Category Mine Warfare

Body Counts – What Can They Tell Us?

A new posting from William (Chip) Sayers. This is his tenth post here. He will be presenting at our Historical Analysis conference: Who’s Who at HAAC – part 1 | Mystics & Statistics ( and Schedule of the Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 27-29 September 2022 – update 13 | Mystics & Statistics (

——————-William (Chip) Sayers————————–

Body Counts – What Can They Tell Us?

There has been a lot of back and forth on the web lately about how many casualties Russia has taken in Ukraine, how much equipment they’ve lost and how they are going to replace those troops and weapons. I’ve decided it’s time to look into this subject and bring my own experiences to the table. 

In Vietnam, these kind of metrics seemed to have no utility other than to corrupt the officer corps with fake and exaggerated body counts, or worse, counting dead civilians as combatants. Or so the legends say. Gen. Westmorland demanded a high body count, so that’s what he got. And while the numbers looked impressive, it eventually became apparent that the numbers weren’t tied to anything concrete. Would another 50,000 North Vietnamese dead cause Ho Chi Minh to capitulate? Another 100,000? In the end, Hanoi admitted they had lost a million men in their bid to take over the South. Clearly, Uncle Ho was ready to fight to the last North Vietnamese soldier. When your opponent’s pain threshold is that high, the body count really doesn’t tell you anything. Or so it would seem.

In the aftermath of Operation DESERT STORM in 1991, various interested parties were pushing the Pentagon for a casualty count on the Iraqi side. I’m sure some wanted to thump their chests over the “kill ratio” between Iraqi casualties and the ludicrously low figures on the Allied side; while others apparently wanted to use the presumably large number of Iraqi losses to highlight the wanton brutality of the campaign we had pursued. The obvious source, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of Coalition Forces, wasn’t interested in sharing numbers. Schwarzkopf was a field-grade infantry officer during the Vietnam War and he had seen the dark side of body counts and wanted no part of them. While there would be little of the corrosive effect on the officer corps after a short, victorious war, he also knew how badly the US Army’s credibility had suffered over the issue in Vietnam. There would be no body count from Operation DESERT STORM.

The question, then, got punted over to Defense Intelligence Agency where I was working at the time. I know the analyst who had to respond and I know that he basically made up a number out of whole cloth to get the action off his desk during a very busy time. If I recall correctly, that number was 100,000, with no distinction between killed or wounded, or if they were all KIA, as reported by some in the media. I had Col Dupuy’s model in hand and had used it to support my team’s effort during the war, so I could have come up with a far more reasonable estimate, but no one asked me. Some months later, another analyst I knew wrote an article for Foreign Affairs on the Iraqi casualty account. He rightly derided the 100,000 estimate. However, he made his estimate by counting vehicles destroyed and multiplying by crew capacity—certainly more reasonable than a complete WAG, but unlikely to be very accurate—particularly as most destroyed Iraqi vehicles had already been abandoned by their crews. So far as I’m aware, no one has ever done a serious, forensic study of the question since then and basically, nothing has been learned or understood about Iraqi casualties from ODS.

Flash forward 12 years: A few months after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a couple of colleagues and I were asked to do a study of the nascent Sunni insurgency and come up with tips the U.S. Army could use to protect its personnel from ambushes. For my part, I went back to a series of “How we did it” monographs the Army put out in 1971-1974 in that brief period of time when we were looking at our efforts in Vietnam as a victory. After 1975, no one in the Army wanted to hear anything about Vietnam, and this series of monographs went into dusty archives, presumably never to see the light of day. In large measure, I was simply feeding the Army its own forgotten history, and they were very happy to receive it. 

Over the course of the project, I created a database from the Army’s information about various incidents they were involved in. In particular, I was interested in incidents which resulted in casualties to either side. For the U.S. side, I counted those personnel who were listed as KIA and those who were listed as Seriously Wounded in Action, or SWIA. I considered those personnel who did not return to duty within 72 hours as being WIA. I did not count those soldiers who put a band-aid on it and returned to duty within that 72-hour window. To count as an insurgent casualty, I only included those whose body was in our possession. i.e., enemy KIA where we actually had possession of the body and those who were captured and in custody. Some of the Enemy Prisoners of War (EPWs) may have been wounded, but there was no information with which to break that out. Any insurgent who was believed to have been killed or wounded but was not in our possession was not counted.

