The Most Terrible Weather Conditions in Infantry Combat Movies – 4 Examples

Combat is hell. We all know that. But some combat situations are made even worse because of the weather. I have seen four movies and episodes of series in which the depicted weather conditions made me think: “How utterly awful this must have been”. The terrible weather conditions are a great means for film directors to enhance how horrible combat is and how utterly futile some battles when facing not only a strong(er) opponent but the force of nature.

The first movie is Stalingrad. To watch those troops in the icy cold snow of the Eastern Front is harrowing. Countless men who survived the battle died from hunger and cold.

Horror weather example number two is also due to snow and cold. It is shown in the episode “Bastogne” from Band of Brothers.

As brutal as the winter in Europe and the Eastern Front was, the constant rain the troops had to face in The Pacific was no less demoralizing. Example number three is the episode number 4 “Cape Gloucester” from The Pacific which takes place just after the battle of Guadalcanal. Humidity and the constant noise of the torrential rain lead to stress and illness.

Another really harrowing example was shown in the Australian movie Kokoda. The mud, rain and dirt of the Kokoda trail has to be mentioned among the worst experiences any troops have undergone.

I just realized that all these are examples from WWII. Makes it look as if there hadn’t been any terrible weather conditions during other wars but that is of course not the case. I remember a few WWI movies in which the mud and rain played an important role but I’m not able to pick a perfect example. Additionally I would like to add an example in which scorching heat proved to be fatal.

Which is the worst weather you have ever seen in any war movie?

8 thoughts on “The Most Terrible Weather Conditions in Infantry Combat Movies – 4 Examples

  1. I remember that episode of Band of Brothers.

    I know it’s not a war movie, but I remember when Forrest Gump goes to Vietnam, there was lots and lots of rain. And he says something about how it rained for months.

    • I guess I can see how some would call it a war movie. That makes sense. It’s been years since I’ve seen it. If I watch war movies, they’re usually about WWII, so that was the only one I could think of that wasn’t. 🙂

      • I have a little but excellent book on Vietnam movies and Forrest Gump is in it. I haven’t seen any Vietnam movies lately. Since We Were Soldiers there were no new ones I think and I have seen almost all the very good older ones.

    • It’s a good example and I think some people even call Forrest Gump a war movie. There must have been a lot of rain in Vietnam but I can’t remember any movie in which it is as intense as in Kokoda or The Pacific. There are also movies with scenes in the desert in which the heat was a factor.

  2. the war movie buff says:

    First, no way is Forrest Gump a war movie. It is a movie that has a part that is in a war. That does not make it a war movie. I have the same book, but don not agree with it.

    Second, give me some time to think on this topic. You have come up with a brilliant post. Very intriguing! I love the examples, although I have not seen Stalingrad (I have not gotten to it on the Greatest 100 list) and Kokoda (which I sadly do not have access to yet).

    I tend to lean toward the ones featuring freezing temperatures because I wonder how men who are facing the adversities of combat can also face extreme cold knowing that it would be so easy to slip into a comforting eternal sleep.

    • I agree, it is very debatable but to a certain extent it does make sense, of course it’s not a combat movie.
      Your last comment is very interesting. They could have let thmeselves die and that did happen, I suppose, especially much later, on the way home.
      I’m sure you will like Stalingrad very much.
      I hope you find other examples.
      When I was reading Letters Home from Vietnam and compared them to what my father told me, I wasn’t sure which would be worse, the jungle or the desert but the Russian colds certainly beats them both.

  3. the war movie buff says:

    I think the Band of Brothers episode is the worst weather I have seen in a war movie, but I have a few others to mention.

    Master and Commander – the scene where they have lost any wind because of the “Jonah”

    Hamburger Hill – the assaults up the hill in muddy conditions

    Sahara – the heat and lack of water

    Henry V (Branagh version) – the battle in the mud

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