French Army shoot 17 of their own

SEVENTEEN people were injured when soldiers fired live bullets instead of blanks during a military display in France’s southwest.
….investigators believed the deadly ammunition was loaded by mistake.
A bit hard to imagine. Most blank rounds, in my experience, are a different colour and weigh a lot less. I have no experience with French blank rounds but can’t imagine them being much different. Should make for a career changing and interesting investigation. UPDATE: A sergeant has been identified as the culprit;
The 28-year-old sergeant fired his assault rifle into a crowd of hundreds of visitors watching a mock hostage rescue operation Sunday at the base near the southwestern city of Carcassonne.
He fired the shots from his FAMAS assault rifle and was described as an experienced soldier with no history of behavioural or psychological problems. The report confirms my belief that French blank ammo is of a different colour and weight than live ball ammo. Presuming he only fired one mag of maybe 30 rounds then 19 hits is pretty deliberate shooting and even if he fired it all in one burst it’s still hard to imagine all those casualties. The final report will be interesting


  • The report in the SMH claims he took the magazine from a pocket (I’m assuming they mean ammo pouch) and

    I suspect this guy is going to be in pretty serious merde. Having the live ammo is probably a pretty serious breach of protocol and procedures to start with, let alone then not noticing it when he loaded his weapon is another level of negligence. As for hitting 19 people from a 30 round magazine… if eveyrone was crowded together then firing a full magazine in a burst might still hit that many people. But to get through a full mag without noticing people were being shot seems remerkable.

  • Yeah……it’s hard to imagine it happening without some serious intent or temporary influence of maybe insanity or drugs.

  • I’m not sure but if you watch the clip closely at about the 10-11 sec mark there are two soldiers in the shot and the one closest to the camera shoulders his gun and almost appears to roundhouse kick the guy next to him (the camera moves off to the right so you don’t actually see anything connect).

    Assuming the kickee was the shooter, it might not mean anything other than he didn’t notice people getting hurt – a common cause of shooting accidents is not to notice what is happening behind the target – but it would certainly indicate that the injuries were perceivable by someone paying attention.

  • There have been incidences of mixed ammo here in Australia. Fortunately, the most notable thing that has occurred (so far) has been the spectacular destruction of the blank-firing adapter on the weapon and occasionally, minor damage to the weapon itself.

    How can ammunition types get mixed up? Poor training and carelessness are the immediate causes.

    It is not uncommon in serious training to conduct a blank fire rehearsal of a section or platoon assault before doing it with real ammunition. Thus troops may be in possession of two types of ammunition at some time during the exercise.

    However, all blank is supposed to be withdrawn before the live fire phase. Sometimes a dopey digger will “forget” to remove the blank adapter. How this can happen is beyond me as they are painted “signal red” and look funny on the end of the barrel. Machine guns have special blank-firing barrels with muzzle restrictor nuts instead of flash hiders on them, so they are also a bit obvious.

    The rules controlling ammunition issue and withdrawal are very straightforward to the point of obsessiveness.

    Blank and ball have very different recoil and muzzle blast characteristics as well.

    What has me perplexed in this French case is the sheer quantity of ball rounds fired without the firer noticing the destruction / loss of the BFA and the greatly increased muzzle blast. Poor situational awareness is putting it mildly.

    Tragic for the victims.