Angry Annie Accident
Grafenwoehr, Germany - 1960
The worst U.S. ground training
accident of the entire Cold War!
553 Officers - Consolidated in the Angry Annie
Group 3/18 Artillery on June 25, 1958
On a rainy Friday morning on September 2, 1960, just after
roll-call, sixteen solders were killed and 27 were wounded when a
200-pound artillery shell landed amongst them at Camp Kasserine,
Grafenwöhr. All of the men were from the 3rd Reconnaissance
Squadron, 12th Calvary, 3rd Armored Division. The shell had an
incorrect charge, due to human error, and was fired by a V Corps
Artillery unit -- Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery.
3rd Howitzer Battalion - 18th Field
Artillery - Darmstadt, Germany 1962
Larry "Gene" Vanderdonck front center with
28 HURT BY SHELL
Howitzer, Fired in
Training, Hits Bavaria Tent Area
The New York Times
(front-page story on Sept. 3, 1960)
Bonn, Germany, Sept. 2 ,
1960 - Fifteen United States soldiers were killed and
twenty-eight were injured this morning when an eight-inch artillery
shell exploded at the Grafenwoehr training ground in Bavaria.
The headquarters of the
United States Army in Europe announced in Heidelberg that a howitzer
shell, fired during a training exercise of the Third Armored
Division, had veered from the planned target area. It exploded in
the tent camp of a reconnaissance squadron, the announcement said.
Maj. Gen. Frederic J.
Brown, commander of the division, stationed in Frankfurt, ordered an
immediate investigation. The seriously wounded victims were flown to
Army hospitals by helicopter.
The training ground, about
ninety miles square, is near the Czech border north of Nuremberg. It
is used for maneuvers and firing practice by West German and
Error" Cited in Deaths
of U.S. Soldiers in West Germany
United Press International
September 2, 1960 - The shell that killed fifteen United States
soldiers overshot its target by a mile because the powder charge was
heavy, the Army said today.
Maj. General Frederic J.
Brown, Third Armored Division commander, attributed the accident to
an overfire from "human error" by Battery A of the Eighteenth
Artillery under control of the Fifth Corps, stationed at Darmstadt.
The shell struck just after
roll-call on a rainy morning. It tore into three tents occupied by
soldiers of the division's Third Reconnaissance Squadron, Twelfth
Cavalry. It ripped through one tent, exploded in the second and
shredded in the third with steel fragments.
The Army said two of the
injured remained on the critical list, while three had returned to
The incident was the worst
ground-training accident involving United States forces in Germany
since World War II. In August, 1955, two C-119's on an air exercise
collided, killing more than sixty soldiers.
The eight-inch howitzer can
fire nuclear warheads. A conventional shell, the type that went awry
today, and weighs 200 pounds, of which about 36.75 pounds is high
explosive. The weapon weighs 94,000 pounds. It has a maximum range
of 18,510 yards, just over ten miles.
Howitzer shells follow a high trajectory
from a weapon to target, as contrasted with the flatter flight from
a gun, which has a rifled barrel.
16 VICTIMS OF SHELL
The Associated Press
Sept. 4, 1960 - Three thousand United States soldiers paid
homage today at a simple memorial ceremony to sixteen comrades,
victims of a training accident Friday.
Soldiers of the Third
Armored Division assembled in a hollow -- with 16 gaps in the ranks
-- before an altar between two fir trees.
Sixteen steel helmets on
tables near the altar bore testimony to the accident that killed
fifteen men outright and wounded twenty-seven when an overcharged
8-inch howitzer shell overshot an artillery range and landed in a
tent camp. One of the injured soldiers died yesterday. The army is
investigating the accident.
Where is Grafenwöhr?
Email this page to a friend.
The Associated Press
Washington, Sept. 4, 1960 -
Following is the list of sixteen U.S. soldiers killed when a
howitzer shell exploded on impact in Grafenwoehr, Germany, as
released hy the Pentagon. All were from the 3rd Reconnaissance
Squadron, 12th Calvary, 3rd Armored Division.
- BAROFALDI, Pfc. Robert E.,
Rio Vista, Calif.
- BECKWORTH, Specialist 4/c James B.,
- COCHRAN, Sgt. Charles,
- EASTHAM, Specialist 5/c Jack L.,
Blair, W. Va.
- HARRIS, Pfc. Norman D.
Hometown not reported
- HIGMAN, Pfc. Michael J.,
- JOHNSON, Specialist 4/c Earl,
- LOVE, Pfc. David L.,
Spring Hill, Tenn.
- LUCAS, Pfc. Eimo M., Jr.,
- MAPPIN, Sgt. 1/c Jack W., Jr.,
Fort Clayton, Canal Zone, Panama.
- MERRILL, Specialist 4/c William A.,
Hamburg, N. Y.
- NELSON, Pfc. Charles L.,
- PARKER, Pfc. J. C.,
- PLESHAKOV, Pfc. George,
Palo Alto, Calif.
- ROGERS, Sgt. 1/c Edward V.,
Dlllon, S. C.
- SAURINO, Pfc. Augustus J.,
New York, N.Y.
"September 2nd, 2010 is the 50th anniversary of this unfortunate event. I think it should get some mention on your website. Yes, I was there...as a newly arrived 19-year-old in HQ Battery. How many others are still kicking who were there? 50 years is a long time ago."
Top of Page