The Alpini Effect: Why the US Army Should Train Units for Mountain Warfare
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The purpose of this monograph is to provide an analysis of why the US Army should designate active duty units to organize, equip, and train for mountain warfare. With over 35 of land mass and 85 of land borders in the world categorized as mountainous, there is a likelihood that the US Army will be fighting in mountainous terrain in future conflicts. Mountain warfare is complex and has many interdependent factors found in its peculiar characteristics and operational effects, more so than other specialized forms of warfare in jungle and desert terrain. These peculiar characteristics of mountainous terrain include the effects of weather, effects on personnel, and effects on weapons and equipment. The operational effects of mountainous terrain limit operational reach, constrain lines of operations, and complicate mission command. The combination of complexity, peculiar characteristics, and operational effects requires a significant amount of time for unit leadership and soldiers to learn in order to operate and fight effectively in a mountainous environment as a combined arms team. This was evidenced by the success of the US Armys 10th Mountain Division in Italy at Riva Ridge in 1945 and the failure of the Indian 4th Infantry Division against the Peoples Liberation Army of China in northeastern India in 1962.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics