Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Zurich Is Stained

"I can't sing it strong enough/'cause that kind of strength i just don't have"
On March 4, 1945, six US bombers mistakingly bombed Zurich, Switzerland, violating the 96th Article of War. The resulting court-marshal of Lieutenants Sincock and Balides may have been the first addressing a "friendly fire" incident. (Interestingly, actor James Stewart presided over the proceedings.) Seven people were killed as the bombers unloaded over 24 tons of bombs and incendiaries on Zurich.
"What does it mean, a mistake or two?"
Apparently, the bombers were misdirected due to faulty navigation devices. Sincock and Balides were in the lead plane with Sincock as the leader of the group and Balides as his navigator. The case was tossed on account of the mechanical malfunctions.
"You think it's easy, but you're wrong/I am not one-half of the problem."
As one-half of the defendants, Balides undoubtedly denied his guilt since he hadn't ordered any bombs to be dropped. (Both defendants testified, though it was not necessary.) He simply mis-informed his pilot that they were flying over Frieburg, Germany. And besides, he was only one-third of the navigation crew. So, he really wasn't one-half of the problem.
"Zurich is stained and it's not my fault/Just hold me back or let me run."
Since the case was dropped, Balides went on to fly other missions. One such mission was so successful that it resulted in several crew members being awarded medals. Balides was denied a medal due to his participation in the Zurich bombing.

Sources: Wikipedia & "The Bombing of Zurich" by Dr. Jonathan E. Helmreich


Ian said...

Jesus, this is my favourite first post for one of these yet. And I'm a huge Pavement fan. I look forward to the rest of this one.

t. Cooke said...

Excellent. Thank you for this.

Zac said...

Sure. I guess I should start this thing up again, huh?

Carlos Kimm said...

(Random Internet person appreciates your posts, as well.)