In This Review

Battling the Elements: Weather and Terrain in the Conduct of War
Battling the Elements: Weather and Terrain in the Conduct of War
Edited by Harold A. Winters
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998, 336 pp

A remarkable guide to nature's effects on the conduct of military operations. Even in the age of precision-guided weapons and amazingly powerful sensors, the elements get in the way: most recently, NATO pilots attacking Serb targets last spring found that bad weather thwarted their effort for days at a time. Written by a professional geographer in collaboration with several senior military officers, this work uses cases from the Napoleonic wars to the present to illustrate the effects of clouds, glacial deposits, coastal tides, and triple-canopy jungle on tactics. Accessible to the layman but still of considerable utility for the expert, this book belongs on the shelf of any serious student of military affairs.