Murphy's Laws of Combat

  1. Murphy was a gDensity of fire increases proportionally to the curiousness of thetarget.runt.
  2. You are not supermen. (Freshly graduated recruits from Marine boot camp and all fighter pilots, especially, take note)
  3. A sucking chest wound is nature's way of telling you to slow down.
  4. Recoilless rifles - aren't.
  5. Neutral countries - aren't.
  6. Suppressive fires - won't.
  7. Friendly fire - isn't.
  8. Automatic weapons - aren't.
  9. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
  10. Incoming fire has the right-of-way.

  11. If you are forward of your position, the artillery will fall short.
  12. When the enemy is closing, the artillery will always be long.
  13. If the enemy is in range, SO ARE YOU.
  14. Tracers work BOTH ways.
  15. Anything you can do can get you killed -- including doing nothing.
  16. If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid.
  17. If only one solution can be found for a field problem, then it isusually a stupid solution.
  18. When in doubt, empty the magazine.
  19. If you can't remember, the Claymore is pointed towards you.
  20. Any ship can be a minesweeper... once.

  21. Odd objects attract fire - never lurk behind one.
  22. Don't look conspicuous -- In the combat zone, it draws fire. Out of the combat zone, it draws sergeants. (For this reason aircraft carriers have been called "bomb magnets")
  23. Try to look unimportant, because the bad guys may be low on ammo and not want to waste a bullet on you.. (Trivia devotees will recall the sudden disappearance of rank and distinctive caps on the uniforms worn by Soviet officers in Afghanistan)
  24. Don't draw fire, it irritates the people around you.
  25. Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy someone else to shoot at.
  26. Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last and don't ever volunteer to do anything.
  27. Never share a fox hole with anyone braver than you.
  28. If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will have more than your fair share to take.
  29. Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.
  30. It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.

  31. The simple things are always hard.
  32. There is always a way, and it usually doesn't work.
  33. The easy way is always mined.
  34. The important things are always simple.
  35. If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush.
  36. The enemy diversion you are ignoring is the main attack.
  37. The enemy invariably attacks on one of two occasions: 1. When you're ready for them. 2. When you're not ready for them.
  38. No plan survives first contact intact.
  39. If you are short of everything except enemy, you are in combat.
  40. When you have secured an area, don't forget to tell the enemy.

  41. When both sides are convinced they are about to lose, they're both right.
  42. Things that must be together to work usually can't be shipped together.
  43. Things which must be shipped together as a set, aren't.
  44. Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support desperately. (Corollary: Radar tends to fail at night and in bad weather, and especially during both)
  45. Make it too tough for the enemy to get in and you can't get out. (This seems to be the guiding design principle behind the Soviets' BMP and our own Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, both of which nicely package the troops in armored boxes for group destruction.)
  46. Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate -- the bombs always hit the ground.
  47. No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection.
  48. No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.
  49. The combat worth of a unit is inversely proportional to the smartness of its outfit and appearance.
  50. The Cavalry doesn't always come to the rescue.

  51. Beer math is 2 beers times 37 men equals 49 cases.
  52. Body-count math is 3 guerillas plus 1 probable plus 2 pigs equals 37 enemy killed in action.
  53. Professional soldiers are predictable, but the world is full of amateurs.
  54. Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder. (on an assembly line by the same type ofpeople who made your car)
  55. All five-second grenade fuses will burn down in three seconds.
  56. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
  57. If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, pick it up; if you can't pick it up, paint it.
  58. If you really need an officer in a hurry, take a nap.
  59. If your sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
  60. The Army Axiom: Any order that can be misunderstood has been misunderstood. (and will be misunderstood again)

  61. The buddy system is essential to your survival; it gives the enemy somebody else to shoot at.
  62. The only time suppressive fire works is when it is used on abandoned positions.
  63. The problem with taking the easy way out is that the enemy has already mined it.
  64. The quartermaster has only two sizes, too large and too small.
  65. A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.
  66. All-weather close air support doesn't work in bad weather.
  67. As soon as you are served hot chow in the field, it rains.
  68. Density of fire increases proportionally to the curiousness of the target.
  69. Exceptions prove the rule, and destroy the battle plan.
  70. Field experience is something you never get until just after you need it.

  71. Fortify your front; you'll get your rear shot up.
  72. If enough data is collected, a board of inquiry can prove anything.
  73. It isn't necessary to be an idiot to be a senior officer, but it sure helps.
  74. It's not the bullet with your name on it; it's the shrapnel addressed to occupant or "to whom it may concern" you've got to worry about.
  75. Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.
  76. Never tell the Captain or Deputy Captain or Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.
  77. No matter which way you have to march, its always uphill.
  78. Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when the General is watching.
  79. The bursting radius of a hand grenade is always one foot greater than your jumping range.
  80. The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon's operator.

  81. The enemy never monitors your radio frequency until you broadcast on an unsecured channel.
  82. The enemy never watches until you make a mistake.
  83. The one item you need is always in short supply.
  84. The seriousness of a wound (in a firefight) is inversely proportional to the distance to any form of cover.
  85. There is no such place as a convenient foxhole.
  86. 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.
  87. There is nothing more satisfying that having someone take a shot at you, and miss.
  88. A Purple Heart just proves that were you smart enough to think of a plan, stupid enough to try it, and lucky enough to survive.
  89. Weather ain't neutral.
  90. Whenever you have plenty of ammo, you never miss. Whenever you are low on ammo, you can't hit the broad side of a barn.

  91. If at first you don't succeed, call in an airstrike.
  92. No one ever carries too much ammo.
  93. There's no such thing as a "sucking chest wound," all chest wounds suck.
  94. The weight of all of your equipment is proportional to the cube of the time you have been carrying it.
  95. Surprise is an event that takes place only in the mind of a commander.
  96. If you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs, you may have misjudged the situation.
  97. Whenever you lose contact with the enemy, look behind you.
  98. If you find yourself in front of your platoon they know something you don't.
  99. All battles are fought at the junction of two or more map sheets... printed at different scales.
  100. Never trust a private with a loaded weapon, or an officer with a map and compass.

  101. Smart bombs have bad days too.
  102. Remember that napalm is an area weapon.
  103. Push to test... Release to detonate.
  104. Once the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.

... and a few more observations...

  1. A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your unit. - the Army's magazine of preventive maintenance.
  2. Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid.
  3. If God had meant for us to be in the Army, we would have been born with green, baggy skin.
  4. Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography.
  5. The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little while longer. - U.S. Navy Seabees
  6. The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.
  7. All other things being equal, the side with the simplest uniforms wins.
  8. Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don't.
  9. We are not retreating, we are advancing in another direction.
  10. Who cares if a laser-guided 500 lb bomb is accurate to within 9 feet?
  11. Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons!
  12. Sniper's motto: "Reach out and touch someone."
  13. You don't win a war by dying for your country. You win a war by making the other son-of-a-bitch die for his. - General Patton

For a huge list of similar laws, axioms, admonitions, corollaries, rules, etc see The House of Murphy.