigators, was trained by West and likens it to torture), and even flat out boasting how he has regularly arranged "training accidents" for recruits that didn't meet his standards but refused to drop out of the program. As soon as Hardy hears that West is missing and presumed dead, he assumes that West finally pushed one of his recruits too far and the recruit found an opportunity to kill West during the exercise. The two survivors of the exercise keep changing their stories as the investigators look into the affair, and sometimes West's death is a case of this... and sometimes it's something else all together.
  • The Beast of War (1988). The Soviet tank commander kills an Afghan member of his crew, convinced he's working for the mujahadeen pursuing them. Also lampshaded between two crewmembers who don't like each other much.
    Kaminski: You better watch your ass, Koverchenko. You know, sometimes Afghan snipers pick off tank drivers.
    Koverchenko: Sometimes tank drivers pick 'em off first, Kaminski.
  • When two of Major Paul Kreuger's men attempt to desert and run away in The Bridge at Remagen, Kreuger shoots them in the back as they flee.
  • In the film Casualties of War, after the rape and murder of an innocent village girl, Eriksson is almost killed by a grenade in the American HQ because he was trying to tell someone what happened.
  • The Charge at Feather River: Worried that Sgt. Baker is going to kill him, Ryan attempts to take him out first by stabbing him in the back with an arrow so it will look like the Indians got him. Baker is too quick for him, however, and knocks him off his horse; telling him that their reckoning is still to come.
  • This happens in Cross of Iron near the end of the film.
  • Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan: Major Smith threatens the Mildly Military Private Large with this, if Large does not get his act together. If Large cannot be trusted in combat, then the company is better off without him.
  • Subverted in Dark Blue World. One of the protagonists accuses a fellow Spitfire pilot of doing this (he'd been sleeping with his girlfriend); when they look at the gun camera footage later it turns out he'd actually been fired on by a German fighter, which was then shot down by his friend.
  • In the late 70s, Carol Burnett starred in the movie Friendly Fire with the main plot being that her son was not killed by Vietnamese soldiers, but was instead killed by US artillery that was being operated by soldiers who were drunk.
  • In Hornets' Nest done to SS Major Taussig by his colleague in the Wehrmacht, Captain von Hecht, after Taussig refuses to admit that the vulnerable Della Norte Dam is in danger.
  • In the Black Comedy How I Won The War (1967), a British platoon in WW2 keep trying to bump off their incompetent lieutenant, but he survives the war and gets them all killed instead.
  • Perhaps narrowly averted in The Hurt Locker, where Sergeant James interrupts a bomb detonation because he thinks he left his gloves at the second bomb site. He takes the Humvee with him, leaving Sanborn and Eldritch alone in the sun. Sanborn toys with detonating the second bomb while James is there, speaking ominously with Eldritch about how they would be able to get away with it as well.
  • Implied in the remake of Insomnia, as questions arise as to whether Dormer shooting fellow detective Eckhardt in the mist was truly an accident.
  • SS Major Kaempffer blows Captain Woermann away in the film version of The Keep.
  • Mongol. After the last battle, two men betray their Khan Targutai, the rival and opponent of Temudjin (Genghis Khan), and bring his corpse to Temudjin. Temudjin ignores the body, and orders the two men executed, because they "betrayed their Khan".
  • In One Foot in Hell, Mitch murders Sheriff Ole Olsen while they are out hunting rustlers, and claims he was shot by the rustlers.
  • In Stanley Kubrick's film Paths of Glory, the incompetent general Mireau attempts to cover his failure by ordering an artillery barrage upon his own troops.
  • This was how Staff Sergeant Barnes disposed of Sergeant Elias in Platoon. And how Chris disposed of Barnes.
  • In The Prowler (1951), Webb uses his position as a police officer to shoot Susan's husband and then pass it off as a case of mistaken identity while investigating a call about a prowler at Susan's home: shooting himself with John's gun to fully sell the charade.
  • Most probably happened in Ran, when the general rides up to the second oldest prince to tell him that his older brother was killed by a stray bullet. When the prince looks at the still-smoking musket in the general's hand, he wordlessly throws it away and they never speak of it again.
  • Serpico. One of Serpico's fellow officers pleads with him to drop his corruption allegations because his life will be in danger. "They don't even have to shoot you. They just have to not be there when you need them." This is played out when Serpico is caught by a closing door during a drug bust, and his police colleagues don't do anything until after he's shot.
  • Star Wars:
    • Part of the Great Jedi Purge in Revenge of the Sith is enacted this way, with the Clonetroopers turning on their Jedi commanders and shooting them while they're distracted fighting the Separatists. In particular, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ki-Adi-Mundi are in the middle of battles when their troops turn on them, and others are patrolling and looking for enemies when it happens. Justified in that every Jedi is a formidable enemy that would exact horrible losses and could well escape if not caught completely by surprise.
    • In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in A New Hope, a Stormtrooper is done in in this fashion just before the Millennium Falcon takes off from Docking Bay 94.
    • Attempted but not followed through on in The Last Jedi; after Snoke and his Praetorian Guard are killed, Hux walks in and discovers the carnage, as well as an unconscious Kylo Ren. Seeing an obvious opportunity, Hux gets ready to pull his blaster and use the chaos to bump off his only competitor for title of Supreme Leader. Unfortunately for him, Ren wakes up and Hux has to hurriedly holster his weapon.
  • The finale of Robert Aldrich's Vera Cruz features Burt Lancaster gunning down one of his henchmen for no reason. This finally sends erstwhile partner Gary Cooper over the edge.
  • Part of the many hazards faced by the heroes halfway through Windtalkers is the Marines being trapped in a trench adjacent to the Japanese army... and being hit by cannons fired by the US Navy, who thought they're targeting the Japanese. Resulting in the Marine's sergeant, Joe Enders, and his partner Ben Yahtzee infiltrating the Japanese camp in order to steal a radio and call off the bombing.
    "Hold your fire, you're shelling Marines!"

  • Corporal Himmelstoss from All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque becomes more cautious towards the protagonists after he's transferred to the front, partly because "surely someone fed him with this nonsense about shooting to the back".
