Jump to content
Thunder?
Local
Radar
Hot?
IGNORED

War And Peace! And The Weather


donvanallen

Recommended Posts

Posted
  • Location: Newcastle upon tyne
  • Location: Newcastle upon tyne

I wonder how many of you can think of when the weather has played a huge part in the outcome of history or a battle! That would have such a huge bearing on europe or the world for that matter! Some times a low pressure system or a high may have meant the difference between me writing this thread on net weather and not existing at all!

Here is one instance, I think I am right in saying that everyone must have heard of the battle of Waterloo, between Napoleons French against the allied forces of Great Britain, Prussia, and Holland

The night before the battle of Waterloo had been one of very heavy rain, which is probably typical in Belgium in mid June, as the troops in Flanders during the First world war would testify! All night long it fell, but by dawn it had all but cleared leaving the ground of battle a very soggy mess.

Napoleon had planned to open the battle at around 9:30am, with his usual "Grande Battery" of cannon fire, but owing to the terrible state of the ground he delayed the opening of the battle for better ground on which to manoeuvre his cannon. The weather now was sunny and breezy but the ground was slow to dry!

The battle of Waterloo commenced at 11:30 on 18th June 1815. A battle that Napoleon was always going to lose once he had lost so much time in the morning.

The key to the battle being the Prussian army who the day before had been sent in retreat by Napoleons forces. Had Napoleon been able to start the battle at 9:30am the Prussian army which came to the British and the Duke of Wellingtons aid at around 7:30 pm, would never have made the field in daylight hours, so without there aid the Allies would have lost the battle of Waterloo!!

So good old mother nature played a huge part in me writing this peace in English :D instead of French.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 21
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted
  • Location: Norton, Stockton-on-Tees
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and cold in winter, warm and sunny in summer
  • Location: Norton, Stockton-on-Tees

Hitlers campaign against Russia also suffered because of the weather. He took the decision to invade in June 1941 on the advice from his meteorologist who, not very scientifically, deemed that Russia had experienced 2 consecutive harsh winters and was unlikely to sustain a third.

Hitler believed that Russia would offer little resistance and hoped to be successful by November.

Initially the Russian resistance was far in excess of anything the Germans had anticipated. Then the winter of 1941/42 was one of the worst ever in Russia and millions of Germans died as a direct result of it. Hitler was forced to hold position and basically wait out the winter.

Come the Spring, the German forces were very depleted and unable to win over the determined Russians. Hitler eventually withdrew from Russia on the 31st January 1943 following another very cold start to that particular winter.

It is probably fair to say that had the winter of 1941/42 not been a harsh one then I would be typing this im Deutsch instead of English :D !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

D-Day

This was postponed due to bad weather and they only just managed to get sufficient stores etc on land before the next storm did serious damage to the Mulberry harbour they erected.

The D-Day landing forecast was given by Group Captain Stagg from the UK Met Office. It seems that 'Ike preferred him to his own countrmen!

How Stagg managed to get a forecast correct in 1945 for 2-3 days ahead with the very limited data and forecast ability in those days has always been a source of wonder to me. I suspect, although he never admitted it even within the Met Office, that a certain amount of luck went with it.

regards

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Newcastle upon tyne
  • Location: Newcastle upon tyne
Hitlers campaign against Russia also suffered because of the weather. He took the decision to invade in June 1941 on the advice from his meteorologist who, not very scientifically, deemed that Russia had experienced 2 consecutive harsh winters and was unlikely to sustain a third.

Hitler believed that Russia would offer little resistance and hoped to be successful by November.

Initially the Russian resistance was far in excess of anything the Germans had anticipated. Then the winter of 1941/42 was one of the worst ever in Russia and millions of Germans died as a direct result of it. Hitler was forced to hold position and basically wait out the winter.

Come the Spring, the German forces were very depleted and unable to win over the determined Russians. Hitler eventually withdrew from Russia on the 31st January 1943 following another very cold start to that particular winter.

It is probably fair to say that had the winter of 1941/42 not been a harsh one then I would be typing this im Deutsch instead of English :lol: !

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Very true Anti Mild, Russia has always been a very difficult county to invade with any sort of success owing to the harsh winters and indeed hot summers! Take Napoleons disastrous campaign in 1812, when he lead an army of nearly half a million into Russia and on to Moscow! only to lose up to 80% of those men on the terrible retreat, when most of the poor souls froze to death in the freezing weather as day time temps plunged down at times to -27.

Regards: Don :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

We had a discussion about this on UKWW early last year.

