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Murphy’s Laws of Combat

Soldiers and Armies

  1. You are not Superman.
  2. Professionals' are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs.
  3. No combat ready unit has passed inspection.
  4. No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.
  5. The side with the fanciest uniforms loses.
  6. Murphy was a grunt.


  1. If you are short everything except enemy, you're in combat.
  2. When both sides are convinced they are about to lose, they're both right.


  1. The important things are simple.
  2. The simple things are very hard.
  3. No plan survives the first contact intact.
  4. Prefect plans aren't.


  1. Don't look conspicuous, it draws fire.
  2. Never draw fire, it makes everyone around you nervous.
  3. Try to look unimportant, they may be low on ammo.
  4. If the enemy is within range, so are you.
  5. Anything you can do can get you shot, including doing nothing.
  6. If the enemy is in range, "SO ARE YOU!!!"
  7. If you can't see the enemy, he still may be able to see you.


  1. If it's stupid but works, it's not stupid.
  2. When in doubt, empty the magazine.
  3. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you.
  4. If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush.
  5. The enemy diversion you are ignoring is the main attack.
  6. The easy way is always mined.
  7. When you have secured an area, don't forget to tell the enemy.
  8. Teamwork is essential. It gives the enemy other' to shoot at.
  9. Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you can't get out.
  10. The only terrain that is truly controlled is the terrain upon which you're standing.
  11. The easy way generally gets you killed.
  12. If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will have more than your fair share objectives to take.
  13. You can win without fighting, but it's a lot tougher to do. And the enemy may not cooperate.


  1. Ammo is cheap; your life isn't.
  2. It's easier to expend material in combat than to fill out the forms for Graves Registration.


  1. Always keep in mind that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
  2. The law of the bayonet says the man with the bullet wins.
  3. Tracers work both ways.
  4. The best tank killer is another tank. Therefore tanks are always fighting each other... and have no time to help the infantry.
  5. Armored vehicles are bullet magnets, a moving foxhole that attracts attention.
  6. All five second grenades are three seconds.
  7. The bursting radius of a grenade is always one foot greater than your jumping range.
  8. If you can't remember, the claymore is pointed towards YOU.
  9. Recoilless rifles, aren't.

Artillery and Bombing

  1. Suppressive fire, won't.
  2. Final protective fire doesn't.
  3. Friendly fire, isn't.
  4. Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support desperately.
  5. Incoming fire has the right-of-way.
  6. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
  7. If you are forward of your position, artillery will fall short.
  8. All-weather close support doesn't work in bad weather.
  9. Precision bombing is normally accurate within plus/minus one mile.
  10. Cluster bombing from B-52s and C-130s is very, very accurate. The bombs always hit the ground.


  1. Murphy was a logistician.
  2. Things that must be together to work, usually can't be shipped together.
  3. Radios will fail as soon as you need something desperately.
  4. Beer math is "2 beers x 37 men = 49 cases."


  1. Body count math is: two guerrillas plus one portable plus two pigs=37 enemy in action.
  2. The enemy side always looks stronger, especially when they are firing at you, to both sides.
  3. The othersides weapons always seem to look better than you own.
  4. The noisiest weapons always appear to the most powerful.

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