Third video posted to our YouTube site

We have now published the third video from the first Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC) to our YouTube site. It is here: (1) Data for Wargames: Lawrence – YouTube

The briefing in this third video goes for most of the video, as discussion and comments were made mostly during the briefing. The briefing ends at 55:30 the video ends at 59:27.

A few discussions of note:

At 10:10 – A discussion of what TDI does

At 18:52 – A discussion of Breakpoints

At 32:54 – A discussion of Suppression

At 37:18 – A discussion of what we don’t know

There were some issues with sound from virtual attendees, but one of these was Robert Helmbold, so, please bear with us.

The viewgraphs for these briefings were previous posted here: Presentations from HAAC – Data for Wargames | Mystics & Statistics (

The schedule for our next conference is here: Schedule for the Second Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 17 – 19 October 2023 | Mystics & Statistics (

The War in Ukraine – Economist Article

The Economist published an article last month called “The war in Ukraine shows how technology is changing the battlefield.” The subtitle is “But mass still counts, argues Shashank Joshi in the first of seven chapters of a special report on the future of warfare.” The link is here: The war in Ukraine shows how technology is changing the battlefield ( The headline in the actual (hard-copy) July 8-14 issue was “Ypres with AI: The war in Ukraine shows how technology has changed the battlefield. But mass still counts, argues Shashank Joshi.” Not sure why they have two different headlines.

I am quoted in the article. This took me by surprise as I had not talked or exchanged emails with Mr. Joshi in a few months. A well-read friend called and told me. 

The specific quote is: 

This jeopardy is reflected in a curiously sparse battlefield. In Ukraine some 350,000 Russian troops are arrayed on a front line stretching 1,200 km (750 miles) – around 300 men per km and, at times last year, less than half that. That is around a tenth of the average for the same area in the second world war, notes Chirstopher Lawrence, head of the Dupuy Institute, which collects such data. Battalions of several hundred men fill areas that would once have been covered by brigades of a few thousand.

In theory, say Mr. Lawrence, this seems a ripe environment for attackers. Thin front lines are easier to break through. And new sensors, more accurate munitions and better digital networks make it easier to find and strike targets. The catch is that attackers must concentrate their forces to pierce well-defended front lines, as Ukraine is now trying to do with its counter-offensive. And such concentrations can be detected and struck 0- not always, but more often than in the past…

Yea, I said something like that. Don’t remember exactly when or where.

Anyhow, thank you Mr. Joshi for the quote.


P.S. A few related references:

Density of Deployment in Ukraine | Mystics & Statistics (

Economist Article on Urban Warfare | Mystics & Statistics (

Economist Article on Russian Casualty Estimates | Mystics & Statistics (

Unstructured Comments on “The Relationship of Battle Damage to Unit Combat Performance”

Thanks to Russell1200 (see comments to Count of Opposing Forces | Mystics & Statistics (, I now found out about a report “The Relationship of Battle Damage to Unit Combat Performance” by Leonard Wainstein of IDA prepared back in April 1986. Both the report and Wainstein are unknown to me.

The abstract of the report says

The purpose of this study is to investigate the historical basis for the assumption that a military formation will cease to be effective after having lost a pre-ordained percentage of its strength. Battles from the First World War to the 1982 Falklands campaign are reviewed for insight into the validity of this assumption.

The effect of heavy battte damage on units has been both variable and unpredictable. There is a relationship between losses and the continued willingness to fight, but it defies precise definition. So long as some men in the formation continue to fight as an organized entity, either in attack or defense, for whatever reason, the formation they represent cannot be termed ‘ineffective.”


My notes made while reading it:

  1. Page v: Contents: section on earlier studies references ORO report of 1954 (known to me… the Dorothy Clark report on Breakpoints) and an RAC report of 1966 (not known to me).
  2. Page 1: “The battle cases cited run from army level to battalion level, from single day engagements to those lasting several months” – my bias is to collect and analysis data based upon the same level of combat, i.e. division-level, battalion-level, etc.
  3. Page 1: Only 54 actions were examined (this seems small) and “only 11 represent cases where a formation collapsed, surrendered, was repulsed, was stalemated, or had to be taken out of the line after suffering some degree of damage.” (this seems like a really small sample).
  4. Page 2: “Colonel Trevor N. Dupuy, in describing the 1973 Middle East War, has written ‘The human element has always been important in war, and despite the technology available to both sides, the human element was undoubtedly the most significant feature in this war.’ The same comment could obviously be made about all the actions described in this paper.”
  5. Page 3: “There is no agreement among national armies, combat commanders, military historians or defense analysts as to the point when battle damage renders a formation impotent.”
  6.  Pages 1-5, Summary: This is worth reading in its entirety.
  7. Page 6: “The modeling community have developed a set of formulae for use in this determination, but it is not clear to what extent these formulae reflect actual battle experience.” (stated in 1986… pretty certain the “modeling community” has not taken significant corrective action).
  8. Page 8: Paragraph on perceived resistance is interesting.
  9. Pages 1-10: No mention of artillery.
  10. Page 11: “Despite the interest in and significance of the subject, relatively little research has been done across the years on casualty-effectiveness relationships.”
  11. Pages 11-12: Description of the Dorothy Clark 1954 ORO report, measuring 44 battalions. To quote Clark “the statement that a unit can be considered no longer combat effective when it has suffered a specific casualty percentage is a gross oversimplification not supported by combat data.”
  12. Pages 12-13: Description of Robert Best 1966 RAC report.
  13.  Page 23: Trevor Dupuy quoted again.
  14. Page 24: “Oriental fanaticism.”
  15. Page 44: HERO report from 1967 is referenced (HERO became TDI).
  16. Page 69: Trevor Dupuy is referenced.
  17. Page DL-2: A copy of this report went to CAA (Concepts Analysis Agency, now Center for Army Analysis).
  18. Page DL-3:  A copy went to HERO. I was there in 1987, do not recall seeing this report.

The IDA report is here: TheRelationshipBetweenBattleDamageAndCombatPerformance.


A few related past posts:

Count of Opposing Forces | Mystics & Statistics (

Breakpoints | Mystics & Statistics (

Historians and the Early Era of U.S. Army Operations Research | Mystics & Statistics (

Article: “How Western Experts Got the Ukraine War so Wrong”

Just got in my email box from the Geopolitical Monitor dated 13 October 2022 written by Taras Kuzio called “How Western Experts Got the Ukraine War so Wrong.” I think this is worth repeating, so I have posted it here:  How Western Experts Got the Ukraine War So Wrong | Geopolitical Monitor. Hopefully this does not violate any policies of theirs.

In the fourth paragraph, they name the guilty parties (the experts who were wrong). They continue naming them in paragraphs 5, 6, 7 and 10. This is always a controversial step, but I think one that sometimes needs to be done. If people’s scholarship is leading them to make predictions, then the accuracy of their predictions directly reflect on their scholarship. Perhaps it is time for the “community” to ignore those scholars who are consistently wrong.

Note this article also addresses issues with Net Assessment.

Anyhow, this is worth reading. 

Land Operations and Combined Arms Seminar: Lessons Identified from the War in Ukraine, 6-8 December 2022

The Land Operations and Combined Arms Seminar: Lessons Identified from the War in Ukraine, in occurring in Oslo Norway, 6-8 December 2022. It is hosted by the Norwegian Military Academy. I will be giving a presentation there on “Some Observations from the War in Ukraine.”

See: International R&D seminar 6th – 8th of December 2022 – Norwegian Armed Forces ( It is open invitation. It will be conducted in English.

Phalanx Article: What We Have Learned from Doing Historical Analysis

The Phalanx is the quarterly journal for the Military Operations Research Society (MORS). I did have an article in the Summer issue of the journal called “What We Have Learned from Doing Historical Analysis.” This originally was just an aside in an email exchange between Dr. Dean Hartley, Dr. Robert Helmbold and I that Dean Hartley recommend I dress it up and turn it into an article. He arranged for it to be published by the Phalanx. I minimized the clean-up so that the tone of the article remained the same as what I said in my original email rant. I did go through and make nine observations based upon years of doing this work.

The issue is here (Volume 55, Number 2): Phalanx-Current-Volume.pdf ( It is at the end of the issue in the section called “Last Word.” I think you can access the entire issue even if you are not a member of MORS. The article by itself is here: What We Have Learned from Doing Historical Analysis on JSTOR.

