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Throughout history, wars have been invariably fought over the control of territory. While political geography addresses the causes of such conflicts, military geography consists of the use of geographical knowledge to describe and analyze the deployment of armed forces. In this work, Patrick O'Sullivan offers an academic and impersonal study of military geography, weighing the balance of advantage for combatants in different geographic settings. He fully explores the effect of geographical circumstances on the outcome of violent conflict, and examines the lessons learned from recent wars about the effects of global position and environmental conditions on the interplay of geostrategy, tactical decisions, and results.
The study begins with a look at the global variety of physical habitats and their human occupation, as well as a survey of the geography of war since 1945 including the current geography of conflict. A geographical analysis of selected ancient and modern battles follows, out of which O'Sullivan characterizes classical tactical ploys. A broad examination of modern weapons, tactics, and the required appreciation of the battlefield form the central portion of the book, with two particular topics--guerrilla/counterinsurgency operations and warfare on urban terrain--receiving extensive treatment. The volume concludes by drawing together political geography, strategy, and tactics in a description of the urban-based British Army/IRA conflict, and with an examination of the geographical aptitudes and attitudes of soldiers. This unique work will be an important source for courses in military geography, history, and tactics, and a valuable addition to college and university libraries.