Battle Humidity to Avoid Cold Feet

23 10 2012

By Major Per Kristian Dahl, Centre of Excellence for Cold Weather Operations (Norway)

Throughout the centuries battles and wars have been lost because of bad weather conditions. One of the most famous ones is Napoleon’s campaign against Russia in 1812. You have most certainly heard stories from World War I and the problem the soldiers faced in the trenches getting immersion foot (trench foot). This is for many a distant problem ignorant to the fact that this also was a problem for soldiers during the Falklands War and still is especially for units operating in littoral waters. This short introduction in history points out some lessons to be learned. First of all; cold weather is more than low temperatures and includes humidity as well.Secondly; the weather conditions will recur and affect future operations as well.

Cold feet feels devastating for many soldiers since it creates more concern, reduces the motivation and combat readiness more than anything else. I have taught some lessons throughout the years, which I will share with you in this article. I will bring you through a short introduction to the multilayer system. Then the article will focus on three faces; preparations before operations, routines during activity and routines in bivouac.

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