Supporting tail, tooth of tail


Senior Member
Ciao a tutti, ho dei problemi con questa espressione:

Each contingent will have its own supporting tail, thereby making the ' tooth of tail ' ratio for the same number of men in a not very efficent way.

My attempt:

Ogni contingente avrà la sua coda di supporto ???, facendo perciò ?????? in un modo non molto efficiente.

Grazie a tutti dell'aiuto!
  • TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    It's "tooth-to-tail ratio" -- and it might help to understand what it means in English first. Here's one explanation:

    The "tail-to-tooth" ratio is a favorite measure of the Marine Corps. It defines teeth as whatever delivers combat power. Tail is everything else, such as support staffs and the Pentagon-based command. The corporate tail-to-tooth ratio, which I have been watching for more than 20 years, is defined as the cost of sales, general and administrative expenses to the cost of goods sold. It can give you a good idea how much overhead (which economists define as "transaction costs") is necessary to support the delivery of a dollar's worth of goods and services.



    Senior Member
    English (AmE)
    Tooth-of-tail ratio is used with reference to a business organization, army etc., defining the percentage of support people (tail) to the people doing the main work (the tooth). In the case of an army, the combat troops are the tooth, whereas the supply/medical/transportation etc. troops are the tail. Having said that, I don't know if this expression is used as is in Italian, as are some other business terms.

    PS: Oops, sorry Elisabetta, we must have been typing at the same time!