Eventually, I ended up with a database of some 27,000 incidents evaluated for 80 different conditions over a period of a year and a half of operations. Some of the conditions I tested for included things like what kind of attack it was: small arms, Improvised Explosive Device (IED), mortar, complex, etc. The Army counted an attack as “complex” if two different types of weapons were used, e.g., small arms and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs). I believed the Army’s definition was not helpful, as the purpose of that categorization was to indicate a higher level of training and tactical competence. So, I only counted an attack as being in the complex category that actually required integration of differing elements, such as small arms and mortars or a vehicular IED and coordinated sniper fire, etc.

In analyzing these incidents, certain trends seemed to fall out. The Iraqi insurgents were never able to successfully stand up to Allied troops in an infantry fight. Insurgent mortarmen were hopelessly inept. Even IED attacks rapidly dropped in effectiveness. Some of these things were due to the quick adaptation by Allied troops. They got better defensive armor and tactics, but experience was the key. It was difficult to watch Allied casualties spike with the rotation of a new unit into combat, but this was followed rapidly by a drop in losses. Often, the final rate was lower than that of the previous unit, indicating an effective process of disseminating lessons learned through the force. In contrast, there was no sign whatsoever of a similar process on the insurgent side. Their casualty rates increased incessantly to the point that something had to give. That something was the “Sunni Awakening,” when they realized that it would be better to seek our protection from the Shia militias than to fight us.

One of the things that convinced me that this result was inevitable was what happened with casualty rates on both sides with regard to IEDs. In the first months of the insurgency, it took only three IED emplacements to cause a U.S. KIA or SWIA. By the end of my study, this was up to over 30 to 1 and the insurgents were actually losing more personnel involved with IEDs than we were (not all of insurgent losses were IED trigger-men scooped up during an attack, or from emplacement teams who were caught in the act—some were from raids on IED factories, or from the movement of bombs where careless insurgents blew themselves up, etc.). Much of this data was collected before our realization of the extent our troops were suffering from traumatic brain injuries, so the real cost to our personnel was not completely captured. However, the enemy did not know this, either, so it didn’t influence their decision to change sides.

One of the most important findings I made was of a major inflection point in insurgent combat effectiveness in November, 2004. It appeared quite clear that many of their best people—if not the very heart of the insurgency—died in the fight for Fallujah. This should come as a surprise to no one, given the fight they put up, and the lack of escape routes we afforded them. From that point on, insurgent effectiveness dropped and continued a literal death spiral as moderately experienced insurgents were killed or captured only to be replaced by personnel with less experience and a lower life expectancy on the battlefield.

Ironically, the insurgency didn’t recognize what was happening and intensified its attacks. While the burnout of the Sunni insurgency was predictable by the end of 2005, it took another year for it to fully manifest itself. In the meantime, the increasing numbers of attacks—resulting in increasing Allied casualties, despite plummeting insurgent effectiveness—caused U.S. analysts to believe Iraq was a lost cause when, in fact, Allied forces were on the cusp of victory. Eventually, Sunni insurgents were forced to face the inevitable truth that that they could not win in a two-front war against both us and the Shia militias and to continue was tantamount to sect suicide. They knew that they would never be able to return to their position of domination over Iraq and would suffer mightily at the hands of the Shia they had previously oppressed. So, they took the only reasonable option available: they sought our protection from the Shia majority. This startling outcome was entirely predictable, if one paid close attention to the data.

A further myth I was able to disprove was the threat of “bleed out.” Counter-terrorism analysts were highly concerned that trained Iraqi military personnel turned insurgents would begin to exit Iraq with their skills and perpetrate acts of terrorism around the world. However, their bombmaking skills had no application anywhere outside of Iraq as it was almost entirely based on the use of artillery shells—not something you would find lying around Western Europe. Their small arms skills were almost non-existent, the vast majority of their “sniper” attacks were almost certainly lucky shots (I was able to identify the work of only one or two actual snipers from the data), fewer than one in ten of their RPG attacks hit anything, and they seemed completely baffled by the mortars they employed, often failing to put rounds inside the fence at a sprawling logistics base or walking their rounds off a target they came close to hitting with the first shot. Either their former soldiers didn’t join the insurgency, or they were completely incompetent. Either way, the “bleed out” threat never materialized.

Certainly, I would never advocate for a simple body count. If you ask for bodies, that’s exactly what you will get. And as we saw in Vietnam, that sometimes became problematic. However, the careful collection and analysis of combat loss statistics can be of great value.