  • Band of Brothers:
  • BattleTech Novelizations:
    • In the novel Warrior: En Garde, a colonel hands a letter to his assistant informing his commander that a particularly arrogant Internal Security Force agent has died in a kendo practice accident, receiving a crushed windpipe... just as the agent walks in in his kendo armor.
    • Similarly, in the novel Exodus Road, Trent incinerates Jez with his Mech's lasers after she rubs her brutality and political backstabbing in his face one too many times. He did challenge her to a Trial of Grievance first to make it semi-legal, but she declined, bringing it back to this trope.
  • Also in The Black Obelisk by the same author, an ex-World War I soldier character remembers (in response to a Miles Gloriosus ex-officer extolling the virtues of friendship among the officers and enlisted soldiers on the front) "during the War the only officer who ever addressed us "My friends" was that tyrant lieutenant Helle, one evening before a planned attack, because he got frightened that the next day he could get a bullet to his back."
  • The Brother Cadfael book One Corpse Too Many uses a variation on both this and Uriah Gambit. After a mass hanging, there is an extra corpse hidden among them. The extra corpse was strangled, not hanged — but it turns out that one of those hanged was The Mole and was meant to have been spared, and the villain deliberately set him up to be hanged as well, so as not to have to share the treasure.
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo, one of the characters tells a story (within another story) about a bandit lord named Cucumetto who pulls one of these, shooting a treacherous underling in the back during a skirmish with some soldiers.
  • The Dark Elf Trilogy: In the beginning of Homeland, Dinin kills his older brother during the battle with another house. Mind you, no one is fooled. Later, it is mentioned that wizards cannot participate in surface raids — because some guy killed a few drow with a fireball in a raid and claimed it was a malfunction of his magic due to the conditions (the investigators were in no hurry).
  • Discworld:
    • Discussed in Monstrous Regiment, but The Neidermeyer deserts before it actually comes to that. He turns out to be a Political Officer spying on Sergeant Jackrum, and the protagonists use this to their advantage.
    • A non-lethal version in The Science of Discworld II: The Globe; Ridcully has taken the wizards paintballing as a team-building exercise, but the wizards have great difficulty with the concept of teams.
      Dean: What? I'm on your side, you damn fool!
      Chair: You can't be! You made such a good target!
  • Dragaera: The preface to The Paths of the Dead confirms through denial that Adron did this in battle to a challenger to leadership for the House of the Dragon. The two were on the same side, but Adron hired the assassin Mario to kill the other guy during the battle. It's kind of important to learn this, as while Adron comes across as a Well-Intentioned Extremist when trying to seize the throne in the previous book, with the new information, he seems more clearly to be The Evil Prince.
  • The Father Brown mystery "The Sign of the Broken Sword" by G. K. Chesterton. An interesting twist on both tropes: Murderer, General St. Claire, killed his victim first, and then planned an otherwise pointless assault so that it would happen at exactly the same spot, thus hiding his victim among other casualties.
  • The scoundrel Harry Flashman has many opportunities to do this over his scandalous career, but usually chickens out. A notable example is in Flashman and the Angel of the Lord, where he is blackmailed (by Northern Abolitionists and Southern Secessionists) into infiltrating John Brown's gang and assassinating him if his raid on Harper's Ferry looks like it might succeed. During the raid Flashman instead shoots his co-conspirator before he can kill Brown, saving Brown and still fulfilling the trope.
  • In The Good Soldier Švejk, set during the World War I, sapper Vodička, an old comrade of the protagonist, is quite fond of recounting stories involving unfriendly fire in the Austro-Hungarian military.
    "On the Przemyśl front we had Hauptmann Jetzbacher who was a swine, the like of which you won't find under the sun. He bullied us so much that one chap of our company, Bitterlich, a German but a very good fellow, shot himself. So we decided that when it began to whistle from a Russian side, it would be all up with our Hauptmann Jetzbacher. And as soon as the Russians started to fire at us, we peppered him with five shots in a cross-fire. The beast was still alive, like a cat, so we had to finish him with further two, to prevent any troubles. He just growled in a comic way, rather funny." Vodička laughed: "Such things happen daily on the front."
  • In Sven Hassel's books, overzealous Nazi officers sometimes get knocked out and hoisted above the level of the trenches so that the Soviet troops can shoot them and relieve the Germans of their presence.
  • In Hurog, this was how Ward's father got rid of Ward's grandfather. Not a real battle, though; they were fighting some bandits at the time.
  • In If I Die in a Combat Zone (Box Me Up and Ship Me Home), Tim O'Brien recounts a Vietnam War episode when an NCO who was assigning most dangerous missions to the black soldiers was disposed of in this way.
    That evening we dug foxholes and cooked C rations over heat tabs. The night was hot, so instead of sleeping right away, I sat with a black friend and helped him pull his watch. He told me that one of the black guys had taken care of the first sergeant. It was an M-79 round, of a grenade launcher. Although the shot was meant only to scare the top sergeant, the blacks weren't crying, he said.
  • Julian was struck by a spear and slain. As to who threw it...
  • Lord Darcy: As detailed in "The Spell of War", the first mystery solved by Lord Darcy involved a case of this when he was an 18-year-old lieutenant in the autumn of the War of '39.
  • Attempted by Captain Kila in The Lost Fleet who tried to have the fleet commander Captain Geary killed by some accident or another three times. She only gets discovered when she kills a former ally who managed to leave a message to Geary before her ship blew up.
  • This happened at the city of Pale, in Genabackis, in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, during the fight with Anomander Rake and Moon's Spawn; Tayschrenn took advantage of the battle to kill two of the High Mages on his side, and Rake lost the battle because he was investing a lot of his energy just protecting mages on the opposing side from Tayschrenn. Or so it seemed at the time anyway. In truth, Tayschrenn's involvement was a lot less of a simple attack on his own side than it appeared at first glance and less pre-planned. He was in fact more of a good guy taking action against a third party that was interfering, which was misunderstood by the Pov character at the time in the chaos, not helped by those who seemed to believe her and subsequently rebelling against the empire (then appearing a lot more evil than in fact it is — though not being all sunshine and roses of course) being revealed a long way down the line to be involved in a very long term Gambit Roulette with Tayschrenn (although that incident was not a part of the plan) and in fact still loyal.
  • The Manchurian Candidate, and both of its film adaptations, features this prominently.
  • In Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, this is how Duke Benigaris inherits the throne of Nabban, by stabbing his father in the back during the siege of Naglimund and claiming that it was due to enemy action. This later comes back to bite Benigaris when the testimony of a soldier who witnessed the event is used to incite rebellion against him.
  • In Derek Robinson's Battle of Britain novel A Piece of Cake, the pilots of Hornet Squadron conspire to dispose of a commanding officer whose stubborn adherence to outmoded air-fighting tactics is getting pilots killed in droves. The one man who realises his comrades have murdered the c/o is then promoted to command the squadron. His Very Senior Officer curtly tells him to work out what Rex got wrong — and learn from that.
  • Near the climax of Prince Caspian, the Telmarine king Miraz duels Peter one-on-one. Peter knocks him unconscious and a full-scale battle ensues. In the confusion, a Telmarine Mauve Shirt Miraz insulted earlier delivers a Coup de Grâce.
  • The Anvilicious Strawman Political 'Operation Chickenhawk' segment of Al Franken's book Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot has a squad of Republicans who avoided service in Vietnam (Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, and a few others) fragging Lt. Oliver North. A prequel chapter in Lies And The Lying Liars that Tell Them has them do it to every commander until Capt. Max Cleland managed to crawl back to base, whereupon they fled into the jungle. And John Kerry's crew (George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill O'Reilly, and a few others) do it to him and Al Gore, who's on board as a journalist.
  • Sharpe:
    • In Sharpe's Waterloo, the Prince of Orange (a.k.a. "The Young Frog"), who happens to be Sharpe's immediate (nominal) superior, is eventually shot by Sharpe because he's too stupid to lead and is putting everyone's lives at risk, having got two entire regiments killed. Later, Sharpe apologises to the member of the Prince of Orange's staff who'd finally snapped and told Sharpe (who had himself walked off in disgust) about what Orange had done... because it wasn't a kill shot. Wellington later figures it out in Sharpe's Assassin, and ends up being an Open Secret (because the circumstances of Sharpe's departure were not unknown, he was suspiciously nearby at the time, and he has a certain reputation). Fortunately, since it turned out to be a non-lethal wound that got a Spanner in the Works off the battlefield, Wellington a) thinks it's hilarious, b) tacitly praises Sharpe as it was "a very good shot" because of what it achieved.
    • Sharpe himself was the target of this or Uriah Gambit several times, usually by aristocratic officers who had been embarrassed by him.
    • Given the number of enemies they make on their own side, Sharpe and his friends pull this quite a few times. Notable examples include the bullying and murderous Sergeant Lynch being dispatched on patrol with a number of the men he'd bullied and last being seen with them all grinning at him (the remains are described as looking barely human), Sharpe casually dispatching Lieutenant Berry while on patrol (in his first very first appearance) and making it look like Lord Hale, who was actually killed by his wife, Sharpe's lover, in self-defence, died in battle at Trafalgar with the sailor who helps him dispose of the body catching on very quickly.
    Sharpe: I'm taking him up on deck -
    Clouter: Where he died, sir. Of course.
    • After one of the Battles in Sharpe's Enemy, Sharpe is informed that A: a major was killed and B: he was rather obviously shot in the back. Sharpe asks if the man was unpopular and when informed that he was widely hated, he simply shrugs and notes, "It happens."
    • In the same scene Sharpe also reminisces on some other incidents he recalls, including an officer so hated he begged the men to at least let the enemy kill him. Sharpe is reasonably certain they granted his wish...
    • Despite his best efforts (including no fewer than three prior attempts) Sharpe's killing of Hakeswill isn't a case of this. When he finally rids himself of the loathsome sergeant, it's by administration of the coup de grace after a firing squad didn't quite finish the job of killing the now convicted deserter.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the Star Wars Legends novel Shatterpoint, the trope is Invoked by Mace Windu. During the climactic battle, a horde of Separatist droid starfighters are decimating the clone ground forces. Mace manages to commandeer two gunships of the local militia, who are allied with the Separatists, and fires on the starfighters. The droids, not having the programming to understand hijacking, believe that the militia has turned on them, and promptly annihilate dozens of the gunships.
    • In a Star Wars Expanded Universe story, the "Look, sir, droids!" stormtrooper does this. He had been a promising AT-AT pilot who was relegated to backwater stormtrooper duty after exposing a flaw in the AT-AT design to its creator. He is repeatedly confronted with the cruelty of the Empire, including the Lars murders and the massacre of the Jawas, and especially of his commanding officer. When he sees his captain draw a bead on Han Solo during the hangar bay fight, he calmly shoots him in the back. He later defected and informed the rebels about that little flaw...
  • In The Short-Timers, a Vietnam War era novel by Gustav Hasford which famously inspired Full Metal Jacket, fragging of the Marines platoon leader is implied though not confirmed. It doesn't help that the character in question is both a sociopath and in habit of bragging about his alleged exploits in the area of killing his superiors.
    Animal Mother spits a lot because he thinks it makes him look tough. "Lifers never get wasted. Just the ones I frag, that's all." [...] "The platoon radioman was down. Some redneck from Alabama. I forget his name. Took a sniper round through the knee. The Skipper went out to get him. A frag got him. A frag got them both. At least..." Cowboy turns to look at Animal Mother. "At least, that's how Mother tells it, and he was walking point."
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: During the Battle of the Blackwater, a mysterious employer hires Mandon Moore one of the kingsguard to deal with Tyrion. Were it not for Podrick Payne, Tyrion almost certainly would've been doomed. As it is, he now sports a truly hideous scar from the encounter, having only barely recognized the threat in time for the first blow.
  • In The Stand, after Sergeant Peters executes DJ Ray Flowers, his own men, fed up with what they see as senseless murdering of civilians, open up on him on the spot. One shocked private refers to it as "We just scragged Sergeant Peters!"
  • This is the final fate of Captain Fisher, a.k.a. "Billy Liar", in Kim Newman's Alternate History novella Teddy Bears' Picnic. His troops frag him by tossing a white phosphorus grenade into his tent while he is sleeping; a practice known as 'white saucing'.
  • Warhammer 40,000 Expanded Universe:
    • In the Blood Angels novel Red Fury, Flesh Tearers fire on a location where they know Blood Angels are. While they know they will survive, being Astartes, they also know they will be caught in the rubble. (The first of several unfriendly incidents.)
    • The Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) novels strongly imply that this is frequent practice in the 40K universe. Commissars are frequent targets, primarily because shooting soldiers for crimes/cowardice in the field (or just to keep the others in line) is their job. In fact, Cain's motivation for not behaving like a stereotypical Commissar and inspiring his men without needing to shoot them is specifically to avoid little accidents like these.
    • Gaunt's Ghosts:
      • In The Guns of Tanith, Lijah Cuu uses this method to dispose of Bragg.
      • In the next novel, Straight Silver, Cuu likewise uses this as cover to murder Sehra Muril. Larkin considers doing this to Cuu, even joining a patrol with his hated enemy to find the opportunity, but agonizes over the shot and ultimately can't take it, much to his later shame and regret.
      • In Ghostmaker, Sturm ordered his artillery to open fire on the Ghosts because they were chasing enemies and he could claim it was a Friend or Foe? situation.
    • Horus Heresy:
      • At the end of False Gods, Loken explains to Torgaddon that Varkasus had been killed with Imperial ammunition — and not a stray shot, but dead on.
      • In Galaxy in Flames, Loken tells this to two iterators and concludes it was because he wanted certain men court-martialed. They conclude that nay-sayers are being eliminated. Later in the book, the Warmaster sends a third of his forces to a planet and virus-bombs them. Only Tarvitz's discovery let any of the betrayed men survive. After the attack, Tarvitz goes to join his Legion's survivors, partly in hope of reorganizing their forces, but part so that he could die with them at need, in defiance of the division the Warmaster had tried to bring.
  • This is one of Tigerclaw's methods in the Warrior Cats series when he's still a Villain with Good Publicity before his exile:
    • After a border fight, he kills the Clan deputy, Redtail, hopińg he'll be made deputy himself. He places the blame for Redtail's death on Oakheart, whom Redtail had been fighting against and who had been killed in the battle so he wouldn't be around to deny it. Too bad Ravenpaw had been hiding in the bushes and saw it happen...
    • Wanting to kill his leader in order to become leader himself, Tigerclaw convinces a group of rogues to attack the camp. During the battle, he attacks Bluestar, hoping to make it look like a rogue had killed her.
  • A pilot working for the bad guys in Win, Lose or Die tries to kill James Bond during a flight exercise with Sea Harrier jets.
  • In Robinson's trilogy of World War I air novels, Hornet Squadron are incensed when one of their number is shot down, in a confused air battle, by a French fighter pilot. They agree that one particular French squadron has done this so often that it cannot be put down to accident or bad aircraft recognition. They set aside their war with the Germans for just long enough to ambush a French patrol and fight an older war between Britain and France. Just to make the point.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Discussed at various points in Band of Brothers. Sobel is the most popular subject.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): After demanding at gunpoint that his troops carry out an ill-conceived attack on Kobol, Crashdown gets shot in the back by Dr. Baltar, who later claims he died "in the best traditions of the service". None of the others dispute this version of events. For bonus points, the episode is titled "Fragged". Cally then uses it to blackmail Baltar in the very next episode to get Tyrol out of trouble, however — displaying remarkable ingratitude, given that Crashdown was threatening to shoot her in the head when Baltar killed him, something Baltar all but lampshades.
  • On Better Call Saul Matt Ehrmantraut was an honest cop in a precinct full of dirty cops. He was killed in the line of duty by "an unknown drugdealer" while backed up by the two cops who feared that he would turn them in for taking bribes.
  • The Cadfael episode "One Corpse Too Many" uses a variation on both this and Uriah Gambit. After a mass hanging there is an extra corpse hidden among them. The extra corpse was strangled, not hanged — but it turns out that one of those hanged was The Mole and was meant to have been spared, and the villain deliberately set him up to be hanged as well, so as not to have to share the treasure.
  • Alluded to on Everybody Loves Raymond, regarding Frank Barone's military experiences.
    Frank Barone: You ever heard of 'friendly fire'? Well, sometimes it ain't so friendly.
  • In Game of Thrones, castellan Ralf Kenning is offed by his own men after he refuses to surrender the Greyjoy garrison of Moat Cailin to the Boltons (acting as vassals of the Iron Throne).
  • In "The Even Chance" of Horatio Hornblower, Jack Simpson tries to kill his shipmates in the middle of a raid by setting knocked-out Kennedy adrift in a boat and shooting Hornblower (he hits him in the head and he falls from a mast into the sea). Kennedy goes M.I.A. and is presumed dead. Hornblower is saved by Finch, a lower-deck sailor from his division. Unfortunately, Hornblower has no proof that it was Simpson who shot at him. The dispute is solved with Simpson's challenge to a duel.
  • This gets mentioned in an episode of M*A*S*H when a wounded enlisted man dies on the table. When Hawkeye informs his squadmates one caustically questions whether it was an enemy soldier that killed him or one of theirs. It turns out the soldier was a known thief and con artist who had been targeting his own squad.
  • The NUMB3RS episode aptly named "Friendly Fire" reveals that Don's mentor is a Crooked Cop who used a shootout as a cover to kill a member of his own team after finding out he was an Internal Affairs informant, and then killed a second agent because he witnessed the first murder.
  • In the TV series Over There, The Neidermeyer is killed by friendly fire after sacrificing several soldiers to protect a money truck and threatening to arrest another who protested his orders. While the incident is officially labeled as accidental, it is implied that one of the soldiers in the squad shot him intentionally.
  • Discussed by Leckie in The Pacific after his Jerkass CO steals a box Leckie looted from a Japanese camp on New Gloucester.
  • In an episode of the German police series Polizeiruf 110, Hauptkommissarin Johanna Herz investigates a murder during a re-enactment of the battle of Großbeeren (near Berlin), while her husband, a historian, investigates a local legend that Napoleon had a young French officer killed by arranging for him to be shot in the back during the 1813 battle because he had cuckolded him with his mistress, Maria Walewska.
  • Search: Min-guk intends to report the truth about how North Korean soldiers opened fire on his group and a North Korean deserter, even though the incident would get him and the other survivors dishonourably discharged. Lee Hyeok shoots him to prevent this.
  • At the end of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "To the Death", the Jem'Hadar First almost casually guns down his Vorta overseer (an early iteration of Weyoun) for impugning his loyalty to the Dominion earlier in the episode. When Sisko relays this to another First after the war starts (trying to convince him that the First's Vorta is pulling an Uriah Gambit), the latter decries it as a severe breach of discipline.
  • Top Gear: During an episode where they face off against German car show rivals D Motor, the two teams use a paintball-shooting "tank" to try and shoot the other team's car. James proceeds to open fire against their own car, being driven by Vitriolic Best Bud Jeremy:
    Richard: James, what are you doing!?
    James: Shooting at Jeremy.
    Richard: But he's on our side!
    James: Yeah, but why wouldn't you?
    Richard: You're right, you would. Fire!
  • In Ultimate Force, Henno clears a room with his commanding officer, picks up an enemy AK-47, and shoots half a clip into his back in retaliation for sleeping with the wife of one of his men. Afterwards he has a Coke.
  • Whodunnit? (UK): In "Goodbye Sarge", the Victim of the Week is a Drill Sergeant Nasty shot by one of his men who tried to make it look like the work of an enemy sniper.

  • The famous socialist anthem "The Internationale" calls on soldiers to pull this on their officers, rather than shoot their "comrades" on the other side:
    No more deluded by reaction,
    On tyrants only we'll make war!
    The soldiers too will take strike action;
    They'll break ranks and fight no more!
    And if those cannibals keep trying
    To sacrifice us to their pride,
    They soon will hear the bullets flying:
    We'll shoot the generals on our own side!
  • Sabaton's "Long Live the King" speculates this was the cause of Carolus Rex's death.
    Killed by his own or by his foes?
    Turned the tide!
    Three hundred years, still no one knows.
    The secret remains!

  • In the Moscow arc of Panopticon Quest, Panopticon drop a jamming field on Jamelia's location, then fake a distress signal calling for danger close fire support to give themselves an excuse to fire on her.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Deadlands, Captain Jasper Stone threatened to shoot his own men for refusing his suicidal orders. They shot him first... then the Reckoning happened, and he promptly rose from the grave and became Death's right-hand man.
  • The Hobbit Card Game features this as an unfortunate side effect of some characters' card-dealing abilities. With particularly bad tricks, they may not even get a choice in the matter.
  • Paranoia encourages PCs to take advantage of this: "You're not looking for an excuse to shoot your buddy, you're looking for an opportunity to shoot him while he's distracted." But of course no loyal citizen of Alpha Complex would do this to another. It also points out that Make It Look Like an Accident is even better, and Let's You and Him Fight is better still.
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • As mentioned under the Literature examples above, this is something that has a tendency to happen to Commissars, and is probably why all of the novel viewpoint characters are particularly trigger-unhappy when it comes to their own men. In fact, this was an actual rule for Imperial Guard armies in earlier editions when playing the Catachans, since they were based on Vietnam War American Troops, and this is where the practice became most common (in the public's eye, at least). You had to roll for every commissar in your army, with a one in six chance that he was fragged before the battle started. In addition, if a Guard unit with an attached Commissar does rout despite his presence (after he has already executed the unit's officer for their first leadership failure), the Commissar is removed from that squad... because the Guardsmen shot and killed him before he could start killing them for cowardice.
    • Also, a possible secret objective in games, particularly Apocalypse battles, is to get an allied, but rival character or unit killed. Actually inverted in one White Dwarf battle report, though, where one player's objective was to make sure his commander died gloriously, while another one was tasked with keeping him alive!
    • Kharn didn't get his title "the Betrayer" for nothing; the particular incident was when he grabbed a flamer and started attacking friendly and enemy forces alike after they had bunkered down to wait out a severe snowstorm (his actions shattered both the World Eaters and Emperor's Children Legions into small warbands). On the Tabletop, Kharn always hits in combat, but rolls of 1 mean he hits one of his retinue instead of the enemy.
    • A bizarre instance of this is why the Crimson Fists nearly went extinct. During a siege against an Ork attack, a Crimson Fist missile somehow missed its target, bypassed the shields of the Fortress Monastery, and blew the whole thing to Kingdom Come when it struck their munitions stash. Several people question if it was an accident, or deliberate sabotage.
  • Warhammer Fantasy
    • A Skaven's (rat-man) life is cheap, they are the only Warhammer troops that can shoot into melee and deliberately kill their own. Casualties are divided evenly amongst the Skaven and the enemy. This is known as Corateral Damage.
    • The special "misfire" charts of many skaven war machines (which the skaven player must roll on when things go horribly wrong with their shot) include a result where the enemy player can choose a nearby skaven unit to resolve the shot against, since someone on the skaven side is clearly trying to settle an old score (or has paid the war machine crew to do it for them).
    • Orcs have the "animosity" rule that can lead them to (on a really bad roll) attack the nearest orc unit because of some perceived insult. Having a Black Orc around prevents this from happening.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat
    • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War: In Mission 09, an allied comms during a massive beachhead operation Yuktobanian soil has one soldier request you bomb his own platoon's commander. If you say no, he said sorry to bother you and immediately informs his friend to "look for another alternative". If you do say yes, he will attempt to give you the coordinates, before seemingly getting Killed Mid-Sentence.
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown:
    • In the mission "Faceless Soldier", it is speculated that AWACS Bandog intentionally tagged Full Band as an enemy during an ambush by Erusean fighters with spoofed Osean IFFs, leading to Count shooting Full Band down by mistake. The most probable motive is that Full Band was blabbering out classified information nonstop in a combat zone which could jeopardize Spare Squadron's safety or even the entire Osean war effort, so Bandog has to silence him and Make It Look Like an Accident.
    • It is entirely possible for the Player Character to do this in the next mission "Transfer Orders". Trigger and Count are tasked with escorting their Base Commander, Colonel McKinsey, across the border of an allied country, but along the way, Trigger can shoot down McKinsey’s plane, and be rewarded a thousand points for it, with AWACS Bandog remarking that the cargo wasn’t worth protecting. The downside, is that doing so results in the mission failing.
