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The Impact of Weather Conditions on Amphibious Military Operations

Written by Matteo Zanotti

Amphibious operations are one of the most difficult military operations to plan, organise and conduct efficiently. This difficulty is mainly derived from the great number of details that military strategists must consider when planning an amphibious operation. Moreover, many of these details cannot depend on human intervention and an amphibious operation can do anything apart from adapt to these limits. Weather conditions are one of these details, and they cover a fundamental role in amphibious operations. Sea state, wind, rain or even a sunny day, can heavily affect the conduct of an amphibious operation, both favourably and unfavourably, forcing military strategists to avoid, adapt, or prefer a certain weather condition instead of another one. Weather affects landing operations with amphibious vehicles, air operations, and naval operations in support of the landing troops.

This paper will analyse how weather conditions impact amphibious planning and the conduct of military operations. More precisely, this paper will scrutinize the different components of the broader concept of weather, assessing the impact that these components can have on amphibious warfare. To write this Info Flash, mainly sources coming from the US Marine Corps were taken into consideration, since they regularly publish analyses and studies. However, analysing the American doctrine regarding amphibious operations makes it possible to make similar considerations for the NATO doctrine, since the Alliance’s doctrines are considerably influenced by the US despite not being public knowledge.