Murphy's Laws for Combat

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Tue Aug 3 19:19:52 UTC 2004

On Aug 3, 2004, at 10:23 AM, James A. Landau wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "James A. Landau" <JJJRLandau at AOL.COM>
> Subject:      Murphy's Laws for Combat
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
>     Murphy's Laws of Combat
> 1.  You are not a superman.
> 2.  If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid.
> 3.  Don't look conspicuous—it draws fire.
> 4.  When in doubt, empty your magazine.
> 5.  Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you are.
> 6.  Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
> 7.  If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush.
> 8.  No plans survives the first contact intact.
> 9.  All five-second grenade fuses will burn down in three seconds.
> 10. Try to look unimportant becasue the bad guys may be low on ammo.
> 11. If you are forward of your position, the artillery will fall short.
> 12. The enemy diversion you are ignoring is the main attack.
> 13. The important things are always simple.
> 14. The simple things are always hard.
> 15. The easy way is always mined.
> 16. If you are short of everything except enemy, you are in combat.
> 17. When you have secured an area, don't forget to tell the enemy.
> 18. Incoming fire has the right of way.
> 19. Friendly fire—isn't.
> 20. If the enemy is in range, "SO ARE YOU!!!"
> 21. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
> 22. Beer math is: two beers times 37 men = 49 cases.
> 23. Body count math is: two guerillas plus one portable plus two pigs
> = 37
> enemy killed in action.
> 24. Things that must be together to work, usually can't be shipped
> together.
> 25. Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support desperately.
> 26. Anything you do can get you shot—including doing nothing.
> 27. Tracers work both ways.
> 28. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming
> friendly fire.
> 29. Make it tough for the enemy to get in and you can't get out.
> 30. If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will have
> more
> than your fair share of objectives to take.
> 31. When both sides are convinced that they are about to lose, they
> are both
> right.
> 32. Professional soldiers are predictable, but the world is full of
> amateurs.
> 33. Murphy was a grunt.

These are basically new to me...

>       Source unknown.  Found posted in the Ventnor, New Jersey
> Veteran's
> Center.
> Numbers 13 and 14 are from Clausewitz.  Fencers have a variation of
> numer 32:
> "The best swordsman in the world has nothing to fear from the
> second-best
> swordsman, but everything to fear from the world's worst swordsman
> [becuase he
> makes unpredictable dumb moves]"
> One very useful military cliche not on the above list: "There's always
> five
> percent who don't get the word."

But this an old favorite!

I've never seen combat, myself, but I've seen a whole lot of old
soldiers who have: "If you men ever see combat - and, by GOD, I hope
you never do!" was, in my day, the combat veteran's mantra. Seeing some
old soldier, in the middle of  giving a lecture entitled, innocuously
enough, "Small-Unit Tactics," suddenly break down, overcome by his
memories,  and start weeping and *literally* foaming at the mouth was
also a not-uncommon sight. This as as much of combat as I *ever* want
to see. "War is hell" is a true, true statement. It's no wonder that a
life of "self-medication" is the future of so many combat vets. And I'd
vote for the return of the draft - with no deferments - in a heartbeat.
If you haven't been there and done that yourself, even second-hand war
is better than no experience of it at all.

-Wilson Gray


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