Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ratio of Fire

SLA Marshall estimated that during WWII:

In any given body of American infantry in combat, no more than one-fifth, and generally as few as 15 percent, had ever fired their weapons at an enemy, indeed ever fired their weapons at all.  Source

Marshall's findings have been criticized for its methods.  The military responded by desensitizing recruits to the idea of killing.  Rather than use euphemisms or candy-coat the proposition, trainers used the word "kill".

Ratios of Fire were estimated to be 55% in Korea and  and 90% in Vietnam.  Source

Absent a campaign of "desensitizing" estimates of 10%-to-20% "Ratios of fire" are logically defensible.


  1. Depends on the service, I believe. The Marines would be approaching 90+%, due to their training. USAF would probably be the lowest, then Navy, then Army.

  2. According to an ex-Ranger acquaintance who was involved in many firefights, including the Blackhawk down incident (he was on a SAW and came back with 15 rounds left - out of 700 or so, as well as a hole in his leg) shooters mostly just use their rifles to hold heads down till bigger stuff can be brought to bear - if available. Much like Vietnam - spray the foliage and hope for the best.


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