  • In Borderlands 2, the missions in Overlook introduce you to one of the town's inhabitants, a misogynist Jerkass named Dave. He repeatedly insults and berates the Vault Hunter while they're doing missions that directly benefit him, and is even worse towards Karima, Overlook's mayor and quest-giver. After helping Karima construct a Deflector Shield to protect the town, your final mission is to test it by commandeering a Hyperion mortar and firing it at Overlook. At Karima's direction, you input the coordinates and launch the mortar. Dave breaks into your radio channel to spew some more grossly offensive comments towards Karima... until the mortar shell comes down on top of his house, sending it and him plummeting into the sea. Karima then cheerily comments something along the lines of, "Okay, now let's try it with the shield up".
  • Recursive example in the original Call of Duty, at the beginning of the Russian campaign, you (as an unarmed conscript) are directed by a sniper to move to a position where you and he can take out a German machine-gun team. Problem: the new position is slightly further off the line of battle, and Comrade Stalin's orders of "not one step back" are being enforced by The Political Officer, who is gunning down anyone who's moving backward even in a flanking maneuver. Solution: you go first, drawing the political officer's attention and aim, and the sniper clears the way for you.
  • Modern Warfare 2
    • There is a huge twist towards the end, in which General Shepherd uses Roach and Ghost to obtain information implicating him as the mastermind behind the massive war breaking out between America and Russia, then suddenly executes both of them. He presumably covers it up by claiming they were killed in battle. Note that this is not an inversion since the trope criteria doesn't specify the direction ranks between the victim and perpetrator go, but a superior officer killing his own men in a way that fits this trope is fairly rare.
    • Shepherd tries to do this to everyone in the 141 after Russia declares war, becoming more blatant about it as the game goes on. After retrieving Rojas in Brazil, Shepherd blocks the escape chopper, forcing the 141 to call Nikolai to evac them, and letting a few dozen of Rojas's men try to kill them in the meantime. While storming the Gulag, Shepherd tries to bring down the castle with the Navy's missiles with the 141 still inside, halfheartedly apologizing by saying that "The Navy's not in a talking mood right now" when the walls start crumbling. In the airplane graveyard, Price and Soap get caught in the middle between Makarov's and Shepherd's men, and in Shepherd's Afghanistan base, Shepherd activates the base's self-destruct mechanism and calls down artillery fire on his own troops to get Price and Soap, saying "For those of you still inside, your service will be noted."
    • A similar thing happens earlier: Makarov shoots Joesph Allen after the massacring the Russian airport at the end of the mission No Russian, but that's because he knows Allen's The Mole—in fact, doing so was part of the entire plan, making Allen a tragic Unwitting Pawn.
  • The enemies in Charlie Murder attack lazily, and they deal damage to one another if they connect. Likewise, your team can also deal friendly fire damage to each other, but only if there are no enemies on screen.
  • This is basically what happens to Zack (and nearly Cloud) in Crisis Core. Both were loyal soldiers for Shinra, Inc., but after witnessing the Nibelheim Incident, discovering the truth about the Jenova Project, and being experimented on by Hojo, they were deemed to Know Too Much and a (massive) army of Shinra military police were sent to 'eliminate the escaped experiments', with tragic results.
  • The first mission of Deus Ex has Denton trying to capture a barrel of Ambrosia and an NSF leader. After doing so, a soldier comes up to secure both. Denton can kill him, and that leads to this exchange:
    Manderley: Do you know what happened to the soldier we sent in to retrieve the Ambrosia?
    Denton: No sir. Friendly fire?
    Manderley: Not so friendly, I'm afraid. I have opened an investigation. Dismissed.
  • Any collateral damage in F/A-18 Hornet results in court-martialling of the player character.
  • It's heavily implied in Fallout 4 that this was how Sarah Lyons was killed after her father's death, which paved the way for Maxson's tenure as Elder, as appointed by the traditionalist Lost Hills branch.. It is also possible to inflict friendly fire and even kill a settler during a settlement defense radiant quest. Be warned that if you do so, it is considered murder, and many of your companions will drop their affinity for you to the lowest extreme, and leave you permanently. Or even attack you, forcing you to kill them.
  • Fallout: New Vegas
    • The main game has a sidequest with the Boomers where one of them has a crush on a member of the Crimson Caravan Company. You can lie to her and tell her that it's safe to travel to the Boomer's base, resulting in her being killed by their artillery defenses.
    • At the beginning of the DLC Honest Hearts, as you are fighting off the tribals that wiped out your caravan party, Follows-Chalk suddenly jumps into the fray. Unwary players with sniper rifles may accidentally shoot him, causing failure of the main quest.
  • In Fights in Tight Spaces, you can get enemies to attack each other by first having them target you, then moving out of the way and pushing the enemy you want targeted into the attacking enemy's range.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, the only school of magic that is Friendly Fireproof is summoning, so if you cast a spell that takes a while to go off the AI will make a beeline to one of your allies such that they get caught the area of effect and the otherwise insanely powerful Math Skill (which allows you to instantly cast most types of non-summoning magic for free so long as your target's level, experience, CT, or height is a prime number or a multiple of 3, 4, or 5) is dangerous to use because it's totally indiscriminate.
  • From Fire Emblem Fates Conquest we have a rare heroic example with Hans and Iago as the targets after they try to kill Corrin:
    Xander: Say what you will, coward. Our father is not here to protect his lapdog. We'll tell him you were murdered by some remaining Hoshidan rebels. How tragic.
  • In Iji, Krotera is such an extreme General Ripper, that when he breaks the truce during a Pacifist Run, one of his troops happily takes it as an excuse to nail him with a BFG and blame it on the protagonist. Iosa The Invincible may also suffer the same fate, especially during a Pacifist Run, as a fellow Komato thinks that Iosa's aggressive nature is not a good thing (not to mention that Iosa knows about her illegal weapon smuggling activities on the side).
