Marine experiment finds women get injured more frequently, shoot less accurately than men

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

The Marine Corps recently finished a nine-month long experiment at both Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Twentynine Palms, California, to assess how female service members perform in combat:

It found that all-male squads, teams and crews demonstrated better performance on 93 of 134 tasks evaluated (69 percent) than units with women in them. Units comprising all men also were faster than units with women while completing tactical movements in combat situations, especially in units with large “crew-served” weapons like heavy machine guns and mortars, the study found.

Infantry squads comprising men only also had better accuracy than squads with women in them, with “a notable difference between genders for every individual weapons system” used by infantry rifleman units. They include the M4 carbine, the M27 infantry automatic rifle (IAR) and the M203, a single-shot grenade launcher mounted to rifles, the study found.

The research also found that male Marines who have not received infantry training were still more accurate using firearms than women who have. And in removing wounded troops from the battlefield, there “were notable differences in execution times between all-male and gender-integrated groups,” with the exception being when a single person — ”most often a male Marine” — carried someone away, the study found.


The gender-integrated unit’s assessment also found that 40.5 percent of women participating suffered some form of musculoskeletal injury, while 18.8 percent of men did. Twenty-one women lost time in the unit due to injuries, 19 of whom suffered injuries to their lower extremities. Of those, 16 women were injured while while carrying heavy loads in an organized movement, like a march, the study found.

(This is old news, but I stumbled across it again.)


  1. Kirk says:

    Nothing that’s not common sense, either–At least among those who’ve actually spent time underneath a ruck and carrying a rifle.

    Combat is a young man’s game, and the bigger and more fit that young man is, the better the odds of victory and his survival. Putting women into direct-combat-probability jobs makes about as much sense as hobbling your football team before the Super Bowl.

    Common-sense facts that only the intellectuals and theorists of the world would even attempt to refute. It’s actually a mark of how ‘effing stupid in practical terms that these people are that they’d even make the Marines run those tests.

    And, it leaves entirely aside the question of long-term health issues for the women involved. Anecdotal evidence I witnessed as a senior NCO in the Army leads me to believe that the attempt to integrate the average US female who actually has a propensity to enlist (the vast majority of which sure as hell ain’t in the 95th percentile where they’d be physically as capable as their male peers…) is going to suffer disproportionate long-term damage to their health and fitness. Little things, ya know, like blown-out knees and hips, significant musculo-skeletal injuries, and all the rest of the issues they encounter at a disproportionate rate.

    They badly need to do some long-term longitudinal studies on these things, and figure out of putting women into the combat arms is even sensible with the ones who can do the jobs… Women’s bodies simply are not the same as men’s, and sticking them into positions that are inherently designed around male capabilities and strengths is just plain stupid. We are a sexually dimorphic species, and trying to just hand-wave that away is incredibly, incredibly stupid.

    There’s probably a reason we can only point to a couple of actual historical cases where women were used as front-line combatants, and why the societies that used them aren’t around anymore to pass on their rather questionable “wisdom”.

  2. Kirk says:

    Thought about this issue, a bit more, and suffered a bit of an epiphany: The problem here is that we’re trying to get girls to wage war the same way the boys do, and that’s a non-starter because physiology of sexually dimorphic species.

    Sooo… Maybe the solution is that we should use the girls in a different mode of warfare. One fully in keeping with their physical capabilities, capacities, and inherent natures.

    How has that been done, historically? Has it actually been done, and was it at all effective?

    Historical research points to a couple of areas where women were really effective: Espionage and covert guerrilla warfare. See the OSS and SOE efforts in Northern Europe, and the Vietnamese in Southeast Asia.

    You’ll note that neither the SOE, OSS, or Vietnamese utilized women as front-line combatants like machine-gun crews or playing Sergeant Rock-like heroics. They were suborning the enemy, inveigling secrets from them in sexual encounters, and playing Mata Hari…

    Soooo… Maybe we should instead be recruiting women to serve in these roles, instead of infantry, artillery, and so forth. Play to their strengths, not their weaknesses. After all, what red-blooded jihadi hasn’t had dreams of his very own All-American blonde cheerleader as a sex slave…? Train the girls to infiltrate, and slice throats late at night. Make our model of feminine warriordom the Biblical archetypes of Judith (who slew Holoferne…) and Delilah (who did for Samson…).

    Oh. That’s not what the girls want? That’s not what would be politically correct, to suggest that they work as deep penetration (see what I did there…?) agents behind enemy lines, slaughtering them in their sleep, at their most intimate moments…?

    Oh, well. I tried. I guess we’ll just have to accept that 15% of our forces are going to be 90% of our business at the VA in a few years, and for about half to a third the service time we’re getting now from the boys…

  3. Charles W. Abbott says:

    The “Ex-Army” blog (“Libertarian, Nationalist”) went off-line some time ago. Not my cup of tea, but a loss nonetheless.

    The Ex-Army blogger had one pithy blog entry in which he essentially asserted that “soldiers carry things.” The essence of a combat soldier is to carry heavy stuff, sometimes for long distances, and also to move it around (imagine unloading artillery shells). Thus men are better qualified for it. If the median soldier can’t carry all his or her own stuff, that soldier is a weak link, because someone else will have to do it. Therefore, the use of women in combat infantry is contraindicated.

    That is a hypothesis, but it suggests things to look for.

    My impression of successful women in combat roles tends to put them in situations such as sniping and driving — roles that may involve privation (cold, hunger) and boredom, but not upper body strength.

    My sense is that women were used successfully in those roles in World War Two in Soviet Russia and Yugoslavia. In both those settings the women may have been fighting off perceived invaders rather than serving in expeditionary forces far from their home.

    One is also tempted to ask “What do the Israeli Defense Forces do?” They draft everyone. What roles do they include or exclude women for?

  4. David Foster says:

    The Russian combat pilot Anna Timofeeva-Egorova mentioned in her memoirs that local girls were employed as armorers, which involved lifting heavy objects, and that many of these women had long-term health problems as a result.

    I reviewed her memoirs here.

  5. Isegoria says:

    I remember that piece:

    During the Second World War, a number of Soviet women served as night bomber pilots, flying the obsolescent Polikarpov biplane. A favorite tactic was to cut the engine and glide down almost noiselessly to the bomb-release point, and these flyers were known to the Germans as the “Night Witches.”

  6. Redan says:

    Finland has second thoughts about its women soldiers

    In other words, Finland needs the OPM to spend on migrants, so this particular social justice experiment is no longer affordable.

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