The Weekend Funny: Rules for Combat

I troll the ends of the internet for your gun-related amusement. Today’s contribution is courtesy of

Murphy’s Rules of Combat

  • Friendly fire – isn’t.
  • Recoilless rifles – aren’t.
  • Suppressive fires – won’t.
  • You are not Superman; Marines and fighter pilots take note. (I disagree, OORah!)
  • A sucking chest wound is Nature’s way of telling you to slow down.
  • 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 air strike.
  • The enemy attacks on two occasions: when he’s ready and when you’re not
  • If you are forward of your position, your artillery will fall short
  • All 5 second grenade fuses burn down in 3 seconds
  • Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.
  • When your attack is going really well, its an ambush
  • 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.
  • No plan ever survives initial contact.
  • There is no such thing as a perfect plan.
  • A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.
  • The important things are always simple; the simple are always hard.
  • 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 it too.
  • 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 during both.
  • 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 both right.
  • 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 you.
  • Air defense motto: shoot’em down; sort’em out on the ground.
  • ‘Flies high, it’ll die; 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Well .. It could be worse: It could be raining .. and we could be out in it. So he said, “Cheer up: it could be worse!” So we cheered up. And it got worse.
  • The spare batteries for 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 flex mount, 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 on another?
  • 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 pant’s in the Latrine!!
  • The ammo you need NOW is on the NEXT airdrop!!
  • Field experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  • If your ambush is properly set the enemy won’t walk into it.

Murphy’s Law – The Army Weather Corollaries

  • Inclement weather always begins AFTER you’ve already done PT.
  • 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 home.
  • Motor pools are always 20 degrees warmer than the rest of the post during the summer and 50 degrees colder in the winter.
  • 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 port-a-johns 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 Gortex.
  • If you whine about the weather, someone else will always whine louder.

Rules of the Rucksack

  • No matter how carefully you pack, a rucksack is always too small.
  • No matter how small, a rucksack is always too heavy.
  • No matter how heavy, a rucksack will never contain what you want.
  • No matter what you need, it’s always at the bottom.

Any additional contributions?

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Pete Sheppard

    Good stuff! One more combat rule: “Only fools fight fair”

    • Boogur T. Wang

      “Only fools fight fair”
      mod 1.0 – Only losers fight fair.

      • Pete Sheppard

        How fools become losers! 😉

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    I like it. Just a note, the “if your attack is going well, it’s an ambush” is in there twice.

  • DV

    This took me back. Profound and funny.

  • jimmarch

    There is a much funnier and psychotic variant written by Howard Taylor for the webcoming “Schlock Mercenary”, which is basically “Comedy Military Science Fiction”:

    He’s also infamous for his ship names. A mercenary privateer named “The Serial Peacemaker” is typical. John Ringo has now written three novels set in Howard’s universe.

    • That list may just be next weeks installment.

      • jimmarch

        Well here’s your illustration then:

        I’ve been trying to find a small programmable sound chip with a watch battery that I can fit into a handgun’s grips so I can make it do an “ominous humm” on draw. The tech exists in things like:

        …but not user-programmable unless you’re buying large batches.

        A rising capacitor whine sound would work too, in a kind of “I’m chargin’ ma lasers!” fashion…

        • Fruitbat44

          Fun listing of Murphy’s Laws. And thank you jimmarch for the Schlock Mercenary link.
          Hmmm . . .
          When setting up the barbed wire entanglements around your position, always remember that you may want to leave in a hurry.

  • allannon

    Once the pin is pulled, Mr. Handgrenade is not your friend.

  • 101nomad

    “If they have you surrounded, none of them can get away”. 1st rule of engagement, ignore the rules of engagement.

  • Un4seen4

    There is Murphy’s law and then there is Arnold’s law: “What goes, goes wrong.”

  • The Hun

    That is a photo taken at Koresh’s Waco compound in April ’93.

    • Guardsman80

      Incorrect. This is a widely-distributed photo of British Coldstream Guards during a desert marksmanship exercise in 2004. Cursory examination of weapons (L85), uniforms (British Army), and vehicles (Land Rovers) would clearly indicate that this is not an American unit, much less the FBI, BATF, or National Guard.

  • gunslinger

    incoming fire has the right of way. love it.

  • TheNetworkGeek

    I’m sure you all have seen it, but this very much reminded me of 213 Things Skippy Isn’t Allowed To Do:

    These are all things he either tried to do, did and got written up for doing, or was specifically warned not to do based on past behavior.
    One of my favorites is “Camouflage body paint is not a uniform”