  • In L.A. Noire, during a flashback to World War 2, when Phelps orders his flamethrower to incinerate a Japanese cave full of injured soldiers and civilians, he is shot in the back by Courtney Sheldon. Sergeant Kelso then orders that he be brought to an aid station and that 'everything that happened in here stays in here'.
  • This method is one way of settling the difficulty with Urdnot Wrex during the Virmire mission in Mass Effect.
  • In Mass Effect: Andromeda you are asked by a turian Marietta to help clear the name of her husband Nilken Rensis who has been convicted of fratricide on his squad leader during a hopeless battle against the Kett. Your investigation into the matter technically clears Nilken. It was a shot from a Kett weapon that killed the squad leader. But an audio log shows that Nilken did argue with and even scuffled with his squad leader, while the squad was engaging hostile Kett. Most damming is a recording in which Nilken fired his weapon at his squad leader — it was only his dumb luck that his shot missed. You can, if you choose to, exile him for his attempt at fratricide.
  • In [PROTOTYPE] you get a "Patsy" ability that lets you accuse people of being you, and if there are soldiers nearby they'll invariably gun them down. With enough patience, you can clear out an entire military base like this since they never wise up.
    Blackwatch Commander: Do we fucking care if we're wrong?
  • In the Rainbow Six series starting with 3 at least, teammates shout "Murphy! Murphy!" when fired upon by friendly fire or if a grenade accidentally gets thrown near them.
  • If you shoot an ally (even accidentally) in Soldier of Fortune II, the others will immediately execute you.
  • Spec Ops: The Line: Played for Drama. Essentially the whole game consists of Martin Walker and his Delta Force squad clearing Dubai of the Damned 33rd Infantry. However, it becomes pretty clear early on that there are no good or bad guys in this game, and everyone in Dubai is going to die, one way or the other.
  • StarCraft:
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic
    • In the Sith Warrior storyline, one of your companions, Captain Malavai Quinn, tells you about a Grand Moff he served under who, due to turning a key battle around against orders, has made Quinn's career in the Imperial military hit stone wall upon stone wall. Said Grand Moff, however, is batshit insane and likely suffering from dementia, referring to Quinn as "Admiral Malcontent," believing that to be Quinn's name and rank, even going as far as to blame Quinn for Revan and Bastilla's escape from Taris in KOTOR 1 three centuries prior, something neither the Moff nor Quinn were even alive for, and an event that may not have actually happened, ultimately leading to this, during which the Moff is ordering your character and companions to kill themselves. And there is much rejoicing from the soldiers formerly under the Moff's command after he's been "retired."
  • Wing Commander:
    • After Maniac is first introduced, the colonel giving the mission briefing tells "Bluehair" that he has permission to shoot Maniac if he "gives you any static". It prompts this exchange:
      Bluehair: Should I use missiles or ship's guns, sir?
      Colonel: Guns. Save your missiles for more important targets.
    • Blair threatens Maniac with this in Wing Commander III, after the latter makes one of his usual snide remarks when Blair is still dealing with his girlfriend Angel having been disemboweled.
  • Valiant Hearts: By the end of the game, a commanding officer from the French Army orders scores and scores of his men into the meatgrinder in a desperate attempt at charging and securing a German fortification, despite fighting for a lost cause. Emile, in order to save his comrades, whacks his own commander with his shovel.
  • Warframe: While the game normally uses Friendly Fireproof for both sides, the "Radiation" status effect turns this off, in order to simulate confusion. Due to heavy Health/Damage Asymmetry, oftentimes the first sign that a player has been affected by Radiation is when everyone else in the team is suddenly downed, as the player's overpowered weapons kill everyone in one hit.
  • In X-COM: UFO Defense, if a trooper gets mind controlled by an Ethereal, you have to kill the soldiernote  or else the Ethereal will use him to attack the rest of your team.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Red vs. Blue miniseries "Recovery One", Agent South shoots Agent Wash to provide armor equipment as bait for the Meta and escape from the scene. In fact, she frequently puts her allies in a position to die. Her brother, for example, suffered such a fate, and she nearly gave Delta to the Meta to get away. Wash returns the favor in kind when he finally catches up to her. Several of Sarge's plans start and finish with him shooting Grif. Slightly fewer start and finish with him directing someone else to shoot Grif.

    Web Comics 
  • One of Black Mage's many, many plans for dealing with Fighter in 8-Bit Theater. It doesn't work.
    Red Mage: Won't he be caught in the blast?
    Black Mage: No, but technically the dragon will be.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Discussed, just after a wargame in which ex-General Karl Tagon called down an artillery strike on his own squad of hand-painted duck-lobber gnomes in order to ensure victory.
      Karl Tagon: If you hate somebody, using them to bait a trap might as well be murder. If there has to be a sacrifice, and it can't be you, it had better be somebody you like.
      Time-Clone Kevyn: Do you have many friends, General?
      Karl: Living? No, not really.
    • Schlock Mercenary also has a much more downplayed example with gunfoam rounds and low-profile body armor. Because it's harmless (roughly akin to a firm kick to the shin), it becomes incredibly tempting to tap someone on the shoulder from fifty paces. That, and shooting your commanding officer in the back never gets old.

    Web Videos 
  • In Freeman's Mind, this is a Running Gag with the HECU marines, along with other military stupidities. The soldiers have a tendency to shoot, blow up, and call down airstrikes on their buddies. Freeman has four theories about this behavior: 1) The soldiers all hate each other and are shooting each other on purpose, 2) The military are being covered up along with the scientists (which is actually true, but wasn't the cause of all the friendly fire- the black ops/"ninjas" were behind it), 3) Everyone's on drugs, and 4) The soldiers are just really, really stupid. The actual reason is Artificial Stupidity- among other things, the HECU enemies aren't programmed to be cautious of their fellow soldiers when using grenades or to acknowledge the grenades that other marines threw, resulting in a lot of running over a just-thrown grenade to get at Freeman and getting blown up.
  • SeaNanners is guilty of this on a relatively frequent basis in Trouble in Terrorist Town and Garry's Mod in general. He has on occasion been banned from his own server for this.
  • At the end of the mission Foymer's Barn published by Shack Tactical (a gaming clan that specializes in ARMA and other military games), a member of the group called Madcows apparently mistakes a teammate for the enemy and kills him. That would be bad enough, but the teammate he killed was a team leader of one of the fire teams and Dslyecxi, the clan founder, happens to be nearby and is less than pleased about the carelessness that was displayed. So Dslyecxi orders Madcows to stand over the body and apologize to it without looking away. Dslyecxi then stands behind Madcows and carefully lines up a shot to the back of Madcows' head... and the footage suddenly skips forward a few seconds and shows Madcows dead on the floor, apparently due to an "enemy sniper" in the nearby woods, despite the fact that Shack Tac doesn't play with snipers and less than a minute later a message confirms that the mission is over and all of the enemy in the area have been killed off. Odd, that. And strangely enough, several other players from the group are thanking Dslyecxi for some reason, although they won't say why.
  • Simon Lane has developed a tendency of buying suicide bombs in TTT and detonating them when a large group of people cluster, irrespective as to whether or not his comrades are amongst them.
  • Strippin, while rarely playing TTT, ends up injuring or killing enough innocents that he ends up with lower karma than Simon Lane during the TTT Christmas livestreams. Given how badly Simon falls into this trope, that should tell you a lot.
  • After Turpster presses Lewis Brindley's Berserk Button one time too many in Trouble in Terrorist Town, specifically by killing people with poor justification, the latter is eager to get their revenge on the former and does so even though they're both innocent. This results in Lewis gunning down Sips, who was the detective and therefore innocent, in self-defence.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, some Jerkass Earth Kingdom soldiers come to inform a family that their son was captured in the line of duty. They then go on to taunt them with his most probable fate; that the Fire Nation will dress captives up in red, and place them in the battlefield without weapons, to be killed by their own side. And then they kidnap the younger son to forcibly enlist him.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Umbaran troops, after employing guerrilla tactics for a few episodes, steal several Clone Trooper uniforms, leading to some cases of this. Except everyone killed in that battle was a Clone Trooper, and the Umbarans stealing uniforms story was entirely a ruse by their Smug Snake Jedi General, to make the Republic lose the battle, and help him prove himself to the Sith. In response, both Clonetrooper units turn on him and arrest him.

    Real Life 
  • Julian the Apostate was the only Roman emperor after Constantine to attempt to revive the pagan religions. He was killed in a skirmish with the Persians, and some have alleged that it was one of his Christian soldiers who killed him. Others say he was simply Too Dumb to Live, as he didn't wear armor on the day he died because he thought he was a god and therefore invulnerable. More sober explanation would be the fact that he was mortally wounded when leading a counter-attack against a Persian cavalry unit, which ambushed him and his party during their — rather hasty — withdrawal from Persia, so choosing between wearing/not wearing armor was probably not amongst his options at the moment.
  • Similarly, King Charles XII of Sweden dropped dead from a gunshot to the head while peering out of a trench during a battle in 1718. Rumour has always had it that one of his own officers was sick and tired of twenty years of uninterrupted war and blew the King's brains out (using a uniform button for a bullet).
  • There were also rumors about the death of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in the battle of Lützen (1632) being the work of a treacherous officer of his own army.
  • The Battle of Pelagonia 1259 between Nicaean Byzantines and Latin Empire. At the crucial moment when both armies were engaged, the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII ordered his archers to shoot in the melee, risking his own German mercenaries. He trusted their heavy armour could withstand the arrows. In the end, the gamble paid off: the Byzantines won decisively, and two years later Michael reconquered Constantinople.
  • Most infamously prevalent during The Vietnam War (from which the term "fragging" for such an act originated), where a specific set of informal rules developed surrounding it. For instance, incompetent and cruel officers could be fragged without warning, whilst it was considered fair to warn brave or overzealous officers by way of placing a grenade pin in their bed beforehand, giving them a chance to change their behavior. Some units even offered bounties for the deaths of particular officers. In all, there were some 800 confirmed attempts with 86 deaths and approximately 700 injured. These are just the documented cases; there's likely many more that we'll never know about.
  • Also something of a problem during the Wars of the Roses, largely due to the trust issues that were a feature of that conflict. The most spectacular example occurred during the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, when the Duke of Somerset confronted his own infantry commander, Lord Wenlock, and demanded to know why Wenlock hadn't committed his men. Before Wenlock could answer, Somerset dashed his brains out with a battleaxe.
  • During the Mexican-American War, some unhappy soldiers tried to blow up then-Lieutenant Braxton Bragg with an explosive shell under his bed. Bragg survived unscathed. The bed, however, was stuffed.
  • During World War I, many candidate officers of the Italian Army served on the frontline, and they were often excessively brutal to their men. During the retreat of Caporetto, losses among candidate officers were extremely high.
  • Enlisted pilots of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force in WWII. The officers were usually fresh from flight school while enlisted men could be battle-hardened veterans. If the officer wasn't nice enough for his men, they would simply abandon him in the middle of the battle, resulting in him being shot down.
  • The Austrian Army once fought a full-scale battle with itself. In 1788, the Austrians were scouting for the forces of the Ottoman Empire near the city of Karansebes, but two different divisions hindered by bad or non-existent scouting mistook each other for Ottomans, and fired on each other instead. 10,000 soldiers died, and two days later, the Ottomans showed up and captured the city. Apparently the two responsible generals loathed each other and may well have decided to have a duel on the grand scale.
  • Pat Tillman, who gave up an NFL career to join the Army Rangers, was critical of the War on Terror and of President Bush, and was planning to meet with the vocal anti-war campaigner Noam Chomsky, was shot and killed by other US army soldiers in Afghanistan. His death was at first covered up as being due to the enemy, and it's often speculated that he was deliberately murdered due to his beliefs.
  • The Germans learned to station their Hungarian and Romanian allies away from each other during World War 2.
  • One of the particularly disliked commanders of the Polish Communist army after World War 2, general Karol Świerczewski, was allegedly killed while travelling in a small group of soldiers by "Ukrainian snipers". Nobody questioned the bayonet wound in the back.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Fragging


Bloody May

Policemen Rath and Wolter get caught in the historic Berlin 1st of May riots of 1929. These ultimately lead to at least 33 civilian deaths, opposite one policeman injured.

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Main / UnfriendlyFire

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