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Tom Feliu, KRMA-TV - Spirit of the Mountains
John B. Allen was the historian for this story of mountain soldiers. The film begins with a history of skiing and ski warfare from the earliest times. It describes the creation of mountain troops in Italy, France and Austria before World War I. Excellent old footage is used to portray WWI mountain battles.
The film describes the application of military developments to post-war recreational skiing. In 1924, military patrol racing was admitted as an Olympic sport for the first time, a precursor to today's biathalon competitions. In the 1936 Games at Garmish-Partenkirchen, the Italian Alpini team defeated the favored Norwegians to win the gold medal.
The film describes the creation and training of Germany's Gebirgsjager troops prior to World War II. It portrays several WWII mountain campaigns, including the Russian-Finnish war, the German push into Russia, the battle of the Vallee Blanche, and others. It describes the creation of the U.S. 10th Mountain Division and its campaigns in the Aleutians and Italy. The film ends by describing the friendships established between mountain soldiers from opposing armies after the war ended.
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