Mud: A Military History

Mud: A Military History

by C.E. Wood
     
 

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Napoleon delayed his attack at Waterloo to allow the mud to dry. Had he attacked earlier, he might have defeated Wellington before Blncher arrived. In November 1942, Russian mud stopped the Germans, who could not advance again until the temperature dropped low enough to freeze the mud. During the Vietnam War, ôProject Popeyeö was an American attempt to

Overview

Napoleon delayed his attack at Waterloo to allow the mud to dry. Had he attacked earlier, he might have defeated Wellington before Blncher arrived. In November 1942, Russian mud stopped the Germans, who could not advance again until the temperature dropped low enough to freeze the mud. During the Vietnam War, ôProject Popeyeö was an American attempt to lengthen the monsoon and cause delays on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Soldiers have always known just how significant mud can be in war. But historians have not fully recognized its importance, and few have discussed the phenomenon in more than a passing manner. Only three booksùMilitary Geography (by John Collins), Battling the Elements (by Harold Winters et al.), and Battlegrounds) (edited by Michael Stephenson)ù have addressed it at any length and then only as part of the entire environmentAÆs effect on the battlefield. None of these books analyzed mudAÆs influence on the individual combatant.

Mud: A Military History first defines the substanceAÆs very different types. Then it examines their specific effects on mobility and on soldiers and their equipment over the centuries and throughout the world. From the Russian rasputiza to the Southeast Asian monsoon, C. E. Wood demonstrates mudAÆs profound impact on the course of military history. Citing numerous veteransAÆ memoirs, archival sources, personal interviews, and historical sources, soldier-scholar Wood pays particular attention to mudAÆs effect on combatantsAÆ morale, health, and fatigue. His book is for all infantrymenùpast, present, or the clean, dry, comfortable armchair variety.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“After reading Wood’s enlightening and entertaining observations, chances are good that readers will never look at mud in quite the same way again.”

"C. E. Wood's book is the first examination of mud throughout military history and its importance in battle, from Waterloo to Iraq, as a significant element. . . . This is a fascinating and quick read. Wood does an excellent job putting together anecdotal descriptions of mud and working them into a logical examination of this ever-present obstacle to any army, either on the move or in place. It is a must read for any soldier."

". . . . the role of "General Mud" has not previously received comprehensive treatment in the literature . . . .But Mud: A Military History does take a comprehensive look. And does so in a creative way . . . . this is a good book for anyone interested in military operations."

"Wood's thorough research is commendable. . . .Mud: A Military History is a well-researched and documented work. Its emphasis on the impact of weather on history makes it a useful tool for historians and provides a great background of information that young and noncommissioned officers in today's military can use in building their knowledge in combat operations."

"Veteran footsloggers in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps and their counterparts in foreign countries will recall past struggles with General Mud, and their successors will be better able to cope after they read the real-world experiences in this unique book, which covers every aspect of mud."

"Mud takes a view of a phenomenon that many of today's sophisticated operational planners intuitively know and is something a tactical planner cannot ignore. Given the time, all environmental considerations must be made. Not considering something so commonplace and universially impacting is something any military man understands. This book deserves to be in the library of any military planner."

“C. E. Wood has given us a fascinating treatment of an unsung topic in military history. Great captains inevitably are masters of terrain. How terrain behaves under varying weather conditions is often left unsaid in even the great sagas of victory and defeat. Grit, slime, ooze, slop—by whatever name, mud has left its lasting mark on the great affairs of soldiers in every campaign in every clime through the ages.”

Col. John M. Collins

"Veteran footsloggers in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps and their counterparts in foreign countries will recall past struggles with General Mud, and their successors will be better able to cope after they read the real-world experiences in this unique book, which covers every aspect of mud."—Col. John M. Collins, USA (Ret.), author of Military Geography: For Professionals and the Public
Army

"C. E. Wood's book is the first examination of mud throughout military history and its importance in battle, from Waterloo to Iraq, as a significant element. . . . This is a fascinating and quick read. Wood does an excellent job putting together anecdotal descriptions of mud and working them into a logical examination of this ever-present obstacle to any army, either on the move or in place. It is a must read for any soldier."—Army
Alfred M. Beck

“C. E. Wood has given us a fascinating treatment of an unsung topic in military history. Great captains inevitably are masters of terrain. How terrain behaves under varying weather conditions is often left unsaid in even the great sagas of victory and defeat. Grit, slime, ooze, slop—by whatever name, mud has left its lasting mark on the great affairs of soldiers in every campaign in every clime through the ages.”—Alfred M. Beck, author of The Corps of Engineers: The War Against Germany
WWII History

“After reading Wood’s enlightening and entertaining observations, chances are good that readers will never look at mud in quite the same way again.”—WWII History
Col. Eddie S. Ray

"Mud takes a view of a phenomenon that many of today's sophisticated operational planners intuitively know and is something a tactical planner cannot ignore. Given the time, all environmental considerations must be made. Not considering something so commonplace and universially impacting is something any military man understands. This book deserves to be in the library of any military planner."—Col. Eddie S. Ray, USMC, Ground Combat Element Branch; Plans, Policies, and Programs; Headquarters Marine Corps
NYMAS Review

"The role of "General Mud" has not previously received comprehensive treatment in the literature . . . .But Mud: A Military History does take a comprehensive look. And does so in a creative way . . . . this is a good book for anyone interested in military operations."—NYMAS Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781612343310
Publisher:
Potomac Books Inc.
Publication date:
08/31/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
969,695
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

C.E. Wood has a doctorate in history and a master’s in geography. He teaches history at Glenville (West Virginia) State College. A former Marine and soldier, he lives near Clarksburg, West Virginia.

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