US Army Urged to Prepare for Jungle Warfare

The US Army must prepare its soldiers for the “relentless” challenges of jungle warfare as threats in the Indo-Pacific continue to rise.

This is according to a new paper published by the Association of the US Army (AUSA), drawing on lessons from World War II.

Maj. Karl Rauch, a student at the School of Advanced Military Studies and the author of the paper Welcome (Back) to the Jungle, said the tropical environment has specific impacts on the tactical and operational levels of war.

According to Rauch, of all the geographic land-based environments on the planet, the jungle is the most dynamic; only those who specifically train for it have a chance of succeeding within its confines.

The tropical rainforest can be cruel, given its extreme weather, confined physical space, and high risk of disease.

“Despite technological advancements, the dense and demanding jungle environment necessitates a deep understanding and specialized preparation,” Rauch wrote. “This unique environment may prove an equalizer toward emergent technologies.”

Lessons From Past

The paper cites the New Guinea Campaign in World War II, in which the US 32nd Infantry Division entered the forest without properly trained soldiers.

The unit had to endure the challenges of the environment, including trekking for hours in knee-deep water to reach another flank.

Despite the difficulties presented by jungle warfare during that time, Lt. Gen. Robert Eichelberger was still able to successfully lead the team to its “first ground battle victory of the war.”

“Beyond anything the Americans had experienced in their history, those jungles took advantage of their lack of regional knowledge and experience,” Rauch stated.

“Lessons learned during the New Guinea Campaign could apply to future battles.”

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