Attrition: Marines Count Their Lower Losses


November 29,2008: The U.S. Marine Corps 2/7 (2nd battalion of the 7th marine regiment) recently completed a six month tour in Afghanistan. The unit was expecting less action than they experienced in Iraq, but this proved not to be the case. The thousand man battalion suffered 150 casualties, including twenty dead. This was more losses than the 15,000 marines in Iraq suffered during the same period.

But compared to earlier wars, the losses were quite low for the 2/7. During the Vietnam war, the 1/9 (1st battalion of the 9th marines) averaged 93 men killed in combat every six months for the four years the battalion was in Vietnam. Overall, the casualty rate in Iraq was about a third of what they were in Vietnam. And the casualty rate, even recent ones, in Afghanistan have been lower than in Iraq before al Qaeda was defeated last year.

War is still dangerous, especially for the marines, who are primarily infantry (most of their support troops are sailors, including the combat medics attached to each marine unit.) The marines are not only infantry, they are "light infantry" (few armored vehicles), and employ very aggressive tactics. This leads to quicker, and more frequent, battlefield success, but also results in more friendly (and enemy) casualties.



Article Archive

Attrition: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close