Force ratio compares the relative strength of two sides in an armed conflict.


(1) total enemy combat power

(2) total friendly forces combat power


force factor =

= (enemy power) / (friendly forces power)


Determinants of power:

(1) number of soldiers

(2) quality of soldiers

(3) force multipliers (factors that increase or decrease the impact of a soldier)


The force is affected by the space over which the conflict is occurring. It is possible to concentrate a force at a single point to overwhelm the enemy (local superiority). If a series of such encounters are done rapidly, then the enemy is "defeated in detail." The downside is that it weakens the number of troops at other points.


In general, offensive operations require more power than defensive ones.


Action By Friendly Force

Force Ratio



defend fortified defense


flank counterattack


attacking prepared defense


Table 9-2. Army Field Manual (2016).

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