Murphy's laws of combat



  1. A clean (and dry) set of BDUís is a magnet for mud and rain.
  2. A little caution outflanks a large cavalry.
  3. A Purple Heart just proves that you were smart enough to come up with a plan, stupid enough to try it, and lucky enough to survive.
  4. A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.
  5. A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to slow down.
  6. Air defense motto: shoot 'em down; sort 'em out on the ground.
  7. All battles are fought at the junction of two or more map sheets --- printed at different scales.
  8. All battles are fought in the rain.
  9. All battles are fought uphill.
  10. All warfare is based on deception.
  11. Always honour a threat.
  12. Always know how to get out of Dodge.
  13. Always know when it's time to get out of Dodge.
  14. Anything you do can get you shot, including nothing.
  15. Army Dictum: If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, pick it up; if you can't pick it up, paint it.
  16. Navy Dictum: Work she may, shine she must.
  17. Pilot Dictum: Forgiveness is easier to obtain than permission.
  18. Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl.
  19. Avoid classified documents and briefings. "Good" news is never classified.
  20. B-52s are the ultimate close support weapon.
  21. Boldness becomes rarer, the higher the rank.
  22. Close only counts in horse shoes, hand grenades, and nukes.
  23. Cluster bombing from B-52s and C-130s is very, very accurate. They always hit the ground.
  24. Confucius says: Early worm has a death wish.
  25. Combat will occur on the ground between two adjoining maps.
  26. Diplomacy has rarely been able to gain at the conference table what cannot be gained and held on a battlefield.
  27. Donít ever be first, donít ever be last, and never volunteer for anything.
  28. Don't be conspicuous; in the combat zone, it draws fire.
  29. Out of the combat zone, it draws sergeants.
  30. For this reason, it is not at all uncommon for aircraft carriers to be referred to as bomb magnets.
  31. Every command that CAN be misunderstood, WILL be misunderstood.
  32. Exceptions prove the rule, and destroy the battle plan.
  33. Fighter pilots make movies; Attack pilots make history.
  34. Five second fuzes always burn three seconds.
  35. For any order given, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
  36. Fortify your front; you'll get your rear shot up.
  37. Hell hath no fury like a liberal non-combatant.
  38. If at first you don't succeed, call for artillery.
  39. If it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid.
  40. If the enemy is within range, so are you.
  41. If they're shooting at you, it's a high intensity conflict.
  42. If you are forward of your position, your artillery will fall short.
  43. If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in combat.
  44. If you can't remember, the Claymore is pointed towards you.
  45. If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost.
  46. If you don't have a plan, at least have a will.
  47. If you really need an officer in a hurry, take a nap.
  48. If you receive two contradictory orders, obey them both.
  49. If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will get more than your fair share of objectives to take.
  50. If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush.
  51. If your opponents didn't have the courtesy to "Count Off!" before beginning, assume that there's one more somewhere.
  52. If your sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
  53. Incoming fire has the right of way.
  54. It is generally inadvisable to eject over the area you just bombed.
  55. It isn't necessary to be an idiot to be a senior officer, but it sure helps.
  56. It's not the one with your name on it; it's the round addressed "to whom it may concern" you've got to think about.
  57. Logistics is the ball and chain of armored warfare.
  58. Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you won't be able to get out.
  59. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
  60. More aircraft are incapacitated by a shortage of spare parts than by enemy action.
  61. Napalm is an area support weapon.
  62. Navy: The Book tells us what to do.
  63. Army: The Book tells us what we canít do.
  64. Air Force:Iíll set a new record, make book on it.
  65. Marines: What Book?
  66. Never assume your opponent is out of ammo.
  67. Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.
  68. Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
  69. Never go ashore with anyone crazier than yourself. This includes amphibious landings and liberty.
  70. Never reinforce failure. Failure reinforces itself.
  71. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.
  72. Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.
