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Senior Chief Moderator Staff
Posts: 633
(5/24/01 8:40:01 am)
Reply | Edit | Del All Weather and War...
One recurring theme I've noticed in all my years of reading of various campaigns, and it doesn't seem to matter when, whether Valley Forge, or Napoleon in Russia, or the Winter of '41-42 in Russia, or at the Chosin, and in a myriad of campaigns in between, is the weather.

I've read so many times that "this (winter, rainy season, rapustista, typhoon season, summer, etc.) was the (coldest, wettest, dryest, roughest) in over (20,50,100) years."

So much so I've begun thinking it might make a good topic to research for a book.

I already have a name, "General Mud - Marshal Winter," but I'm still just thinking about it...

Has anybody out there noticed the same thing, and do you think it is worth my time to research it?

Any examples and suggestions would also be appreciated.

And also if you know if it's been done before, I still haven't seen it yet...

Posts: 316
(5/24/01 9:04:56 am)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Weather and War...
Great idea Polish! Think of the risk Ike took to launch an invasion of Europe during the short break in bad weather when the tide and weather made it risky but possible to land in Normandy. How the returning storms broke up the Mulberrys and artifical breakwaters and made supply nearly impossible.

From spears to spearheads, weather has been a critical factor every war man has ever fought! "The fog of war" has frequently been literal!

When you write it, I'll buy it!

Senior Chief Moderator Staff
Posts: 643
(5/25/01 10:51:32 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Weather and War...
I'm wondering if there is some "cosmic connection." Like maybe God is punishing man for warfare?

It just seems to me too coincidental that Hitler invades Russia in 41, and that next Winter is harsher than usual, and then the winter of 44-45 in the Ardennes was "colder and snowier than any in the last 50 years."

The Typhoon Season in the Pacific, especially when the Indianapolis went down- "worst ever."

Chosin? "Colder, more snow than usual."

Maybe it's just fertile minds remembering being OUT in it, and embellishing, but maybe not...

Posts: 207
(5/26/01 8:31:48 am)
Reply | Edit | Del quibbling
Indianapolis was torpedoed some eight months after the Great Typhoon, which damaged just about everything afloat but sank "only" three destroyers.

Seems to me that Washington's attack on Trenton was pure desperation, and that the last place Napoleon wanted to be was in the snow -- the last place except for a burnt-out, cleaned-out Moscow. Stone's River may be an exception -- like Burnside's mudslog -- but it may be a general rule that before the Great War armies avoided winter fighting whenever they could because they simply couldn't cope with the logistics problems.

Posts: 326
(5/26/01 8:32:12 am)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Weather and War...
That could be a brilliant chapter for your book.

Frankly, I think it's mostly psychological.

"The coldest winter ever"......well, if your previous experiences with winter were warm & snug in a house, and now you're lying in a foxhole with a foot of snow on your helmet.....or marching single file with a rifle, a pack, and rags wrapped around your feet......or trying to warm short rations over a small fire out in the open......or your former house is now a pile of rubble and there's no food for your children....multiply those memories times several hundred thousand people, and you've got "the coldest winter ever".

The "Great Pacific Typhoon" was a bad 'un.....but probably no worse than the "really big ones" that occur every 2 or 3 years in remote areas of the Pacific Ocean, but this time there happened to be a US Fleet in the way.....and a lot of people to see it.

Start writing!

Posts: 381
(5/26/01 11:53:17 am)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Weather and War...
I think the military commanders always play up the weather conditions to alibi for shortcomings of their planning. Always remember, what's bad for one side is usually good for the other. One commander bitches and carps about inclement conditions, the opposite commander is praying for the conditions to continue. It all depends on your point of view.

Weather is always going to be dominent when conducting activities in it - too hot - too cold; too wet - too dry; too clear - too cloudy; too light - too dark.

No matter where armed forces members serve, the weather is always in it's extreme conditions for that point in time. As with others here on the board, I've served in climatic conditions that I personally thought were the worst on record!

I believe your research will prove this out Polish - but, it still makes a good topic and an approach to warfare that hasn't been explored publicly, to my knowledge.
Keep off the Ridgeline!!
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