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a part (sector or region) of an area with all its natural components, including relief, soil, water, and vegetation, as well as lines of communication, populated centers, and industrial, agricultural, and sociocultural sites; one of the most important elements of the situation in which military actions are waged.

The different characteristics of the terrain facilitate military actions or make them more difficult, thus exercising a major influence on the organization and waging of a battle or operation. Terrain may be divided into basic types according to relief-level, hilly, or mountainous; according to conditions of passage —slightly rugged (passable), moderately rugged, or extremely rugged (difficult to pass); according to conditions of observation and camouflage—open, semiclosed, and closed; and according to natural features—desert (desert-steppe), forest (forest-swamp), or northern (arctic or polar and level or mountainous tundra). Major water obstacles and mountainous areas are especially important from an operational point of view. The characteristics of the terrain that influence combat action (conditions for passage of troops and combat equipment, defense, observation, orientation, waging of fire, water supply, and the like) are called its operational-tactical characteristics.

Terrain conditions are taken into account when planning a battle or operation and organizing troop coordination, the system of fire, and camouflage; the terrain has an important effect on control, communications, observation, and the work of the rear. The tactical characteristics of the terrain change depending on the season of the year and the weather. Commanders and staffs of all combat arms organize the study and evaluation of the terrain with regard to the missions they are to fulfill. The terrain is studied and evaluated by personal observation, results of reconnaissance, and topographical and special maps. Conclusions drawn from the evaluation of the terrain are taken into account when deciding whether to initiate a battle or operation and in determining the nature of troop actions.


Govorukhin, A. M., and M. V. Gamezo. Spravochnik ofitsera po voennoi topografii, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1968.
Ivan’kov, P. A., and G. V. Zakharov. Mestnost* i ee vliianie na boevye deistviia voisk. Moscow, 1969.
Kratkii topografo-geodezicheskii slovar’-spravochnik, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1973.


References in periodicals archive ?
And the single hottest land surface temperature (LST) recorded in any year and in any region was found there in 2005, when MODIS recorded a temperature of 70.
The two-source model estimates contributions of water, energy, and temperatures from both the soil and vegetation components of the land surface.
The second energy involved in atmospheric temperature rise, said Dr McAlpine, is 'sensible heat'--heat radiated back into the atmosphere from the land surface, which we know to be increasing, making the atmosphere hotter and drier.
Brusaw put two and two together when he realized that the interstate highway system already covers about that much of the nation's land surface, so he got to work designing a system that combines a durable and translucent glass road surface with photovoltaic solar collectors that could be wired directly into the electricity grid.
The erosion of the land surface is clearly seen on hilly areas where, after many years, the crops on the tops of the hilly sections are very sparse, and the land unproductive due to lack of soil.
Quality assessment and validation of the MODIS global land surface temperature.
1 percent of Earth's land surface, or about two-thirds of the United States.
Today, humans have colonized just about every viable land surface on the planet.
The land surface, which is coral and sand, is just above sea level.
During the last glacial period, ice covered approximately 30 percent of Earth's land surface, including parts of Europe and North America.
Papers from a September 2003 conference, presented here, address remote sensing, spatially distributed dynamic modeling of land surface processes, and urban dynamics.
NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) is responsible for capturing and managing the terabytes of data beamed down every day by 5 orbiting satellites, observing the land surface, oceans, biosphere and atmosphere of the Earth.