The Battle of Takur Ghar: An Analysis of Technology’s Subservience to Geography

Authors: Christopher Fuhriman*, United States Military Academy
Topics: Military Geography
Keywords: military geography, environmental matrix, Takur Ghar, Roberts Ridge, Operation Anaconda
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Governors Square 12, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded



In March 2002, US and coalition forces launched Operation Anaconda to clear the Shahi-Kot Valley in eastern Afghanistan (Place of the King). Two days into the operation, a Navy SEAL fell from the cabin of a Chinook helicopter to the snow below during an aborted landing on a strategic mountain named Takur Ghar. The events that followed during the next 17 hours are known as the Battle of Takur Ghar, or the Battle of Roberts Ridge. For US forces, this battle was the deadliest engagement in the early stage of the war in Afghanistan. This paper analyzes the effects of geography (physical and human) on the outcome of the battle, using Garver’s (1975) environmental matrix as a theoretical framework. This study concludes that location (situation, specifically), weather and climate, and topography were the most impactful components of the environmental matrix which influenced the outcome of the Battle of Takur Ghar, despite the overwhelming American advantage in technology.

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