War by Numbers


War by Numbers

Understanding Conventional Combat

Christopher A. Lawrence

390 pages
218 tables, 1 chart, 49 graphs


August 2017


$39.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

August 2017


$39.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

August 2017


$39.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

War by Numbers assesses the nature of conventional warfare through the analysis of historical combat. Christopher A. Lawrence establishes what we know about conventional combat and why we know it. By demonstrating the impact a variety of factors have on combat he moves such analysis beyond the work of Carl von Clausewitz and into modern data and interpretation.

Using vast data sets, Lawrence examines force ratios, the human factor in case studies from World War II and beyond, the combat value of superior situational awareness, and the effects of dispersion, among other elements. Lawrence challenges existing interpretations of conventional warfare and shows how such combat should be conducted in the future, simultaneously broadening our understanding of what it means to fight wars by the numbers.

Author Bio

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst and has participated in studies for the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the U.S. Air Force. He is the executive director and president of the Dupuy Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict. Lawrence is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka and America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam.


"There are "lies, damned lies, and statistics," according to the former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Christopher A. Lawrence's War by Numbers continues that truth with an analysis of how the Dupuy Institute's selectively collected database of military battles conforms with commonly held beliefs about warfare, and examines how statistics do or don't support what might or might not be lies."—Ching Wah Chin, Strategy Page

War by Numbers takes the study of military history out of the realm of storytelling and simplistic interpretation into a realm of systematic and impartial analysis of available recorded data. This is an essential book for the theorist, the analyst, the war planner, and the war fighter.”—Maj. Gen. Nicholas Krawciw, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Table of Contents

1. Understanding War 
2. Force Ratios
3. Attacker versus Defender
4. Human Factors 
5. Measuring Human Factors in Combat: Italy 1943–1944
6. Measuring Human Factors in Combat: Ardennes and Kursk, July 1943
7. Measuring Human Factors in Combat: Modern Wars
8. Outcome of Battles
9. Exchange Ratios 
10. The Combat Value of Superior Situational Awareness 
11. The Combat Value of Surprise 
12. The Nature of Lower Levels of Combat 
13. The Effects of Dispersion on Combat
14. Advance Rates
15. Casualties 
16. Urban Legends
17. The Use of Case Studies
18. Modeling Warfare 
19. Validation of the TNDM 
20. Conclusions
Appendix 1: Dupuy’s Timeless Verities of Combat
Appendix 2: Dupuy’s Combat Advance Rate Verities 
Appendix 3: Dupuy’s Combat Attrition Verities