Laws Of Combat Operations
Friendly fire - isn't.
Recoilless rifles - aren't.
Suppressive fires - won't.
You are not Superman; Marines and fighter pilots take note.
A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to
If it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid.
Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo and
not want to waste a bullet on you.
If at first you don't succeed, call in an airstrike.
If you are forward of your position, your artillery will
Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.
Never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself.
Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush.
The enemy diversion you're ignoring is their main attack.
The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions: when they're
ready. & when you're not.
No OPLAN ever survives initial contact.
There is no such thing as a perfect plan.
Five second fuses always burn three seconds.
There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.
A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.
The important things are always simple; the simple are
The easy way is always mined.
Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people
to shoot at.
Don't look conspicuous; it draws fire. For this reason,
it is not at all uncommon for aircraft carriers to be known
as bomb magnets.
Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.
If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in
the combat zone.
When you have secured the area, make sure the enemy knows
Incoming fire has the right of way.
No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.
If the enemy is within range, so are you.
The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is
incoming friendly fire.
Things which must be shipped together as a set, aren't.
Things that must work together, can't be carried to the
field that way.
Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support.
Radar tends to fail at night and in bad weather, and especially
Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing.
Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you won't
be able to get out.
Tracers work both ways.
If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you
will get more than your fair share of objectives to take.
When both sides are convinced they're about to lose, they're
Professional soldiers are predictable; the world is full
of dangerous amateurs.
Military Intelligence is a contradiction.
Fortify your front; you'll get your rear shot up.
Weather ain't neutral.
If you can't remember, the Claymore is pointed towards
Air defense motto: shoot 'em down; sort 'em out on the
'Flies high, it dies; low and slow, it'll go.
The Cavalry doesn't always come to the rescue.
Napalm is an area support weapon.
Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
B-52s are the ultimate close support weapon.
Sniper's motto: reach out and touch someone.
The one item you need is always in short supply.
Interchangeable parts aren't.
It's not the one with your name on it; it's the one addressed
"to whom it may concern" you've got to think about.
When in doubt, empty your magazine.
The side with the simplest uniforms wins.
Combat will occur on the ground between two adjoining maps.
If you can keep your head while those around you are losing
theirs, you may have misjudged the situation.
If two things are required to make something work, they
will never be shipped together.
Anything you do can get you shot, including nothing.
Whenever you lose contact with the enemy, look behind you.
The most dangerous thing in the combat zone is an officer
with a map.
The quartermaster has only two sizes, too large and too
If you really need an officer in a hurry, take a nap.
There is nothing more satisfying than having someone take
a shot at you, and miss.
If your sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
You'll only remember your hand grenades when the sound
is too close to use them.
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
It could be worse: It could be raining
we could be out in it.
So he said, "Cheer up: it could be worse!" So
we cheered up. And it got worse.
The side with the simplest uniform wins...
The spare batteries for the PRC-whatever your troops have
been carrying are either nearly dead or for the wrong radio.
The ping you heard was the antenna snapping off at 6 inches
above the flexmount, while a fire mission was being called
in on a battalion of hostiles who know your position.
Why is it the CO sticks his head in your radio hooch to
see if anything has come down from DIV when you are listening
to the VOA broadcasting the baseball games?
How come you are on one frequency when everyone else is
Why does your 500-watt VRC-26 (real old) not make it across
200 miles while a ham with 50 watts on the same MARS frequency
can be heard from Stateside?
Know why short RTOs have long whips on their radios? So
someone can find them when they step in deep water.
The enemy "always" times his attack, to the second
you drop your pants in the Latrine!!
The ammo you need "NOW"!! is on the "next"
The Army Weather Corollaries
Inclement weather always begins AFTER you've already done
A sudden downpour always occurs at the end of a summer
field exercise--just in time coat all your equipment and
camouflage with mud.
The best beach weather always occurs when you are in the
field wearing MOPP 4.
There is no such thing as a blue sky during a company picnic.
There is no such thing as a cloudy sky when your unit needs
to infiltrate enemy territory.
Road conditions are always red when it's time to convoy
Motor pools are always 20 degrees warmer than the rest
of the post during the summer and 50 degrees colder in the
Army training areas exist in a constant state of weather
flux controlled by a deity with a truly cruel sense of humor--How
do you think we got them so cheap?
The peak of Mt. Everest would flood if an Army unit was
told to set up on it.
Hell really would freeze over if someone decided to conduct
an exercise there.
The Port-a-Potty Postulate states that the likelihood of
a hurricane, sandstorm, tsunami, or blizzard occurring immediately
over your location is directly related to how bad you need
to get to the portajohns at the other side of the campsite
in the middle of the night.
The temperature always rises to 70 degrees AFTER you put
on two layers of polypros, your bear suit, and all of your
If you whine about the weather, someone else will always
Rules of the Rucksack
1. No matter how carefully you pack, a rucksack is always
2. No matter how small, a rucksack is always too heavy.
3. No matter how heavy, a rucksack will never contain what
4. No matter what you need, it's always at the bottom.
Four-wheel-drive just means getting stuck in more inaccessible
The degree to which you overreact to information will be
in inverse proportion to its accuracy.
Least Credible Sentences:
1. The check is in the mail.
2. The trucks will be on the drop zone.
3. Of course I'll respect you in the morning.
4. I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.
Brintnall's Second Law:
If you receive two contradictory orders, obey them both.
Pavlu's Rules for Economy in Decision Papers:
1. Refute the last established recommendation.
2. Add yours.
3. Pass the paper on.
Experience is something you don't get until after you need
1. Never be first.
2. Never be last.
3. Never volunteer for anything.
If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost.
Law of Supply (also known as the Law of Gifts):
You get the most of what you need the least.
There is no limit to how bad things can get.