To bring this back home, can body counts and other loss statistics be of value in analyzing the war in Ukraine? Yes, but with this caveat: those of us operating in the unclassified realm have very little access to good, useful information necessary for such analysis. Furthermore, the Ukrainian government not only recognizes the utility of good propaganda, they are masterful in its employment. And that’s a complement. However, it makes our job more difficult in sorting out truth from fiction. 

One final vignette: When the U.S. gave Stinger missiles to the Mujahideen insurgents to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, a coworker of mine was the point-man on watching the results. After a week of successful action, he wrote a piece saying that the Soviets had lost seven aircraft, or about one per day. That evening, Dan Rather read his report, verbatim on the CBS evening news, and in the succeeding months, the media and other analysts based their estimates of Russian aircraft losses on the “one per day” comment. In fact, you can find claims of Soviet losses to this day, based on that report. In reality, the Soviets took quick action, lowering their losses significantly, albeit at a high cost to the effectiveness of their Air Force. However, I have often wondered if perhaps Mr. Gorbachev trusted the Western news media more than his own generals on this issue (a not entirely unreasonable position), and eventually came to the determination that Afghanistan wasn’t worth it based on a little piece of unintentional propaganda.



My comment: Chip Sayer’s postings are completely independent of The Dupuy Institute. He emailed this to me last week and I did not get around to reading it until this morning, as I was copying and pasting it to the blog. There is a lot of significant statements in this posting, which I was tempted to place in bold. Some of these reinforce statements I have made in my books, in particular Modern American Wars. This is definitely a blog post worth reading slowly twice.

Appendix II: The 39th Panzer Regiment at Kursk

Appendix II had a brief discussion of the tank losses in the 39th Panzer Regiment due to mines in our report on “The Military Consequences of a Complete Landmine Ban.” This is from It reads as follows:


Losses in the 39th Panzer Regiment at Kursk are confusing. On 4 July 1943 it had 200, and on 6 July 40 tanks, ready for action. But, a significant percentage of the tanks were broken down rather than combat losses. The regiment was attached to the Gross Deutschland Division during the battle. But it is uncertain whether the 20 tanks reported as lost to mines on 5 July were only from Gross Deutschland or included tanks of the 39th Panzer Regiment. We assume that it does not. The 39th Panzer Regiment was equipped with brand new Panther tanks that suffered from various teething problems which resulted in poor reliability. The number of Panthers available on the morning of 4 July is known (200), and the number that broke down during the march up on 4 July is
also known (two or, possibly, six). The next reliable strength report available is for the evening 6 July, when 40 tanks were reported operational. Some of the 158-tank shortfall was due to combat losses (including mines), but many were due to mechanical failure.

There are two reports of mine losses for the Panthers. One was a Quartermaster report of 76 tanks lost to date on 10 July. Four were total losses, 54 were mechanical losses, and 18 were “minor failures (with most caused by mines).” The other was an after action report submitted to the Office of the Inspector General of Armor Troops in August 1943 from the regiment. It reported that on the evening of 10 July there were 10 Panthers left “facing the enemy”, 25 total losses (including 23 hit and burned and 2 burned in the march to the front), 100 in the workshops (including 56 from gun damage and mines and 44 with technical problems). There were also 65 others being released or soon to be released from the repair facilities (cause of failure was not recorded in this report) for
return to the front. This report also stated that “about 40 Panthers were lost to mines in the first days…In one example a total loss resulted when flames penetrated the turret basket and ignited the stored ammunition…”

Since the quartermaster report for 10 July understates Panther losses at that time, and tended to lag behind the tank loss reports, it is assumed to be a partial report. The IG report giving 40 tanks lost to mines is probably closer to the truth.

For 5 July there are no actual reports of Panthers being lost to mines or being in minefields. Of the two battalions of the regiment, one put at least 30 Panthers across the Berezovyii ravine, and as a result, almost certainly took mine losses. Whether these were picked up in the Gross Deutschland report of 20 tanks lost is more difficult to determine. The other battalion did not get across the creek and probably suffered no losses to mines on 5 July.

The following day, they did encounter some mines, and also on 7 July and thereafter. If it is assumed that 18 of the 76 tanks reported as lost were all lost to mines, and that figure is used to account for all of the 158 estimated lost on 5 and 6 July (two them were accounted for on 4 July), then a total of 38 tanks were lost to mines. This is certainly the highest number that can be supported by the historical record. However, the actual number lost to mines may have been 10 or 20 tanks fewer.


