Extreme Battlefields


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The world’s strongest armies discover that Nature can be a secret ally or an unbeatable foe. Not even the strongest troops can match the power of nature. In each of the ten stories in this volume, well-armed forces set off to battle human enemies but find themselves fighting the environment instead. Sometimes a leader carefully plans the perfect attack, only to find geography in the way. Other times the climate interferes unexpectedly.

• In 119 BCE, General Wei Qing used a sand storm as cover and was able to attack the Xiongnu nomads by surprise. • Napoleon’s plan to quickly subdue the Russians was foiled by the savage “General Winter.” • A massive network of underground tunnels gave the Viet Cong guerillas an unbeatable advantage over the much stronger American forces. • The battle between India and Pakistan over borders has pitted both countries against the inhospitable Siachen Glacier. Nature’s obstacles have lead to crushing defeats, inspired accidental victories, and encouraged surprising innovation.