|French West Indies. Martinique, Guadeloupe, and even smaller dependencies.|
|friction. A political-military concept developed by Clausewitz pointing to unplanned-for eventualities that nevertheless will always affect the outcome of such an exceptionally complicated human endeavor as the conduct of war. Friction is the progressive accumulation of small difficulties and unforeseen circumstances, which resists the will of commanders and strategists to move in one direction and not another in their conduct of a battle or a war. It thus makes leadership in war more an art than a science, as it wears down and undermines all detailed planning and thus calls upon other qualities, such as intuition and innovation. These contingencies may include, he wrote, such varied influences as the level of fatigue of one’s troops or the enemy’s, personality or career conflicts among officers, minor errors of deployment or misread topography, misconceived or misunderstood orders, the weather, and any other chance event. Machiavelli called this “fortuna.” See alsofog of war; retreat from Moscow; Schlieffen Plan.|
|friendly fire. (1) Ordnance fired by one’s own side in a battle. (2) When such fire leads to accidental infliction of casualties on one’s own troops or those of one’s allies. A legion of possible examples include the following. During the opening days of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Chinese planes attempting to bomb the Japanese fleet at Shanghai instead bombed the city, killing hundreds of Chinese civilians. In July 1943 the U.S. Navy shot down 23 American planes ferrying paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne in support of the invasion of Sicily; some 229 men were killed. During the Normandy campaign U.S. artillery units mistakenly killed 111 GIs and wounded more than 500 more. A month later, the Royal Air Force accidentally killed several hundred Canadians it was supporting during the battle to close the gap at Falaise. During the Gulf War a majority of British casualties were inflicted not by Iraqis, but by friendly British and American units. However, few examples can match this one from World War I, except perhaps among France’s allies and enemies in that war: General Charles Percin, of the French Army, subsequently calculated that at least 75,000 French infantry had been killed by their own artillery between 1914 and 1918.|
Paul Fussell, Wartime (1989).