Mountain warfare

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Mountain warfare refers to warfare in the mountains or similarly rough terrain. This type of warfare is also called Alpine warfare, named after the Alps mountains. Mountain warfare is one of the most dangerous types of combat as it involves surviving not only combat with the enemy but also the extreme weather and dangerous terrain.

Mountain ranges are of strategic importance since they often act as a natural border, and may also be the origin of a water source of (e.g. Golan Heights - water conflict). Attacking a prepared enemy position in mountain terrain requires a greater ratio of attacking soldiers to defending soldiers than would be needed on level ground. Mountains at any time of year are dangerous – lightning, strong gusts of wind, falling rocks, extreme cold, and crevasses are all additional threats to combatants. Movement, reinforcements, and medical evacuation up and down steep slopes and areas where even pack animals cannot reach involves an enormous exertion of energy.


Early history

The term mountain warfare is said to have come about in the Middle Ages after the monarchies of Europe found it difficult to fight the Swiss armies in the Alps. This was because the Swiss were able to fight in smaller units and took vantage points against a...
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