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Jungle Warfare

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The Jungle doesn't take anyone's side.

"Status report? The last few months on Okinawa have taken their toll. Morale is low. It's the rain sir...and the mud. Tanks are getting bogged down...Supplies aren't getting through...We can't even get the wounded out...Yes sir, understood..."
Sgt. Roebuck, Call of Duty: World at War

So you have a Hungry Jungle. And then you have soldiers, guerillas, insurgents, etc. trekking through it. Suddenly, all hell breaks loose as two or more factions struggle against dwindling supplies, scarce food, the enemy at every corner, the elements, and of course, the jungle itself. Jungle Warfare is what it says, fighting that takes place in a remote jungle or lush tropical rainforest, usually on a remote island or somewhere far away from civilization. When there are civilians, they're usually confined to a small village, usually near a river.

In these kinds of situations, expect elite troops, usually those specialized or experienced in trekking through remote and hostile environments, sending patrols deep into remote enemy territory, rebels or enemy soldiers planting different kinds of booby traps, and communication and supply problems. If tanks are involved, expect them to be bogged down in mud during a monsoon, knocked out by anti-tank traps, or simply unable to plow through thick vegetation. Expect a mix of Scenery Porn and Scenery Gorn, depending on how bad the surrounding vegetation is removed, and with it the use of Flamethrowers or other forms of flame-based weapons. Often involves soldiers wearing camouflage over their uniforms either moving slowly through the jungle or waiting in ambush, as well as men, guns, or vehicles concealed by trees.

Much like Urban Warfare, Jungle Warfare can be a nightmare for any advancing army that doesen't have a firm grasp of the place. Even untrained militamen or under-equipped soldiers with a vast knowledge of the jungle can wreak havoc on even the most experienced and trained of soldiers venturing in. Unlike the former, the jungle itself can also be as much of a hazard on both friendly and enemy forces. Among these hazards include diseases like malaria and dysentery, local flora and fauna, and even the mere vastness of the jungle itself, where patrols can get lost simply from making a wrong turn in.

In Real Life, it's usually associated with The Vietnam War, as well as World War II's Pacific and China-Burma-India Theater, where such fighting was all too common.

Compare and contrast with the aforementioned Urban Warfare , Winter Warfare, and Desert Warfare where fighting takes place in cities / towns ,in cold, snowy conditions, and in scorching deserts, respectively, though there have been cases where this trope can overlap with the former (Manila during World War II and Hue City during The Vietnam War, for example). Thanks to the climate, a Battle in the Rain is expected almost half the time.


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     Anime And Manga 
  • Black Lagoon has the Lagoon Company teaming up with a NSA-backed special forces unit "Gray Fox" alongside Garcia and Fabiola to locate Roberta in the jungles of Myanmar. Gray Fox and Roberta fought each other to a near standstill.

     Comic Books 
  • The Punisher : The occasional story sends Frank into a jungle setting, mostly providing a Vietnam-themed Mook Horror Show.
  • Most Commando stories set in the CBI and Pacific during World War II, and, to a lesser extent, French Indochina and Vietnam, will have this as a staple.

  • The Action Prologue of Windtalkers is set in the jungles of the Solomon Islands, implied to be around late 1942 to mid-1943. As expected from the setting, there's Joe Enders' patrol being sent to hold a vital position, several Japanese ambushes, and Enders' squad running out of ammo supplies.
    • The first portion of Saipan counts as well, with Japanese ambushes happening every other time Enders' squad advances further. And averted in the Final Battle, where there's no vegetation thanks to being set in the mountains of the island.
  • Near the end of The Final Option, the Royal Hong Kong Police Force deploys the Special Duties Unit to a deserted island near Hong Kong to take out a corrupt DEA agent hiding in the forests, accompanied by Hong Kong Customs and Excise Service officers, primarily to delay the corrupt agent's ship from leaving Hong Kong waters. The problem is that they're confronted by an ex-Navy SEAL commando unit that went rogue after a black op mission in the Golden Triangle with the promise of being wealthy through the drug trade. The SDU gets into major trouble due to ambushes with Claymores and snipers shooting them in the arms/legs to hinder their progress through the island. Some of the SDU officers are forced to take cover in a ditch and provide suppressive fire with some of the HKCES officers in tow.
  • Predator takes place in an unnamed Central American country almost entirely covered by jungle. The fighting between Dutch's rescue team and the guerillas involves standard infiltration tactics and a surprise attack. The battle against the title space alien uses tripwires, Claymore mines and physical traps reminiscent of the Vietnam War.
  • The Thin Red Line, which focuses on members of the US Army as the trek their way through Guadalcanal's dense jungle in order to take the island from the Japanese Army.
  • Kokoda, similar to The Thin Red Line above, has Allied soldiers fighting the Japanese in thick jungle in the South Pacific, except this time its the Australians fighting the Japanese forces in New Guinea.
  • The entire Vietnam War segment in Forrest Gump is a textbook example, where pretty much all the characteristics of this trope are seen. Namely, we get Forrest's unit being sent on patrol deep into the jungle, an enemy waiting in camouflage, and the use of flame-based weapons (Napalm in this case).
  • Pretty much all notable films set during The Vietnam War will feature this form of fighting one way or another, with the most notable examples being Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and Casualties of War.
  • A Recycled In SPACE equivalent shows up in Star Wars episode three with the planet Felucia. While it only shows up for one short scene in the movie proper, it sees much more focus in the Expanded Universe.
    • Also from Revenge Of The Sith is Kashyyk, though in this case the battle is more of a case of the Droids Storming the Beaches.
    • In Return of the Jedi, there's Endor, where the Ewoks make effective use of their knowledge of the jungle environment to lure Imperial troops into their traps.

     Live-Action TV 
  • The Pacific has the first half of the series full of this trope. Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester, as well as the beaches surrounding Peleliu's airfield, involve Marines struggling between the Japanese, shortage of supplies, disease, and the islands themselves.
  • In Arrow, prior to the start of the series, Oliver spent several of his years stranded on the island of Lian Yu where he is caught up in the many dangers including militant groups and criminals. He eventually finds allies on the island and partakes in wars with the other side to thwart their plans.

  • In the Animorphs novel "The Forgotten", the Animorphs are inadvertently trapped in the Amazon rainforest in the recent past after a mission to take the Yeerk Blade ship to the White House to expose the Yeerk invasion goes horribly wrong, and they have to fight off both the Yeerks and the jungle's inhabitants in order to return to their own time.

     Tabletop Games 

     Video Games 
  • Rising Storm has the Guadalcanal and Burma maps, where US Marines and US Army troops battle against the Imperial Japanese army in thick jungles and low visibility.
    • It's sequel, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, even moreso, thanks to all the maps being set in The Vietnam War.
  • Most of Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault takes place in the jungles of the South Pacific. Of course, the Japanese, who are more experienced in trekking through these jungles, use a number of tactics well-suited for the environment, including laying dead.
    • Medal of Honor: Rising Sun also has Guadalcanal, with the addition of the China-Burma-India Theater as one of the late-game levels.
  • Peleliu, and to a lesser extent, Makin, in Call of Duty: World at War, at least when the vegetation isn't razed by artillery fire or fighting takes place in or near Japanese holdouts. Okinawa is a downplayed example, as the environment is instead a sub-tropical rainforest, but a lot of the elements of this trope still apply.
  • "Victor Charlie", "Crash Site", and "Payback" in Call of Duty: Black Ops, which is set against the backdrop of The Vietnam War .
  • Empire Earth: The expansion's Pacific theater campaign has several maps taking place in dense jungle, one of which features disease outbursts, mines, and snipers.

     Western Animation 
  • Despite being set on a remote Pacific island, Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips averts this, as Bugs fights the Japanese forces on the island near the beaches as well as their base, rather than in the jungles.

     Real Life 
  • World War II has several examples, as mentioned above, mostly fought in the Pacific Theater and CBI, between the Allies and the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy. The most prominent examples include Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, New Guinea, and Burma.
  • The Cold War has The Emergency and Konfrontasi, which had British-led military forces honed their fighting skills against the Malayan National Liberation Army and by Indonesia-backed separatists. The experience was later used by Australian and New Zealander forces in the Vietnam War, which led them to be nicknamed "Ghosts" by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army.
  • Also mentioned above, The Vietnam War, where practically the majority of fighting takes place, at least when it isn't Hue City during the Tet Offensive.