A Strategy Page Article and Trevor Dupuy and Validation

An article appeared this week in the Strategy Page, which while a little rambling and unfocused, does hit on a few points of importance to us. The article is here: Murphy’s Law: What is Real on the Battlefield. Not sure of the author. But let me make a few rambling and unfocused comments on the article.

First they name-checked Trevor Dupuy. As they note: “Some post World War II historians had noted and measured the qualitative differences but their results were not widely recognized. One notable practitioner of this was military historian and World War II artillery officer Trevor Dupuy.”

“Not widely recognized” is kind of an understatement. In many cases, his work was actively resisted, with considerable criticism (some of it outright false), and often arrogantly and out-of-hand dismissed by people who apparently knew better. This is the reason why four chapters of my book War by Numbers focuses on measuring human factors.

I never understood the arguments from combat analysts and modelers who did not want to measure the qualitative differences between military forces. I would welcome someone who does not think this is useful to make the argument on this blog or maybe at our historical analysis conference. Fact of the matter was that Trevor Dupuy’s work was underfunded and under-resourced throughout the 33 years he pursued this research. His companies were always on the verge of extinction, kept going only by his force of will. 

Second, they discussed validation and the failure of the U.S. DOD to take it into account. Their statement was that “But, in general, validation was not a high priority and avoided as much as possible during peacetime.”  They discuss this as the case in the 1970s, but it was also true in the 1980s, the 1990s and into the current century. In my first meeting at CAA in early 1987, a group of analysts showed up for the purpose of getting the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base (ACSDB) cancelled. There was open hostility at that time to even assembling the data to conduct a validation among the analytical community. We have discussed the need for validation a few times before here:  Summation of our Validation Posts | Mystics & Statistics ( and here: TDI Friday Read: Engaging The Phalanx | Mystics & Statistics ( and here: TDI Friday Read: Battalion-Level Combat Model Validation | Mystics & Statistics ( and here: No Action on Validation In the 2020 National Defense Act Authorization | Mystics & Statistics ( and in Chapters 18 and 19 of War by Numbers.

Nominally, I am somewhat of a validation expert. I have created four+ large validation databases: the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, and Battle of Britian Data Base (primarily done by Richard Anderson) and the expansion of the various DuWar databases. I have actually conducted three validations also. This is the fully documented battalion-level validation done for the TNDM (see International TNDM Newsletters Volume I, numbers 2 – 6 at, the fully documented test of various models done in our report CE-1 Casualty Estimation Methodologies Study (May 2005) at and the fully documented test of division and corps level combat at Kursk using the TNDM (see Chapter 19 of War by Numbers and reports FCS-1 and FCS-2 here: That said, no one in DOD has ever invited me to discuss validation. I don’t think they would really agree with what I had to say. On the other hand, if there have been some solid documented validations conducted recently by DOD, then I certainly would invite them to post about it to our blog or present them at our Historical Analysis conference. There has been a tendency for certain agencies to claim they have done VVA and sensitivity tests, but one never seems to find a detailed description of the validation they have conducted.

I will not be specifically discussing these databases or validation at the Historical Analysis conference, but my discussion on the subject in War by Numbers and in over 40 blog posts on this blog.

The 88th Infantry Division Stole a Cake

Speaking of war crimes, I spotted this story today: US Army ‘returns’ cake to Italian woman for 90th birthday.

The 88th Infantry Division in Italy in 1944 in one of the units we have studied in some depth. There was a report done on it in 1981. See: 88. Performance of The 88th Infantry Division in World War II: Factors Responsible for its Excellence (1981) (MRA&L) – Pages: 120 at

This is also discussed on pages 114-121 of Trevor Dupuys Understanding War. He ended up conducting an analysis of the CEVs (Combat Effectiveness Values) of seven U.S. units, five UK units and 12 Germans units in Italy during WWII. This was done using his Quantified Judgment Method of Analysis (QJMA). Of those 24 units, the 88th Infantry Division was rated the fifth highest, based upon 4 engagements. It had a CEV of 1.14. It was the highest rated of all the allied units.

Ordering info is here:

Related posts:

Human Factors In Warfare: Combat Effectiveness | Mystics & Statistics (

The Key to Victory: Machine Learning the Lessons of History

Robert L. Helmbold has published a new book (his first book) called The Key to Victory: Machine Learning the Lessons of History. Bob Helmbold was one of the senior analysts at CAA (Center of Army Analysis). It was published by MORS (Military Operations Research Society) with the help of Dean Hartley, formerly of Oakridge. This is Bob Helmbold’s first book, and at 91 years old, I hope to see a dozen more from him.

Bob Helmbold will be doing a virtual presentation on this on the second day (Wednesday the 28th of September) of the Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC).

The book is only available through Barnes and Noble, not through Amazon. A link to it is here: The Key to Victory: Machine Learning the Lessons of History: by Robert Helmbold, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (


The First Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 27-29 September 2022 in Tysons Corner, VA

Announcing the first Historical Analysis Annual Conference (HAAC), 27-29 September, 2022 in Tysons Corner, VA, USA. It is being hosted by The Dupuy Institute but is an open conference and we are looking for interested presenters and attendees from all corners of the historical analysis, operations research, and historical research communities.


To explore and promote the use of historical analysis in understanding military affairs.

It is built in part upon the work done by the HERO (Historical Evaluation Research Organization), TNDA (Trevor N. Dupuy and Associates), DMSI (Data Memory Systems Inc.), TMCI (The Military Conflict Institute), TDI (The Dupuy Institute) and elements of the Cornwallis Group. Similar in concept to the TMCI conferences.

First Conference:

Will be held 27-29 September 2022 at Tysons Corner, Virginia, near Washington, DC. It is in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Trevor N. Dupuy founded organizations and the 30th anniversary of The Dupuy Institute.

It is expected that the conference will include a wide range of attendees and presenters from private industry, academia, the U.S. government, the UK operational research and historical analysis community, and other interested parties.

The first day (Tuesday) of the conference with be focused on Analysis of Conventional Warfare, the second day (Wednesday) on Analysis of Unconventional Warfare and the third day (Thursday) with include Other Analysis of Warfare. Each presentation will be a maximum of 45 minutes with at least 15 minutes set aside for questions and discussion.

If demand is high enough, the conference will be broken into working groups as required.

Historical Analysis:

There is no clear definition as to what historical analysis consists of. For the purposes of this conference, it is that analysis of history that is focused on military affairs and is usually quantitative in approach and based upon a large number of cases (as opposed to being a case study). Historical Analysis is considered a proper subdiscipline of UK Operational Research. It is not considered part of Operations Research in the United States.

The UK Dstl defines historical analysis as “The use of mathematical, statistical, qualitative and other forms of analysis to understand historical engagements, operations, campaigns and conflicts for the purpose of providing impartial analysis and sensitive decision support to policy makers.”

The key elements of what The Dupuy Institute looks for in historical analysis is that it is 1) based upon history, with a strong bias towards primary sources (i.e. unit records), 2) it is a based upon a representative sample of cases, not just a case study of one or two cases, 3) it is analytical in approach, 4) it is using past real-world experience for analyzing and addressing a problem of today. Historical analysis is simply the analysis of real-world experiences.

There are people who are doing surveys of historical operations, basically doing multiple case studies to examine trends and patterns. While these are not based upon the large databases that The Dupuy Institute favors, these are efforts worth examining and such efforts will also be explored at our conferences.


Cost of attendance will be $150 for the entire conference. Dining and hotels are at the expense of the attendees. There will be facilities for virtual attendees and virtual presenters, but the focus of the conference will be in-person presentations and attendees.

Call for Presentations:

We are making a call for papers and presentations at that time. We have already set up a preliminary list of presenters.

Long-term Goal:

The long-term goal is a create a series of periodic conferences for the purposes of presenting, examining and encouraging historical analysis of military affairs across a wide-range of issues.

For questions, suggestions, comments, or to volunteer for presentations, please contact:

Christopher A. Lawrence

The Dupuy Institute

(703) 289-0007


P.S. In subsequent posts I will be posting the rates for the conference, the list of nearby hotels, and a preliminary list of presenters.