Here's what we found

55 BC:

Julius Caesar's first invasion of Britain possibly stopped by strong north-west winds in the English channel

1588AD:

Spanish Armada defeated by unseasonable storms in British and european waters. Storms said to be as much of an enemy as the British Navy were. (www.booty.demon.co.uk/climate/1500_1599.htm)

1854AD:

Crimean War: Fog helped Russians and the Allies. Russians could 'hide' their tropps in the fog. Allies did not know they were outnumbered which kept morale up which gave them time until the French arrived. Also, an intense storm caused heavy loss and damage for the Allies and slight damage for the Russians. Led to significant progression in sypnotic forecasting to ensure this did not happen again. (Lindgren S, Neumann J, "Bulletin of the American Metrological Society", vol 61, Issue 12, pp1570-1648, pub 12/1980)

12 February 1916: German 5th Army was ready to launch an offensive at Verdun against the French but a severe blizzard delayed the assault. The leeway for the French gave chance for them to strengthen their defenses. The delay lasted 9 days by which time the French were prepared. If the blizzard had not occurred and the offensive took place on the 12th, there was a very strong possibility of a major Germany victory at Verdun

27th May - 4th June 1940: Operation Dynamo: 338,226 Allied troops were rescued from the Dunkirk beaches by a fleet of boats and ships of all sizes. This was accomplished because of Hitler's blundering in letting the Luftwaffe finish of the resistance in Dunkirk instead of the army and also the calm weather due to high pressure. The seas were flat and this enabled the flotilla to come very close to the beach. If the weather had been as bad as it was just before D-day, there would have been little hope for the Allied troops, Hitler would have to use the army and not the airforce to finish of the resistance and the flottila especially the "little ships" would have struggled in the choppy seas. There would have been no as Churchill put it "their finest hour"

1941: Pearl Harbour

Japnese fleet used a weather front and the poor visibilty to help obscure their approach to the Hawaiian Islands.

1944: Battle of the Bulge

German commanders used the snowfalls as a cover to launch the attack as the weather help to neutralise the Allies control of airspace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
Posted
  • Location: Newcastle upon tyne
  • Location: Newcastle upon tyne

18th June 1815... 190th Anniversary of the battle of Waterloo!!

Weather today 190 years ago heavy rain which cleared to showery outbursts!!

Weather 2005 at Waterloo warm sunny spells drying ground... Napoleon would have loved todays forecast!! ah well such is the fickle fate of history!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts

Further afield, hurricanes have played a large part in affecting several battles (both sea and land) fought in the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries....

In addition, military campaigns were actually planned so as to avoid this season, thus giving a respite period for many islands from fighting. Obviously this also affected trade too, so the slave and sugar trades were almost totally halted during the summer months (no bad thing for the poor slaves!)

I think in any time gone past (or indeed today: elements of the Iraq war have been brought to a standstill by sandstorms and strong winds), the weather would have played a crucial role in almost all battles fought. Men did not fight so well if the land was muddy, cavalry couldn't work on sodden ground, visibility could be affected by mist and low cloud, and cannon and guns would not have operated nearly so well (in fact would have been almost impossible to use) in damp or wet conditions due to the risk of the gunpowder getting wet.

However, in contrast, knowledge of local weather patterns or effects (e.g. river high water marks, marshy ground, etc, etc) could give one side the extra elemant of luck needed to win a battle, all other factors being equal.

Of course, when you get to sea battles the odds become even more dangerous, with strong storms or cross winds making it almost impossible to form a line or gain the best fighting position, as was seen in the case of the Spanish Armada, whose ships were forced to attempt to run before the wind with many being smashed to pieces on the rocks of northern Britain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Posted
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine and 15-25c
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)

wot about the kamikaze "divine wind" that destroyed the mongol invasion fleet of japan in 1281..a typhoon struct the invading fleet of kulbai khan and saved japan from destruction by the mongols.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a thunderstorm last year, it's timing was impeccable as it stopped an argument between the bloke over the road and his naughty neighbour.

We all breathed a sigh of relief, it was touch and go for quite some time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine and 15-25c
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
Hitlers campaign against Russia also suffered because of the weather. He took the decision to invade in June 1941 on the advice from his meteorologist who, not very scientifically, deemed that Russia had experienced 2 consecutive harsh winters and was unlikely to sustain a third.

Hitler believed that Russia would offer little resistance and hoped to be successful by November.

Initially the Russian resistance was far in excess of anything the Germans had anticipated. Then the winter of 1941/42 was one of the worst ever in Russia and millions of Germans died as a direct result of it. Hitler was forced to hold position and basically wait out the winter.

Come the Spring, the German forces were very depleted and unable to win over the determined Russians. Hitler eventually withdrew from Russia on the 31st January 1943 following another very cold start to that particular winter.

It is probably fair to say that had the winter of 1941/42 not been a harsh one then I would be typing this im Deutsch instead of English :) !

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

thats not entirely correct..it was the autumn rains that stopped the german drive on moscow...the fact that the germans hadnt been equipped with winter clothing was more to do with negelgence and the expectency of a german victory before winter, this was more telling than the actual weather conditions ( although extemely cold).

The germans did not withdraw from russia on 31st jan 1943 (where that came from i have no idea?) their eventual retreat had nothing to do with weather conditions, but the ever growing strength of the red army.

what is interesting is that a switch in weather conditions at the end of jan 1945 probably prolonged the war in europe by 3 months, jan had been very cold in europe then literally overnight 31/1st feb 1945 there was a massive thaw which stalled the russian attack on berlin at a piont when the red army was only 50km from the city and poised to strike.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
Roo wasn't it Southern England, and not Northern england with the Armada? :)   or was there more than one attempt?  :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

yep....they tried to land in southern england, but then when the weather came in a lot of the fleet got washed/ran in front of the storm up to as far as Scotland and Ireland before some were smashed to smithereens....

In the scale of a naval battle, travelling the length of britain to try and out run a storm wasn't unusual....amazing really!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/state/monarch...armada_05.shtml

Edited by Roo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: south wales
  • Location: south wales
yep....they tried to land in southern england, but then when the weather came in a lot of the fleet got washed/ran in front of the storm up to as far as Scotland and Ireland before some were smashed to smithereens....

In the scale of a naval battle, travelling the length of britain to try and out run a storm wasn't unusual....amazing really!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/state/monarch...armada_05.shtml

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Cheers Roo that is so interesting, here I go again lol must find out more- I will wear my eyes out with all this reading soon :):):)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...
We had a discussion about this on UKWW early last year.

Here's what we found

27th May - 4th June 1940: Operation Dynamo: 338,226 Allied troops were rescued from the Dunkirk beaches by a fleet of boats and ships of all sizes. This was accomplished because of Hitler's blundering in letting the Luftwaffe finish of the resistance in Dunkirk instead of the army and also the calm weather due to high pressure. The seas were flat and this enabled the flotilla to come very close to the beach. If the weather had been as bad as it was just before D-day, there would have been little hope for the Allied troops, Hitler would have to use the army and not the airforce to finish of the resistance and the flottila especially the "little ships" would have struggled in the choppy seas. There would have been no as Churchill put it "their finest hour"

Thanks for that information. I was wondering how unlikely it was that the channel seas would be calm [enough for small boats] during the summer of 1940...or any other summer in the channel. Can any one answer this?

Later that year , weather would also intervene in the war. The german planning for invasion of britain was to be devolved into converted river barges to transport some of the troops, weapons and supplies across the Channel to England. But these barges were considered only good enough for sea state 2 and wind force 4 [any one know what those mean?]. Worse still they were to be towed if the operation was to be mounted in 1940, since the program to add power to these landing craft barges would not be completed until early 1941.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine and 15-25c
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
Thanks for that information. I was wondering how unlikely it was that the channel seas would be calm [enough for small boats] during the summer of 1940...or any other summer in the channel. Can any one answer this?

Later that year , weather would also intervene in the war. The german planning for invasion of britain was to be devolved into converted river barges to transport some of the troops, weapons and supplies across the Channel to England. But these barges were considered only good enough for sea state 2 and wind force 4 [any one know what those mean?]. Worse still they were to be towed if the operation was to be mounted in 1940, since the program to add power to these landing craft barges would not be completed until early 1941.

the reason that the germans never invaded had nothing to do with the weather..they were simply unprepared to invade..they had expected and offered britain peace after the fall of France..even with control of the air it was highly unlikely the german armed forces could have made a serious assault on the british isles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
the reason that the germans never invaded had nothing to do with the weather..they were simply unprepared to invade..they had expected and offered britain peace after the fall of France..even with control of the air it was highly unlikely the german armed forces could have made a serious assault on the british isles.

There is no doubt that Hitler forbade any preperations for war directly with the UK, up until the invasion of France. I gather that Hitler firmly believed the British would cave and withdraw from the war , when push came to shove.....which did work towards British advantage.