There is a more extended discussion on tank losses due to mines at Kursk on pages 16-25. It covers the nine attacking German panzer and panzer grenadier divisions. Some of this made it into my first Kursk book.

More Conclusions on Scatterable Mines

Just wanted to pull up the rest of our conclusions from page 43 of the “Military Consequences of a Complete Landmine Ban” report. I had left this out of my last post for the sake of keeping the post sort. The entire report is here:

There were seven conclusions and three recommendations in the original report. I shortened conclusion 3 in my write-up yesterday. The full conclusion is here:

3) The banning of antitank SCATMINE systems is a more difficult issue. There is no question that there will be some loss of capability, although the degree is not easy to measure.

a) US Army ground and helicopter-deployed SCATMINE systems (Volcano, Flipper, and MOPMS) are fundamentally defensive in nature and are only assigned to divisions and brigades which do not have a robust anti-armor capability. Banning them would effect the anti-armor defensive capability of those units. However, the capabilities of these systems may be replaceable by Hornet. The advantages gained would be a reduced logistical tail (definitely a critical issue for future Army planning), a reduced threat of fratricidal use, and a reduced chance of encountering the same or similar systems in the inventory of opposing forces, a very definite advantage.

b) US artillery launched SCATMINE systems (ADAM and RAAM) have both theoretical offensive and a practical defensive use. Since the rounds in the artillery basic load have a four-hour self-destruct, it is effectively an anti-armor system with a persistent effect, rather than a long-term barrier system. Its interdiction value is short-term. To be used most effectively it must be used in conjunction with other antitank weapons. Therefore, a complete antitank mine ban may result in some reduction in anti-armor capability. However, the actual armor killing capability of RAAM can be replaced by existing systems. The main advantages lost are the capability of temporarily freezing an opposing unit in place and persistence of its effect (up to 48 hours).

c) US airdropped SCATMINE systems (GATOR) have utility in interdicting an enemy. There does not appear to be another weapon system that would provide a complete substitute for that capability, especially for long term use (48 hours or 15 days). The downside of that capability, as was found in the Gulf War, is that this system interdicts both sides. GATOR may also be useful in freezing an opposing unit, which is then attacked with other assets in deep battle. However, SCATMINEs tactical defensive value is limited due to the method of deployment and the difficulty associated with marking and recording their location. They may also have some offensive value in protecting flanks.


Again, this was a snap shot of the issue in 2001. We have not done any further work on the subject since then.

Mark Perry – part 2 (and Landmine Restrictions)

Last week author Mark Perry passed away. I had not talked to him in over a decade, but we worked with him 20 years ago. Links to articles on him:

Mark Perry, working with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF), had arranged to have our original 1997 report that we did for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on the “Military Consequences of Landmine Restrictions” published and distributed, along with the letters exchanged between TDI President Nick Krawciw (MG, USA, ret) to General John Shalikashvili, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is discussed in our previous blog post:

Mark Perry | Mystics & Statistics (

That earlier report used to be on line. It does not appear that VVAF maintains its website any more. As dozens, if not hundreds of the report were printed and distributed, I assume there is a copy of in the Library of Congress, but it does not seem to otherwise be available. Of course, it can be ordered from us. I probably need to make it available on line.  Here some links to it:


SIPRI Library and Documentation catalog › Details for: Military consequences of landmine restrictions

The Dupuy Institute’s Research Study: Military Consequences of Landmine Restrictions by The Dupuy Institute – Paperback – 2000 – from Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (SKU: 52962) (

After that report was published, Mark Perry, who lived down the road from our office in McLean, Va., kept coming over to our office and asking us for additional information. This ended up turning into three small reports (M-3, M-4, M5).

TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications

M-3. An Analysis of Rapid Mine Emplacement in a Threat Environment (1 June 2000) (VVAF) – Pages: 89

and two of these are available on-line:

Microsoft Word – M-4 Landmines in the Gulf War.doc (

Microsoft Word – M-5 Brief Survey of Mine Breaching.doc (

We do make a few of our reports available on line and I should probably make more… but this is an administrative task that is not high on my to-do list (most administrative tasks are not high on my to-do list): TDI – The Dupuy Institute Publications

These were all contracted for, although we insisted on complete freedom in research and results (which we always do), especially as we were doing work for an advocacy group.

And then he contracted us to look at a complete landmine ban (both anti-personnel and anti-tank). Then of course, there is a big different between “dumb” mines, and “smart” and scatterable mines. This report is here:


I gather a number of people at VVAF were pushing for a complete landmine ban. As we state in Executive Summary of our report:

“TDI believes that its analysis is accurate enough to support conclusions that a total “dumb” landmine ban, including all antitank mines of that nature, would make operational sense and should be part of the revolution in military affairs. Such a move would enhance US dynamic battlefield capabilities, would lessen the logistic burden, and may well reduce American casualties. For similar operations effectiveness reasons, the United States should also study the consequences of eventually supporting a ban on scatterable mines. That may have to be conditional on other major manufacturing nations joining such an initiative.”

And to grab the main points from our conclusions:

  1. The Dupuy Institute reiterates its recommendation that the United State support current efforts to implement an antipersonnel landmine ban.
  2. The Dupuy Institute is quite comfortable with extending the ban to include “dumb” antitank mines. Such a ban would not significantly reduce US capabilities. Furthermore, these weapons have already been effectively removed from US doctrinal use. The “dumb” mine is a weapon that will be used against US forces, rather than one that US forces will use.
  3. The banning of antitank SCATMINE systems is a more difficult issue. There is no question that there will be some loss of capability, although the degree is not easy to measure (more on this point in a subsequent post).
  4. If a revolution in military affairs is occurring, with the United States on the leading edge of the revolution, then the deployment of any conventional mine system is to our disadvantage. Fundamentally mines have more value to technologically inferior forces. They remain a simple, cheap, and easy means of attacking technologically sophisticated weapons systems while incurring little risk to the user.
  5. Because of the nature of most US operations, the US is more often on the offense in conventional warfare than it is on the defense. Furthermore, they are not weapons that the US, as a conventional force, would have much use for in a guerilla war.  It is not a weapon that the US has any use for in contingency operations, peacekeeping operations and operations other than war. The mine is still primarily a weapon of the defender and the guerilla. As such, any landmine bans fundamentally favor the US military and reduce casualties.
  6. The “Korean exception” appears to be a “red herring.” It appears that the prime reason for the US Army maintaining “dumb” antipersonnel mines in Korea is to stockpile them for South Korean use and that any planned use of the stockpiled mines by US forces is a very secondary consideration. Korea is not a strong argument for refusing to participate in a landmine ban.
  7. There appears to be a fairly clear dividing line between a mine and command detonated munition. Hornet and Claymore (as configured for US forces) would not be covered under a landmine ban. As such, banning landmines does not open the possibility that other US antipersonnel or antitank weapons would be lost in such a ban.


  1. The Dupuy Institute again recommends that the US agree to an antipersonnel landmine ban.
  2. The Dupuy Institute recommends that the US agree to a “dumb” antitank landmine ban.
  3. The Dupuy Institute recommends that the US consider an antitank SCATMINE ban.

.    The Dupuy Institute understands that this would entail some loss in defensive capability, and possibly a minor loss in offensive capability. Still, the overall benefits of such a ban to US offensive capability – lower casualties and a reduced logistics tail – could make such a ban advantageous to US armed forces. This advantage would be predicated on at least partial, but not complete, effectiveness of such ban worldwide. Thus, the US may wish to make its participation in a ban on antitank SCATMINE systems conditional upon the participation of (or the participation of within a set period of time) certain other major manufacturing nations (i.e., Russia, China and India).


Finally, amid all this mine work, we ended up doing a brief report for Los Alamos (a government laboratory). They had called to ask us some questions, and by the end of the conversation, they decided to give us a small contract. Marketing was so much easier back then.

The Los Alamos report is here: Microsoft Word – M-8 A Measure of the Real-World Value of Mixed Mine System– (

So we ended up doing effectively six different reports on landmines for three different customers (JCS, VVAF, Los Alamos). This was going on the same time we were doing our Capture Rate Studies for CAA (which makes up the basis for several of my first chapters in War by Numbers) and were starting first of our three urban warfare studies for them (also two chapters in War by Numbers). It was an interesting collection of work and we greatly appreciated the support from Mark Perry. Since 2001, we have not done any work related to landmines. 

Mark Perry moved on to other tasks. I talked to him a few times after that about Middle East issues, but his focus was now more on political issues and our focus tends to be more on the nuts and bolts of defense issues, so we did not do any further work with him. He was a very good guy to work with. Sorry to see him go.


