Basements

Basements appear to be very important in the world of studies and analysis. That is where various obscure records and reports are stored. As the industry gets grayer and retires, significant pieces of work are becoming harder to find. Sometimes the easiest way to find these reports is to call someone you know and ask them where to find it.

Let me give a few examples. At one point, when we were doing an analysis of Lanchester equations in combat modeling. I was aware that Bob McQuie, formally of CAA, had done some work on it. So, I called him. Turns out he had a small file he kept of his own work, but he had loaned it to his neighbor as a result of a conversation he had. So…..he reclaimed the file, two of our researchers drove over to his house, he gave us the file, and we still have it today. Turns out that much of his material is also available through DTIC. A quick DTIC search shows the following: https://publicaccess.dtic.mil/psm/api/service/search/search?site=default_collection&q=mcquie

Of particular interest is his benchmarks studies. His work on “breakpoints” and comments on Lanchester equations is not included in the DTIC listing because it was published in Army, November 1987. I have a copy in my basement. Neither is his article on the 3:1 rule (published in Phalanx, December 1989). He also did some work on regression analysis of historical battles that I have yet to locate.

Battle Outcomes: Casualty Rates As a Measure of Defeat

So, some of his work had been preserved. But, on the other hand, during that same casualty estimation methodologies study we also sent two researchers over to another “gray beard’s” house and he let our researchers look through his basement. We found the very useful study called Report of the Model Input Data and Process Committee, reference in my book War by Numbers, page 295. It does not show up in DTIC. We could not of find this study without a visit to his basement. He now lives in Florida, where they don’t have basements. So I assume the remaining boxes of materials he had have disappeared.

I am currently trying to locate another major study right now that was done by SAIC. So far, I have found one former SAIC employee who has two volumes of the multi-volume study. It is not listed in DTIC. To obtain a complete copy of the study, I am afraid I will have to contract someone else and pay to have it copied. Again, I just happen to know who to talk to find out what basement it is stored away in.

It is hard to appreciate the unique efforts that go into researching some of these projects. But, there is a sense at this end that as the “gray beards” disappear; reports and research efforts are disappearing with them.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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