The Heat of Battle

“Next in our study of how climatic and ecological events affect military and logistic strategy, we will be studying the Cold War.

“Taking place on Qern (Aris Delphi), in the years 7199-7223, the Cold War was directly caused by such an event. Following the asteroid impact of 7197, the ensuing particle winter caused catastrophic temperature drops with associated crop loss, glaciation, power grid failures, thermal infrastructure inadequacy, and so forth all across Qern’s southern hemisphere.

“In response to this, the southern powers – initially independently, but later united as the Austral Alliance – waged war against first the tropics, and later the more southerly regions of the less-affected northern hemisphere – in an attempt to seize territory that was both warm enough to allow food production and relatively survivable conditions, and which was not in imminent danger of being buried under a mile-high ice sheet.

“At first, the war was inconclusive and poorly prosecuted on both sides, with the shattering of the northern powers’ economy by the impact – immortalized forever in the term Qern cost center – and the increasing failure rate of the southern powers’ equipment as the temperature fell, not to mention the disruption of both sides’ command and logistic chains by the increasingly harsh weather.

“However, with the ingenuity of desperation, the southern powers in particular devised a range of cold-adapted military technologies, including snowdrills, ice-boats, bergpiers, and more, as well as crude but serviceable adaptations to existing technologies compensating for thermal embrittlement, frost- and flood-damaged terrain, and the erosive, corrosive environment of a particle winter. It is these technologies, and the modifications they imposed on logistics and strategy in the latter period of the Cold War, that we shall be examining in these next four lectures…”

– from a lecture series delivered at the Imperial War College

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