Mark Perry (and Landmine Restrictions)

I saw on Twitter yesterday that Mark Perry had passed away. I had not talked to him in over a decade, but we worked with him 20 years ago. Links to articles on him:

Back in the fall of 1995 we did a casualty estimate for our proposed deployment to Bosnia for the JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff). This estimate is republished in Appendix II of my book America’s Modern Wars. This was a short fuse project, and we turned it around in three weeks.

Apparently Lt. Gen. Wesley Clark was impressed with this effort so contracted us when the issue came up of how DOD should respond to the proposed international landline ban. We started the effort knowing it was short fuse, but was told a couple days into the effort that they needed the report next week. So we cranked out the research, analysis and subsequent report in 8 calendar days. The report was submitted to JCS in April 1996. I think we were paid around $30K for this effort.

Our conclusions were fourfold on an APM ban (anti-personnel mines):

1. What would happen if a ban on APM’s were universally observed?

This clearly favors the attacker. In most conceivable near-term contingencies, the US would be the advancing force; hence this would be advantageous to the US. Our present estimate is a US casualty reduction of 2 to 5 percent, if the campaign does not deteriorate into a US defensive mode. In the case of a guerilla war, the reduction might be as large as 20 percent, but the assumption that guerillas would observe such a ban may be correspondingly low.

2. What would happen if the US observed such a ban, but the opponent did not?

This clearly hurts the US – the only question is how much. A model applied to a Korean-type engagement, augmented by our historical examples, says the US would have suffered 3 percent more causalities. Fast maneuvering typified by the Gulf War could well exact a smaller percentage penalty. We may have a better answer in the next ten days. A really good answer might deserve 3 months or more.

3. What if the U.S. continues to use APM’s, but agrees any such weapons will routinely be promptly disabled or destroyed after battles?

From a purely combat viewpoint, this has the virtue of eliminating whatever increment in casualties would otherwise occur. Beyond this, this feature for APM’s can be valuable in combat.

4. What related capabilities can influence the combat consequences of an APM ban?

There are many, and a careful look at them might well greatly reduce the casualty cost of our unilateral observance of a ban. Improvements in our mine clearance facilities (of enemy mines) may be at the top of the list.


We submitted the report to JCS and the active duty Marine major who was the action officer in charge expressed surprise at the results. We heard no other feedback from JCS at that time.

Some eight months later, Nick Krawciw, the president of TDI, asked for the report and supporting material and then came up with a one page letter that he attached to the report and sent over on 2 January 1997 to General John Shalikashvili, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. He asked him to: ”Please look at the attached page with four summary points which were added to our study and given to Wes Clark just before he left for his current assignment. In my estimation points 1, and 4. outweigh 2. and 3.. Therefore, I recommend that the United States support a total ban on antipersonnel mines. Our historical research, when coupled with probable future engagements, indicates that a total ban on this type of mine, if eventually adhered to by most nations, will only benefit the US ground forces in the long run.” 

Nick Krawciw (MG, USA, ret.) had served two tours in Vietnam, one around 1962 as an advisor and another up at the DMZ around 1968. There are pictures in my book America’s Modern Wars from his tours and the effects of a mine blast (now called IEDS – Improvised Explosive Devices) on the M-113 he was riding in.

Needless to say, his experiences in Vietnam reinforced the view that landlines are a weapon that is often used against the U.S. military and rarely used by us. Certainly the widespread use of IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan has reinforced that picture.

John Shalikashvili did respond on 6 February 1997, saying in part: “Your study and summary points have been used on several occasions in considering this issue. Concur in the conclusion that the United should support a total ban on APL [antipersonnel landmines].”

The United States ended up not supporting the anti-personnel landmine ban, which I think is a mistake.

Flash forward four years later and suddenly a couple of people showed up at our office looking for the “suppressed DOD report on the landmine ban.” Well, it was not suppressed. We were never given any restrictions on access to it and like almost all of our reports, it was publicly available for purchase. See It appeared that not too many people had gone looking for our open-source, unclassified, publicly available report; and we were quite surprised to discover that people considered it “suppressed.”

Then Mark Perry showed up representing The Vietnam Veteran of America Foundation (VVAF) which was actively involved in supporting the landmine ban. He asked if they could publish it. We agreed, they published it along with the two letters, distributed it and I think VVAF donated $10K to TDI in response.

And then Mark Perry, who lived down the road from our office in McLean, Va., came over to our office and asked us if we would do another little study for VVAF (more on this in my next post).