Laws of Combat

I’m going through my files – physical and computer – and deleting or archiving those that are likely beyond their useful life. This is one of the final steps in unwinding the website business.

In the process, I’ve run across a lot of things that I acquired and kept over the years for no apparent reason. Some of them are still interesting, if not relevant; many are simple puzzling in that I can’t remember why I thought they were important.

I do remember the following list, though. I had it affixed to my wall when I was a dealmaker at ARCO. I can’t remember the source, but there are dozens of similar lists all over the ‘net. I’ve never been in combat, but I can assure you that some of the oil and gas negotiations I participated in often seemed like military conflicts. It’s probably not surprising that many of the “Laws of Combat” apply to corporate battlefields.

Murphy’s Laws of Combat

I’ve bolded those that have particular relevance to the corporate world.

  • If it’s stupid but works, it isn’t stupid.
  • If the enemy is in range – so are you!
  • Incoming fire has the right of way.
  • Don’t look conspicuous – it draws fire.
  • The easy way is always mined.
  • Try to look unimportant – they might be low on ammo.
  • Professionals are predictable; it’s the amateurs that are dangerous.
  • The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions: 
    • When you’re ready for them. 
    • When you’re not ready for them.
  • Teamwork is essential, it gives them someone else to shoot at.
  • A “sucking chest wound” is natures way of telling you to slow down.
  • If your attack is going well; you have walked into an ambush.
  • Never draw fire, it irritates everyone around you.
  • Anything you do can get you shot, including nothing.
  • Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you won’t be able to get out.
  • Never share a fighting hole with anyone braver than yourself.
  • If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in a combat zone.
  • When you have secured an area, don’t forget to tell the enemy.
  • No combat ready unit ever passed an inspection.
  • No inspection ready unit ever passed combat.
  • Fortify your front and you’ll get your rear shot up.
  • If you can’t remember, the claymore is pointed towards you.
  • All five second grenade fuses are three seconds, or all five second fuses will burn out in three.
  • It’s not the one with your name on it – it’s the round addressed “to whom it may concern” you have to think about.
  • 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.
  • 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 small.
  • If you really need an officer in a hurry, take a nap.
  • If your sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
  • When in doubt, empty your magazine.
  • The important things are always simple.
  • The simple things are always hard.
  • If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will have more than your fair share of objectives to take.