Murphy’s Laws of Combat – Part Two

As I noted in Part One of this series, my hat’s off to Archon for stimulating the neuron (one of about five that still reliably function) in my head for this bout of creativity.

Murphy has his Laws, and he did some especially for combat.  I found some old documents and bounced them off the interwebz offerings.  Not all of them are funny, and some are obscure.  I’ve listed the better ones with commentary:

If the enemy is within range, so are you.  This is important to keep in mind when you find the enemy and have that ‘yay!’ moment.

Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing.  Again, the enemy gets a vote, hence the ‘doing nothing’ aspect of this law.

Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you won’t be able to get out.  The most awesome defensive position can wind up being your gravesite.  Always plan a way out.

Tracers work both ways.  Very important to remember once you’ve found Mr. Enemy.  You might see where your bullets are going, but he can tell where they’re coming from.

If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will get more than your fair share of objectives to take.  This is kind of an adjunct to the ‘never volunteer for anything’ law.  Never be so good at something that you are then consistently picked to do nothing but that.  In other words, train people to do your shit and work your way out of a job.

Military Intelligence is a contradiction.  I could rant for days about MI… you put a lot of reports and data into the system, and all you get back is, “The enemy’s out there, but we can’t tell you because that’s classified.”

The one item you need is always in short supply.  Usually, this means ammo, soap, food, or water.  Sometimes common sense, too.

Interchangeable parts aren’t.  Fact: of the millions of M16’s and M4’s owned by the Army, we’re not allowed to switch out identical parts without getting permission and doing stacks of forms for that.

When in doubt, empty your magazine.  Always makes someone think twice about messing with you.  Unless you have a magazine full of tracers, which makes you the guy in charge, which makes you odd.

Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.  Soldiers are great at taking the smallets opportunity to rest, and in combat that’s essential.  This one is a survival trick.

The most dangerous thing in the world is a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass.  Very true.  I was once a Second Lieutenant, with that map and compass, but I got better.

The enemy never watches until you make a mistake.  Neither does your boss, or the General.

I’ll wrap up this series in the next few days.  Don’t miss it!

26 Responses to “Murphy’s Laws of Combat – Part Two”

  1. One of my worst experiences was an all-night convoy led by a lieutenant. When I noticed that both sides of the road were lined with signs that said “Warning: Impact Area” I got out at the next intersection to learn that not only did the LT have a poor map, but his “compass” was the cheap $2 Cracker Jack variety that attached to his watchband. This was the days before every jackass in the army got a PLGR. The absolute worst part was that I was drving a survey vehicle with a PADS system running that would give him coordinates (and an azimuth) to the nearest millimeter (or hundredth of a mil).

  2. I fully agree…whenever you can sleep- DO IT!!! I slept three times yesterday alone! (rare)

  3. This stuff is gold! So many of these apply to more than military life and it makes me wish more people would take a look-see and learn something.

  4. Anything corporations can f**k up, the Army can f**k up better. And you get a golden halo, instead of a golden handshake. PowerPoint is safer than tracers. Keep your head down.

  5. Help! Help! WordPress ate my comment. It was inspired. It was glowing. It….is gone. It was about a great post! Glad to have stimulated your neuron.

  6. My favorite saying is “Don’t be irreplaceable because then you can’t be promoted.” This would fit right in with all of these laws. Great advice! I take to heart the one about sitting, laying down & sleeping.

  7. WordPress ate my comment too!

  8. I don’t remember if you mentioned this first time around or not, but “A man with empty hands and a pistol on his hip is a bullet magnet”. Also, “When the weather’s too crappy to fight, you’re gonna get stonked”. Although my favourite, also coined by myself, is “If you count the enemy’s shots to surprise him while his mag’s empty, he already reloaded.” Came from going against smart-ass Yanks and their precious Garands. They’d count to 5, a Mauser’s mag capacity, then charge like Civil War goofs. Problem? I’d slid a couple rounds into the mag from the loose pile I kept in a pocket. BANG! Almost got into a fistfight one time, the guy swore I cheated. (My gun went bang. How the heck can I “cheat” that into happening?!?) The ref backed me! 😀

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