The Relationship of Battle Damage to Unit Combat Performance
INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA
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The purpose of this study is to investigate the historical basis for the assumption that a military formation will cease to be effective after having lost a pre-ordained percentage of its strength. Battles from the First World War to the 1982 Falklands campaign are reviewed for insight into the validity of this assumption. The effect of heavy battle damage on units has been both variable and unpredictable. There is a relationship between losses and the continued willingness to fight, but it defies precise definition. So long as some men in the formation continue to fight as an organized entity, either in attack or defense, for whatever reason, the formation they represent cannot be termed ineffective .
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics