Tag: combat

The Colonel’s Red Shirt

 This is a story about a little-known Confederate Colonel who dominated the battlefield during the American Civil War every bit as well as his military protegé, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson.

General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson is most known for his leadership at the First Battle of Bull Run where his unfaltering stand earned him the nickname ‘Stonewall’

Just to refresh your memory, General “Stonewall” Jackson rose to prominence and earned his famous nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run back in 1861. As the Confederate lines began to crumble under heavy Union assault, Jackson’s brigade provided crucial reinforcements, and General Jackson stood in the midst of the battlefield, refusing to retreat. Brig. Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr., exhorted his own troops to re-form by shouting, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer.”

  The Confederate Colonel’s Aide-De-Camp came to him early one morning before sunrise. “Colonel, the scouting report says we’re outnumbered by the Yanks, two-to-one. Should we fall back to Virginia?”

“Heaven forbid!” Replied the Colonel, “Just bring me my red shirt, and we’ll send those Yankees back from whence they came.”

   As the battle wore on, the Colonel stood proudly in the midst of his troops, barking orders and shouting encouragement. Bullets flew all around him, but he stood unfazed. The Union forces finally gave up and retired back into the woods for the evening.

  The next morning, the Colonel’s Aide-De-Camp came again, and gave a report. “Sir, the Union forces reinforced their line last night. If we go into battle, we shall be outnumbered, sir, three-to-one! Should we fall back?”

“Never!” the Colonel replied. “Bring my red shirt, and we shall be victorious!”

  The second day’s battle raged wilder than the first, with wave after wave of blue-suited soldiers attempting to drive back the Rebel defenders. The Colonel stood where all his troops could see him, prominent in his red shirt, unmoved from his position, despite the bullets that whizzed by his head. By sundown, the Union troops had made no gains and retreated once again into the woods.

  The third morning, the Aide-De-Camp came and asked the Colonel, “Incredible victories, sir. May I ask the significance of the red shirt?”

“Certainly,” he replied. “If I am to stand and be an example for my troops, I want them to be able to spot me quickly amidst the chaos. The red shirt will draw their attention, their wonderment, and their dedication. Besides that, if I am shot, my men will not see the blood, and they will continue the fight.”

“Well, it seems to be working, sir.” said the Aide. “And we will need all the help we can get for today’s battle. It appears we’re outnumbered five-to-one, according to our scouts. Shall I bring you your red shirt?”

The Colonel replied, “Forget the red shirt, Today I’ll be wearing my brown trousers.”


Rules of Combat (and life)

Rules about self

  • You are NOT Superman.
  • Ambition, attitude, and brains – two are required to be successful.
  • Anything you do leaves you vulnerable – including doing nothing.
  • Try to look unimportant, the enemy may be low on ammunition.
  • Don’t look conspicuous, it draws enemy fire.
  • Don’t draw enemy fire, it makes you quite unpopular with your unit.
  • Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.
  • Never share your foxhole with someone braver than you.

Rules about weapons

  • Remember your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
  • Always aim towards the Enemy.
  • If in doubt, empty your magazine.
  • You have three seconds when lighting a five-second fuse.
  • When the pin is pulled, the grenade is not your friend.

Rules about logistics:

  • Things that must be together to work, can’t be shipped together.
  • Batteries fail when there’s no other power source available.
  • Radios fail when you desperately need fires support.
  • Flashlights are tubular metal containers for storing dead batteries.
  • The only time you can have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.
  • If something hasn’t broken on your weapon, it’s about to.
  • If you are short on everything except enemy, you are in combat.

Rules about tactics

  • No plan survives initial contact intact.
  • If it sounds stupid – but it works, it’s not stupid.
  • If your attack is going well, you are walking into an ambush.
  • It is generally inadvisable to eject into the area you just bombed.
  • Any ship can be a minesweeper… once.
  • If you see a bomb technician running, follow him.
  • If one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane, you still have enough power to make it to the scene of the crash.
  • Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your situation to a person on the ground incapable of doing anything about it.

Rules about fires

  • The only thing more lethal than incoming fire, is incoming friendly fire.
  • Incoming fire has the right-of-way.
  • Tracer fire works both ways.
  • Friendly fire isn’t.
  • If the enemy is in range, so are you.

rules about strategy

  • Professional soldiers are predictable – but the world is full of amateurs.
  • If you are forward of your intended position, artillery will fall short.
  • The diversion you are ignoring is really the main attack.
  • The important things are always simple – the simple things are hard
  • The easy path is mined.
  • When both sides are convinced they are about to lose, they’re both right.
  • If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will have more than your fair share of objectives to take.


  • Once you win the battle, don’t forget to tell the enemy