Well I suppose thats a matter of opinion. But the information I have is that after the fall of France and the defeat of the British expedionary forces, the British defenses were in a shambles and few military leaders or people for that matter, held out any hope. One of the things that saved the british was just how difficult it would be to cross the channel and invade, due to the seas in the channel often being the worse in the North Sea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine and 15-25c
  • Location: Edmonton Alberta(via Chelmsford, Exeter & Calgary)

lets put it this way it took the allies three years of in depth planning and preperation to mount the dday landings.

in summer of 1940 the germans did not have the resources the landing craft the naval back up the know how to make any serious attempt at invading it was a bluff to try and tempt britain into suing for peace....hilters ambitions lay in the east and the destruction of the soviet union..not the invasion of great britain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lets put it this way it took the allies three years of in depth planning and preperation to mount the dday landings.

in summer of 1940 the germans did not have the resources the landing craft the naval back up the know how to make any serious attempt at invading it was a bluff to try and tempt britain into suing for peace....hilters ambitions lay in the east and the destruction of the soviet union..not the invasion of great britain.

That might be true from the perspective of the allies and the way they fought wars. But from the german perspective, a direct assault on UK was far more effective than waging years of extremely costly and useless attritional UBoat & commerce raiding warfare. Further more a direct assault was much more in keeping with Blitzkrieg methods. Finally if the Germans were unprepared for an invasion, so too were the Brits.

The RN had only the ablity to patrol 1/6 of the seas around the UK so they erected blocades based on geographical chock points [English Channel & GIUK]. The UK coast was wide open to port to port invasion. They had just established a coastal defense force of trawlers ,backed up by about 90 older destroyers plus 'Dads Army' on shore...but these were just a shell. Only about 1/4 of the trawlers had large enough guns and in any event only 1/3 of these warships and auxiliary warships could be available at any one time due to the defensive nature of their patrols. By contrast the German fleet could surge their entire surface fleet [as they did in Norway]. Worse still only about 2/3 of the major ports had coastal batteries , while the raw recruits of "Dads Army" had ~ 1 days supply of small arms ammo to back these up. The Admiralty and Churchill knew this all to well , they assumed the Germans would first have to amass a hugh fleet of trawlers and barges prior to any invasion, which ofcourse would take weeks, thus giving away the element of surprise and time for Home fleet to respond. But the Germans were aware of this too and made preperations :angry:

In point of fact the germans planned for lossing upto 1/2 their invasion force before calling it a day. Had the operation been planned with the usual desception, it might very well have worked, especially they had not made the mistake of "Dunkirk" and thrown away the element of surprise with the "BoB" and their surface fleet in the "Invasion of Norway". There is no doubt it would have been a horrible fight anyway you look at it, with tens of thousands of casulties on each side per week, but I would put the Wehrmachts chances of over running the UK atleast 50-50...worth the risk.

The reason the so called bluff theory has only stuck around , is due to Hitlers odd irrational prewar belief that he could control the British reaction and avoid war with them altogether. Even the most elementry study of recent history convinced people like Admiral Raeder [German navy chief] and Blomberg [Defense minister], that a war with Poland and France, mean't a war with the UK and probably the USSR. Their fears of the USSR were silenced by the 'non aggression pact' with Stalin, but nothing like that occured with the UK. As far back as 1935 Raeder was trying to convince Hitler of the importance of a navy to fight the RN. By 1937 the Luftwaffe were conducting studies on what it would take to defeat the RAF. Hitler resisted all these efforts forbidding any preperation for war with the UK. Had these prewar efforts to plan for UK invasion as an follow up annex to the invasion of France, then I would put the German chances at over 90%.

Edited by seeker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...
Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

At the beginning of the Eighty Years' War against the rule of the Spanish Hapsburgs ice proved the salvation of the Dutch. During the siege of Haarlem in the winter of 1572-3 the city was provisioned almost uninterruptedly for weeks on end using sleighs that crossed the frozen Haarlemmermeer from Sassenheim, where the Prince of Orange was encamped. The death knell sounded for Haarlem when the ice finally melted after 17 weeks, and on 13th July 1573 it finally fell to the Spanish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted
  • Location: Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Location: Bratislava, Slovakia

The severe cold of January 1795 caused the Zuiderzee to freeze solid and the Dutch fleet became stranded as a result. Napoleon's cavalry then simply rode across the ice and forced a surrender.

I believe this is the only recorded instance of a cavalry capturing a navy.

Edited by AderynCoch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...