Category Doctrine

The 3:1 Ratio

Was searching around on YouTube yesterday on “Dupuy Institute” and ran across this video: People Always Get This Wrong – YouTube. This was posted three weeks ago. Preston Stewart is not known to me.

I am called out by name on 5:14 in the video. It is clear he pulled up one of our old reports, the charts at 6:00 and 6:14 are ours. The chart at 6:36 is ours and was later republished in War by Numbers. It appears to be abbreviated. The complete chart is on page 10 of War by Numbers. The chart at 6:44 has also been republished in War by Numbers. The chart at 7:30 is from our reports. The one high odds attack that failed on that chart was an Iraqi attack against the coalition. See: TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications.

Anyhow, would recommend that Mr. Stewart look at Trevor Dupuy’s Understanding War, Chapter 4: The Three-to-One Theory of Combat, and at my book War by Numbers, Chapter 2: Force Ratios.

Also, he might might the following blog posts are useful:

Summation of Human Factors and Force Ratio posts | Mystics & Statistics (

Force Ratios at Kharkov and Kursk, 1943 | Mystics & Statistics (

Force Ratios in the Arab-Israeli Wars (1956-1973) | Mystics & Statistics (

Summation of Human Factors and Force Ratio posts | Mystics & Statistics (

Force Ratios and CRTs | Mystics & Statistics (

Talking Force Ratios Once Again | Mystics & Statistics (


Anyhow, thank you Preston Stewart for the call out.


I will be doing a presentation on Force Ratios at the second HAAC on 17 October and will be doing a similar presentation in Norway in early November. See: Schedule for the Second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 17 – 19 October 2023 | Mystics & Statistics (

We do have a YouTube site: The Dupuy Institute – YouTube. So far the only video posted is a test video. The husky is named Max. We may be posting some more videos there in the next couple of months. There are three subscribers to our site. I gather we can get some funding if we get a 100,000 or more subscribers. So only 99,997 to go. Please subscribe.

The U.S. Army’s revised Field Manual FM 3-0: Operations

The new revision of the U.S. Army’s Field Manual FM 3-0: Operations is out. It is dated October 2022 and is here: FM 3-0_WEB_Working.pdf (

I have not read it yet and certainly will not do so this year. I did take a moment to word search its 280 pages. Found one reference to Trevor Dupuy’s work. It is a footnote for page 6-26 (page 154) discussing the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. They reference on page 242 and in the bibliography on page 264: Historical Evaluation and Research Organization, Analysis of Factors that have Influenced Outcomes of Battles and Wars: A Data Base of Battles and Engagements, Vol. VI (report prepared for the U.S. Army Concepts and Analysis Agency, June 1983), 203–221. Available at

The Historical Evaluation and Research Organization (HERO) was one of Trevor Dupuy’s companies and a division is his later companies. Their reports are listed here: TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications and here TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications and here: TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications (report no. 95 is the one listed above). 

Anyhow, not sure why they did not reference his book Elusive Victory, which was built from those reports. See: TDI Books For Sale (

Some initial observations on the Russian Army Battalion Tactical Group (BTG) concept

One of the associates of TDI posted the following 13 posts on our twitter account that are getting attention. Decided to repeat the 13 posts here. It can be seen on twitter at:

Some initial observations on the Russian Army Battalion Tactical Group (BTG) concept as implemented in Ukraine:

(1) BTGs are simply battalion-sized, task organized combined arms teams. All major armies have done this since WWII.

(2) The Russian Army’s current emphasis on BTGs (vice regiments/brigades) is due to a lack of available manpower – they were used an as expedient during the Chechen war that the Ministry of Defense adopted wholesale in 2013 as a manpower hedge.

(3) Russian Army BTGs and doctrine are built around firepower and mobility, at the expense of manpower.

(4) Western analysts believed that Russian BTGs were capable of networking long-range fires in real time (or near real time) i.e. the 2014 Zelenopillya strike.
The Russian Artillery Strike That Spooked The U.S. Army
In the second week of July 2014, elements of four brigades of the Ukrainian Army Ground Forces were assembling near the village of Zelenopillya, along a…
(5) It turns out the BTGs can’t actually do this. They cannot even communicate via secure means, much less target and strike quickly and effectively at long range. This negates much of their supposed combat power advantage.
(6) The Russian BTGs appear unable to execute competent combined arms tactics. This is a fundamental failure as combined arms have been the sine qua non of modern fire and movement tactics since WWI.
(7) This shows up big in the lack of effective infantry support. BTG infantry cannot prevent Ukrainian mechanized and light infantry anti-tank hunter/killer teams from attriting their AFV, IFV, and SP artillery. This is the primary job of infantry in tank units.
(8) It is not clear if this is due to ineffective infantry forces or insufficient numbers of them in the BTGs; probably both are true.
(9) The net result is that the BTGs lack the mass (i.e. infantry) necessary to take defended urban terrain by assault. At least, not at a reasonable cost in combat losses.
(10) The leanness of the BTG manning (~ 1,000 troops) means that they cannot sustain much attrition without suffering a marked decline in combat power and effectiveness.
(11) It will take a thorough analysis to determine if the performance of the BTGs is due to inherent flaws in Russian Army personnel and training or flaws in their doctrinal approach. Again, both are probably culpable.
(12) In any case, these problems are not likely to be remedied in the short term. Fixing them will take a major reform effort.

