Air Battles and Ground Battles --A Common Pattern?

by Robert L. Helmbold

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback15 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Mathematical analysis of historical patterns of behavior exhibited in battles with applications for testing complex land combat games. A relationship between the activity ratio and the initial force ratio has been developed for historical land battles. Statistics are based on a sample of 92 historical land combat battles, most of which took place during the 19th century. Using data on the Battle of Britain (which was fought entirely in the air), it is shown that this battle obeyed the same relation between activity ratio and initial force ratio as did the land battles examined. It is possible that the same pattern of dependency is a general characteristic of all armed combat. On the basis of the data now on hand, it is at least a reasonable hypothesis that should be tested further by the collection and analysis of additional data. If the pattern proves applicable in combat situations, it would be of great importance to the understanding of combat dynamics. 15 pp. Ref. (KB)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.