An article titled ‘Shots per casualty: an indicator of combat efficiency for the first Australian task force in South Vietnam’ has recently been published by Andrew Ross and Bob Hall in Defense & Security Analysis.
The article argues that in combat, the ratio of shots fired per casualty inflicted can provide a measure of the combat effectiveness of a force. The shots per casualty ratio achieved by the 1st Australian Task Force in Vietnam is shown to change according to factors including marksmanship, tactics and combat type. While, over the course of the campaign, 1ATF fired an increasing number of shots to achieve a casualty, this is explained by improvements in the quality of Viet Cong and People’s Army small arms. Australian Task Force and US Army shots per casualty ratios are briefly compared.
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Those interested in the article above may also be interested in the following article.
Bob Hall & Andrew Ross, ‘Kinetics in counterinsurgency: some influences on soldier combat performance in the 1st Australian Task Force in the Vietnam War’, Small Wars & Insurgencies
Counterinsurgency is often characterized by large numbers of small fire-fights interspersed with a few larger battles. Heavy firepower contributes to the outcome of the larger battles but the smaller contacts are often fought by infantry without heavy weapons support. Infantry combat performance in these fire-fights is therefore a key concern. It has been fashionable to discuss soldier combat performance in terms of ‘firers’, ‘non-firers’, and ‘posturers’, but we argue that other factors have a greater impact. We provide a detailed statistical analysis of a selection of combat factors, using combat data collected by the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) during the Vietnam War. An accepted measure of soldier lethality is the ‘shots per casualty’ ratio. Using this measure we are now able to describe the combat performance of the Australian infantry section in Vietnam in much greater detail than has hitherto been possible.
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