Military Life

This is why jungle training is worse than cold weather training

Ruddy Cano Avatar

(U.S. Army photo by Major Kelly S Haux)

While training in cold weather sounds like torture, those who have undergone jungle training swear that it is worse than any other form. The two environments vary greatly, and each has its challenges, but with jungle training, everything is complicated. Perhaps, this is why most military trainings take place in the jungle. It allows the trainees to build resilience and grab a few tactics for field combat. You have to be extra careful in the jungle because everything works against you, from the excess heat to stinging insects and plants.

Many survival tactics were learned during WWII, and inarguably, most of the globe’s elite Special Forces have incorporated jungle training into their system. The challenges faced during this period were taken into account and are now the judging grounds.

Locating and combating the adversary in the jungle necessitates specialized jungle warfare skills, which troops continue to familiarize themselves with during training drills in Brunei and Belize’s tropical jungles. This is usually worse if the adversary is conversant with the jungle and has lived all their life training there. It is commonly argued that if trainees can survive long durations in the jungle, they will discover that other challenging environments are easy.

Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response Africa 18.2, ground combat element, participate in a jungle warfare training and squad obstacle course at the French Jungle Warfare Training Center in Libeville, Gabon, May 29, 2018. The Marines of Theater Security Cooperation Team-Gabon underwent the JWT program to acclimate themselves to conducting operations in dense jungle environments. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Liam Brown)

Everything Is Your Enemy

The jungle is full of animals and plants threats. As you are hunting the enemy and they are hunting you, you will experience threats and challenges from animals such as black flies, spiders, scorpions, snakes and crocodiles, among others. Trainees are always taught not to underestimate plants, as some in the jungle can kill by just a touch. There are trees with sap that can blind and frogs that throw discharge that irritates the skin. Anything you might consider as friendly in other environments could be what kills you; therefore, it is critical to acknowledge these dangers and leave them alone.

Creativity Is Essential

Since the jungle’s shrubbery is too dense to be traversed by wheeled vehicles, troops have to walk during the whole expedition and often require machetes to clear the way of thick vegetation. Due to factors such as mud, undergrowth, and the unbearable heat, mobility is hindered and missions take longer to accomplish. 

Recognizing the threats presented by the jungle is critical when working against and monitoring a knowledgeable enemy alongside making it as hard to be surveilled and savaged as possible. As a result, troops wear camouflage creams to blend in with the surroundings. Being as silent as possible during the mission is also crucial, as you never know who or what your noise might attract.

U.S. Army Pvt. Izzak Piscitel, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division quickly prepares to cook a chicken during the jungle survival course with the Royal Thai Army 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry in Korat, Thailand, Feb. 20, 2017. Exercise Cobra Gold is the largest Theater Security Cooperation exercise in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and is an integral part of the U.S. commitment to strengthen engagement in the region. (U.S. Army photo by Major Kelly S Haux)

Coordination Challenges

Communication in the jungle can be a real challenge, especially if the undergrowth is too thick. Bearing in mind troops are not supposed to make loud sounds, sometimes using signs doesn’t work. The thick undergrowth on the forest floor makes it extremely hard for troops to see one another. In return, coordinating movement and eliminating targets through shooting becomes a challenge too.

This also means that the soldiers cannot depend on weapons that can project long distances. There are many obstacles in the path, and using such a weapon will only give away your position to the enemy. Unfortunately, things don’t get any better as visibility is reduced more when covering mountainous regions of the jungle due to frequent mist and unpredictable rain. Traditional communication techniques are often phased out in favor of high-frequency communications networks in the jungle. These need extensive knowledge and expertise to command, oversee, and maneuver forces. Whether during training or mission, survival in the jungle is considered the toughest task among military personnel.