HMS Barham Explosion

7 Military Tragedies that were caught on Tape

Within this list are 7 Military Tragedies that were caught on tape, capturing tragic events on video. 

These videos were caught by video cameras and were stored, publicized and are kept in an attempt to prevent similar occurrences. The creation of this article is similar in intention as well as to show you readers what could go wrong in various (military) circumstances as it is not only in war that tragic events can happen.

The videos are embedded within the list beneath information of what happened on that fateful day. They do not start automatically for the sake not to cause any distress, if you do not want to see the actual video.

The Most Incredible Video Footage of World War 2

Ramstein Air Show Disaster

The second deadliest air show disaster in history is that of Ramstein on August 28, 1988. Circa 300,000 people attended the annual Ramstein Airshow in West Germany which was held at the U.S. Ramstein Air Base. During the show, a mid-air collision occurred involving three Italian Aermacchi MB-339 PAN jets from the Italian Air Force display team, Frecce Tricolori.

After one of the aircraft collided with the two other jets, the plane crashed nose first into the runway, breaking apart. The fuselage and ensuing fireball of jet fuel hurled itself toward the spectators area, wiping out a part of the crowd before finally coming rest.

Total casualties are: 67 spectators and 3 pilots died. 346 spectators sustained serious injuries in the resulting explosion and fire, and hundreds of others had minor injuries.

Did you know? The German band Rammstein name is a reference to this catastrophe. The doubled “m” is a mistake, but has been kept by the band.

Sknyliv Air show Disaster

On July 27, 2002, over 10,000 spectators gathered to watch an air show at the Sknyliv airfield (now Lviv International Airport) near Lviv, Ukraine. The event was staged to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Ukrainian Air Force’s 14th Air Corps. Around 1252 hours, a Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 jet fighter, that was being flown by two experienced pilots, lost control while entering a rolling maneuver and crashed into a crowd of people. The aircraft flattened out upon impact, skidding across the ground and striking a glancing blow to the nose of an Il-76 transport aircraft. It then began to break apart and made a cartwheel into the crowd of spectators.

What ensued was the worst air show accident in history. In total 77 people were killed including 19 children. Over 543 other spectators were injured, 100 of them needing medical treatment for serious head injuries, burns and bone fractures. Both pilots were able to eject and survive.

Drowning of Commander John Desmond Russell

On September 25, 1958, Commander J D Russell comes in to land his LV Scimitar fighter bomber on HMS Victorious. It touches down, hooks onto the arrester wires but his arresting gear failed (wire snaps) and the plane continues past the camera, along the deck and rolls in to the sea. Russell struggled to open the cockpit whilst waves lapping over it and the helicopter winch man – lowered on line to try and rescue Commander Russell –  also is unable to help. Within two minutes the aircraft sinks to the bottom of the sea taking the pilot with it.

Parachute Fail of Pvt. Donald Mason

On a fateful in 1955, Paratroopers of the Canadian Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry get into a plane for a routine training jump. Sadly, both the primary and secondary chutes ofPrivate Donald Mason failed to open. He fell 800 feet to his death.

Thomas L. McGraw

This is the last view that Photographer Airman Thomas L McGraw saw before he was killed by the bomb in this image on Aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CV-34). Although the bomb had in fact been released in the air, it had failed to detach from the plane. The impact of the landing dislodged the armed bomb, setting it free to bounce down the runway towards McGraw who was filming the plane land. The bomb detonates right in front of the camera, killing McGraw and two sailors and injuring 14 others.

Explosion of HMS Barham

Dramatic Newsreel footage captured the sinking and explosion of the Queen Elizabeth Battleship HMS Barham. A salvo of torpedoes from German submarine U-331 struck from close range on HMS Barham on November 25, 1941 in the Mediterranean. Within four minutes, the battleship had listed over to Port and the ships magazines had exploded, sinking the battleship and killing 863 men. The terrifying explosion was caught on film by cameraman John Turner who was on an adjacent ship.

USS Iowa Turret Explosion

On April 19, 1989, an explosion of undetermined cause ripped through her USS Iowa Number Two sixteen-inch gun turret killing 47 crewmen. The USS Iowa was still able to deploy to Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in mid-year. Turret Two remained unrepaired when she decommissioned in Norfolk, Va., for the last time 26 October 1990.