  73. Never tell the sergeant you have nothing to do.
  74. Never worry about the bullet with your name on it. Instead, worry about shrapnel addressed to 'occupant'.
  75. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
  76. No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.
  77. No matter which way you march, itís uphill.
  78. No OPLAN ever survives initial contact.
  79. No Plan should include the words "...and then we hope..."
  80. Odd objects attract fire - never lurk behind one.
  81. The density of fire increases in proportion to their curiosity about the target.
  82. Once the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is no longer our friend.
  83. One enemy soldier is never enough, but two are entirely too many.
  84. Only 5% of an intelligence report is accurate. The trick of a good commander is to isolate the 5%.
  85. Oxymorons (at least in military venues): Friendly fire.
  86. Recoilless rifles.
  87. Interchangeable parts.
  88. Priorities are made by officers, not God. There's a difference.
  89. Professionals are predictable; the world is full of dangerous amateurs.
  90. Radar tends to fail at night and in bad weather, and especially during both.
  91. Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support.
  92. Sniper's motto: reach out and touch someone.
  93. Surprise is an event that takes place in the mind of a commander.
  94. Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at.
  95. The best tank killer is another tank. Therefore tanks are always fighting each other . . . and have no time to help the infantry.
  96. The buddy system is essential to your survival, it gives the enemy somebody else to shoot at.
  97. The Cavalry doesn't always come to the rescue.
  98. The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the operator.
  99. The cost of weapon is proportional to the distance it must be shipped for repairs.
  100. The easy way is always mined.
  101. The effective radius of a hand grenade is always greater than the distance you can jump.
  102. The enemy diversion you're ignoring is their main attack.
  103. The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions: when they're ready & when you're not.
  104. The enemy never watches until you make a mistake.
  105. The higher the rank of the visitor, the more spectacular the failure will be.
  106. The important things are always simple; the simple are always hard.
  107. The law of the bayonet says the man with the bullet wins.
  108. The more stupid a leader is, the more important missions he is ordered to carry out.
  109. The most dangerous thing in the combat zone is an officer with a map.
  110. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
  111. The only time suppressive fire works is when it is used on abandoned positions.
  112. The perfect officer for the job will transfer in the day after that billet is filled by someone else.
  113. The quartermaster only has two sizes...too big and too small.
  114. The tank is a monument to the inaccuracy of indirect fire.
  115. The tough part about being an officer is that the troops don't know what they want, but they know for certain what they don't want.
  116. The weight of all of your equipment is proportional to the length of the time you have been carrying it.
  117. There are two types of ships: Submarines and Targets.
  118. There is always a way, and it usually doesnít work.
  119. There is always a way, thinking of it before you need to is the trick.
  120. There is no such thing as a complete briefing.
  121. There is no such thing as a perfect plan.
  122. There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.
  123. There is nothing more satisfying than having someone take a shot at you, and miss.
  124. There's no such thing as "unfair advantage."
  125. Things that must be shipped together as a set, arenít.
  126. Things that must work together canít be carried into the field that way.
  127. Those who hesitate under fire usually do not end up KIA or MIA.
  128. Tracers work both ways.
  129. Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo and not want to waste a bullet on you.
  130. War is like love. To triumph, you must make contact.
  131. Weather ainít neutral.
  132. ĒWalking Point," translated from an Old English phrase meaning "Sniper Bait."
  133. What gets you promoted for at one rank gets you killed in the next rank.
  134. When both sides are convinced they're about to lose, they're both right.
  135. When in doubt, empty the magazine.
  136. When you have plenty of ammo, you never miss. When youíre short, you canít hit the broad side of a barn.
  137. When you have secured the area, make sure the enemy knows it too.
  138. Whenever you lose contact with the enemy, look behind you.
  139. With sufficient data, a board of inquiry can conclude any accusation is fully supported.
  140. You are not Superman; Marines and fighter pilots take note.
  141. You'll only remember your hand grenades when the sound is too close to use them.
  142. Your mortar barrage will put exactly one round on the intended target. That round will be a dud.
  143. The mortar team will always have the correct number of safety pins to prove they armed all the rounds. To ensure this, the mortar team carries extra pins.


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