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Curtis W. Casewit - The Saga of the Mountain Soldiers
As a history, this book is inferior. The author describes interesting events but often omits specific names and dates, making the stories vague and hard to verify. For a better book, see burton-1971. I have copied Chapter 1, In the Beginning, for my files.

p. 13: In 1940, Americans were concerned about the need for mountain troops, both for battle in Europe and for defense of the U.S. in case of a German invasion in winter.

p. 14: The author describes tactics used by Finnish ski troops after the Russian invasion in November 1939: "With especially light, narrow skis under their feet, they could dart from forests to harass the Russian invaders. Sliding at high speeds across a white terrain, the Finns would toss bottles of flaming gasoline into the Russian columns, then vanish. The Finns would reach frozen riverbeds on skis; then they would fire their rifles, put on skates, shoulder their skis, and skate away. The Russians were as clumsy as polar bears against such tactics, but they learned to employ winter warfare techniques themselves. By the winter of 1942, many Russian soldiers on skis also wore white for camouflage."

p. 15: The author describes the role of National Ski Patrol leaders, including Minot Dole, in lobbying the War Department to create ski troops.

p. 17: The author relates an apochryphal story about a Colorado Ski Patrol leader trying to persuade the U.S. Air Force that it needed a ground rescue service. A test was proposed in which a training plane would parachute a red streamer on any mountain within 50 miles. "We can guarantee that the Patrol will find it within five hours." According to the author, a streamer was dropped on the Continental Divide and the location radioed to the searchers. The search was successful. No names or dates are offered for this story.

p. 38: During training at Camp Hale, 10th Mountain artillery sometimes was used to shoot down cornices. When a snow slope was too dangerous, troopers sometimes tossed hand grenades to trigger an avalanche. The author describes the gruelling "D" Series maneuvers.

p. 50: The official nickname for the 10th Mountain Division was "The Mountaineers".

p. 134: During the last week in June, 1945, the 10th Mountain Division organized the first international ski race after World War II. 10th Division champions, British skiers, and other Allied athletes raced on the snowfields adjoining the 12,461-foot Gross Glockner, the highest peak in Austria. Sergeant Steve Knowlton, 86th Regiment, won the downhill.

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Last Updated: Thu Jun 21 12:06:14 PST 2001