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Will the side with the fanciest uniform win?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: December 20, 2012 
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Dear Military History Professor,

Years ago I read of a law or effect which stated that the side with the fancier uniform will more than likely lose the war.  It sounds so counter intuitive  but thinking back of all the conflicts which I can recall that "law" seems to be correct.   I can't remember the name of that statement and it had a central European name attached to it …   Also, the fanciness of the uniforms generally related to the officers and not necessarily to the enlisted …

Do you recall such an idea?


Hermann F. Kuebitz  HMC(SW), USN Ret.

? ? ?

Dear Mr. Kuebitz,

I don't recall ever hearing about "the side with the fancier uniform will more than likely lose the war." I do recall a standing corollary of Murphy's Law for Grunts during my Army National Guard days that may date at least as far back as the Vietnam War:

"All other things being equal, the side with the simplest uniforms wins."

Some Marine attributed the quotation to Major Mark Cancian, but I'm sure it predates him.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
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