Active Defense, Forward Defense, and A2/AD in Eastern Europe

The current military and anti-access/area denial situation in Eastern Europe. [Map and overlay derived from situation map by Thomas C. Thielen (@noclador); and Ian Williams, “The Russia – NATO A2AD Environment,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, published January 3, 2017, last modified November 29, 2018,]

In an article published by West Point’s Modern War Institute last month, The US Army is Wrong on Future War,” Nathan Jennings, Amos Fox and Adam Taliaferro laid out a detailed argument that current and near-future political, strategic, and operational realities augur against the Army’s current doctrinal conceptualization for Multi-Domain Operations (MDO).

[T]he US Army is mistakenly structuring for offensive clashes of mass and scale reminiscent of 1944 while competitors like Russia and China have adapted to twenty-first-century reality. This new paradigm—which favors fait accompli acquisitions, projection from sovereign sanctuary, and indirect proxy wars—combines incremental military actions with weaponized political, informational, and economic agendas under the protection of nuclear-fires complexes to advance territorial influence…

These factors suggest, cumulatively, that the advantage in military confrontation between great powers has decisively shifted to those that combine strategic offense with tactical defense.

As a consequence, the authors suggested that “the US Army should recognize the evolved character of modern warfare and embrace strategies that establish forward positions of advantage in contested areas like Eastern Europe and the South China Sea. This means reorganizing its current maneuver-centric structure into a fires-dominant force with robust capacity to defend in depth.”

Forward Defense, Active Defense, and AirLand Battle

To illustrate their thinking, Jennings, Fox, and Taliaferro invoked a specific historical example:

This strategic realignment should begin with adopting an approach more reminiscent of the US Army’s Active Defense doctrine of the 1970s than the vaunted AirLand Battle concept of the 1980s. While many distain (sic) Active Defense for running counter to institutional culture, it clearly recognized the primacy of the combined-arms defense in depth with supporting joint fires in the nuclear era. The concept’s elevation of the sciences of terrain and weaponry at scale—rather than today’s cult of the offense—is better suited to the current strategic environment. More importantly, this methodology would enable stated political aims to prevent adversary aggression rather than to invade their home territory.

In the article’s comments, many pushed back against reviving Active Defense thinking, which has apparently become indelibly tarred with the derisive criticism that led to its replacement by AirLand Battle in the 1980s. As the authors gently noted, much of this resistance stemmed from the perceptions of Army critics that Active Defense was passive and defensively-oriented, overly focused on firepower, and suspicions that it derived from operations research analysts reducing warfare and combat to a mathematical “battle calculus.”

While AirLand Battle has been justly lauded for enabling U.S. military success against Iraq in 1990-91 and 2003 (a third-rank, non-nuclear power it should be noted), it always elided the fundamental question of whether conventional deep strikes and operational maneuver into the territory of the Soviet Union’s Eastern European Warsaw Pact allies—and potentially the Soviet Union itself—would have triggered a nuclear response. The criticism of Active Defense similarly overlooked the basic political problem that led to the doctrine in the first place, namely, the need to provide a credible conventional forward defense of West Germany. Keeping the Germans actively integrated into NATO depended upon assurances that a Soviet invasion could be resisted effectively without resorting to nuclear weapons. Indeed, the political cohesion of the NATO alliance itself rested on the contradiction between the credibility of U.S. assurances that it would defend Western Europe with nuclear weapons if necessary and the fears of alliance members that losing a battle for West Germany would make that necessity a reality.

Forward Defense in Eastern Europe

A cursory look at the current military situation in Eastern Europe along with Russia’s increasingly robust anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities (see map) should clearly illustrate the logic behind a doctrine of forward defense. U.S. and NATO troops based in Western Europe would have to run a gauntlet of well protected long-range fires systems just to get into battle in Ukraine or the Baltics. Attempting operational maneuver at the end of lengthy and exposed logistical supply lines would seem to be dauntingly challenging. The U.S. 2nd U.S. Cavalry ABCT Stryker Brigade Combat Team based in southwest Germany appears very much “lone and lonely.” It should also illustrate the difficulties in attacking the Russian A2/AD complex; an act, which Jennings, Fox, and Taliaferro remind, that would actively court a nuclear response.

In this light, Active Defense—or better—a MDO doctrine of forward defense oriented on “a fires-dominant force with robust capacity to defend in depth,” intended to “enable stated political aims to prevent adversary aggression rather than to invade their home territory,” does not really seem foolishly retrograde after all.

TDI Friday Read: Multi-Domain Battle/Operations Doctrine

With the December 2018 update of the U.S. Army’s Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, this seems like a good time to review the evolution of doctrinal thinking about it. We will start with the event that sparked the Army’s thinking about the subject: the 2014 rocket artillery barrage fired from Russian territory that devastated Ukrainian Army forces near the village of Zelenopillya. From there we will look at the evolution of Army thinking beginning with the initial draft of an operating concept for Multi-Domain Battle (MDB) in 2017. To conclude, we will re-up two articles expressing misgivings over the manner with which these doctrinal concepts are being developed, and the direction they are taking.

The Russian Artillery Strike That Spooked The U.S. Army

Army And Marine Corps Join Forces To Define Multi-Domain Battle Concept

Army/Marine Multi-Domain Battle White Paper Available

What Would An Army Optimized For Multi-Domain Battle Look Like?

Sketching Out Multi-Domain Battle Operational Doctrine

U.S. Army Updates Draft Multi-Domain Battle Operating Concept

U.S. Army Multi-Domain Operations Concept Continues Evolving

U.S. Army Doctrine and Future Warfare