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Thread: Did the weather influence many battles?

  1. #1
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    Default Did the weather influence many battles?

    Most of us know that the weather played a role in the outcome of certain battles. My first thought is of Moscow, when Guderian's Army was only about 20 miles away before the onset of winter weather stopped them in their tracks. And then in Dec. 16, 1944 with Hitler's Ardennes Counteroffensive. Initially the poor weather worked to the Nazis advantage by grounding the Allies' aircraft.
    My question is this, can anyone think of other instances where the weather affected the outcome of a major battle?
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    Default Re: Did the weather influence many battles?

    It was not solely the weather that stopped the Germans, they had outrun their manpower and supplies even if the weather had remained fair. Many units were well below strength in manpower and equipment, the vehicles were worn out by the long distances involved and the Germans were heavily reliant on captured Soviet railway infrastructure (which was pretty poor even at its best in 1941) to move its rear echelons and supplys forward. Many units resorted to canabalisation (despite being forbidden) in order to keep part of its equipment and vehicle fleet operational.

    Would you class the late thaw in the east in 1941 which prevented the Germans to a great extent from launching Barbarossa in May 1941 - it delayed the operation by 4 weeks at least and it started 6 weeks later than originally planned. This had quite a knock on effect.

    Riechwald forest battles in 1945 were heavily influenced in the planning stages for different weather conditions - Ice and snow with a potential for a thaw.

    http://www.royaltankregiment.com/9_R...d%20Report.htm

    Operation Market Garden with fog closing down air drops preventing the heavy equipment (particularly artillery) and all infantry units arriving on time to be of any use in the battle.

    D Day with the storm destroying the Omaha Mulberry harbour (short cuts in anchorages and infill in some cassions did not help with the storm) and damaging the one at Arromanches - slowed the unloading of supplies and forced much more men and materiel to be landed 'over the beach' which impacted the build up for when the forces eventually broke out (coupled with a failure to capture an adequate working port).

    The Winter War - Soviet Union invading Finland - although the Finns eventually were forced to the table and give in to Soviet demands it inflicted huge losses on a much more powerful but inadequately trained force.
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    Default Re: Did the weather influence many battles?

    Those are good examples Leccy. That's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Did the weather influence many battles?

    Not major battles, but major events affected by weather.

    Kokura was the secondary target if Hiroshima hadn't had clear weather.

    Kokura was the primary target but saved by cloud cover on what became the Nagasaki bombing.

    (The reverse of this is a Nagasaki resident who fled home from Hiroshima after it was bombed, just in time to become perhaps the only person to experience the only two atomic bombs dropped in anger.)
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    Default Re: Did the weather influence many battles?

    Good point Rising Sun. I hadn't even considered that. It's another great example.

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    Default Re: Did the weather influence many battles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Not major battles, but major events affected by weather.

    Kokura was the secondary target if Hiroshima hadn't had clear weather.

    Kokura was the primary target but saved by cloud cover on what became the Nagasaki bombing.

    (The reverse of this is a Nagasaki resident who fled home from Hiroshima after it was bombed, just in time to become perhaps the only person to experience the only two atomic bombs dropped in anger.)
    It was the same with Okinawa. The weather was good for the early part of the battle, but as time progressed and the rains came I am sure the weather made the fighting more difficult, causing many problems and affecting normal operations in all kinds of ways.

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    Default Re: Did the weather influence many battles?

    Weather probably had a more immediate and greater effect on naval battles.

    I can't recall which one(s), but I think one or more major WWII naval battles or losses, or avoided battle or loss, flowed from local weather conditions.

    I can't pin it down in my ancient brain, but I think that at least one major naval battle or capital ship loss in WWII was the result of a sudden clearing of clouds which exposed the enemy (which, somewhat confusingly, I identify as maybe a British capital ship; and or a Japanese one; and, maybe maybe, a German one) to successful air attack.

    Typhoons sunk at least three US destroyers in the Pacific War http://www.history.navy.mil/research...mber-1944.html and sundry ships soon after the end of that war http://www.history.navy.mil/research...ober-1945.html
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    Default Re: Did the weather influence many battles?

    The way I heard it conforms to what is written here.The “regular” Shermans being produced were allocated to the US army and LL with the Marines scheduled to pick up later batches. The M4A2 could be picked up straight away. Wanting tanks straight away rather then later the USMC picked them up. The diesel fuel was nice but didn’t the USMC stop using diesel Shermans late in the war? So it was probably not their prime motivator in getting the M4a2.

    Oh, and the Red Headed Stepchild comment rings true to me. Guess what, the USMC budget comes out of the budget for the Navy, who kinda like their money to go to ships and maybe planes once Billy Mitchell was finally vindicated. “Marines make do” is almost as much their motto as “Semper Fidelis”. That is not an accident.

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    Default Re: Did the weather influence many battles?

    The Battle of Saratoga during the American War of Independence is one of many battles where meteorological factors played a role. In any case, the British forces under Burgoyne were certainly doomed there as they were cut off and outnumbered by the Continental Army and various militias. But the extreme, I presume almost record heat nearing 100F of late September in the opening skirmishes (along with high humidity) probably devastated the British as they always wore their heavy wool uniforms despite conditions whereas the Americans removed their coats wearing only their undershirts. This prevented a speedy British victory and led to the battle becoming one of attrition that the Americans could win. I don't this is solely why the Americans won, they had overwhelming numbers against a dispirited, exhausted force. But it certainly led to the relatively speedy final collapse of the British Army there...

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    Default Re: Did the weather influence many battles?

    It would depend on how far back one wishes to go: Henry V at Agincourt, Napoleon and the retreat from Moscow, for instance. Up until recent times, campaigns usually ran from late Spring to early Autumn. There were several reasons for this e.g. transport and communications using horse drawn vehicles, and the ability to forage for food.

    In WWII the monsoon/rainy season was an impediment to operations, again, for supply reasons i.e. transport and communications. However, with the assistance of the U.S.A.A.F., the defeat of the Japanese Ha-Go offensive in the Arakan (Battle of the Admin Box), and the subsequent attempted Japanese invasion of India (U-Go offensive - Imphal and Kohima), Slim was not only able to immediately counter attack, but was also able to continue through the monsoon. Consequently, the Japanese were never allowed to regroup and were, in effect, annihilated.
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 09-30-2016 at 04:46 PM.


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