Usually Ships in 24 Hours The bravery, struggles, and accomplishments of the 10th are documented in The Winter Army: The 10th Mountain Division in World War II, a new book by Maurice Isserman, the Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History. Now, standing before the regiment as they gathered outdoors in the cold mountain air, Hays went over plans for the coming offensive, pointing out enemy positions on a large map. The General’s words come back, “When in artillery and mortar fire, drive ahead!”. From the ridgeline, the Germans had a clear view of the approaches to and summit of Mount Belvedere, which would allow them to call in accurate artillery fire on any attackers. Prayed in my foxhole and read my Bible. There hadn’t been much good news from the “forgotten front” in Italy since the previous summer’s fighting. When the snow melted, the soldiers honed their rock-climbing skills. D.W. [David Wark] Griffith, influential U.S. film director (The Birth of A Nation, Intolerance). While the Allied armies in western Europe drove the Germans from France and Belgium, beat back the Nazi offensive in the Battle of the Bulge, and pushed into Germany itself, the Italian front had settled into winter stalemate yet again. As a young artillery officer in the previous war against Germany, he had been awarded a Medal of Honor. Free shipping. Throughout the daylight hours, American P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bombers and British Spitfire fighters buzzed overhead, bombing, rocketing, or napalming any German soldiers or guns they spotted. We begin our conversation discussing why the U.S. Army didn’t have an alpine division before World War II, and how a group of civilian skiers, led by a man named Minnie Dole, spearheaded the movement to create one. He left a tersely dramatic narrative in his war diary of the night and days that followed: Dug in on crest of ridge with [Turman] Oldman. Moved over ridge in morning and 1st [platoon] captured 3 Huns. What’s more, the 10th’s attack on Belvedere would now be supported by .50 caliber machine guns and two 75mm pack howitzers laboriously hauled up to the top of the ridge after its capture. 88’s pounded us terribly. Fred Vinson, Thirteenth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Killed my first Jerry on the ridge (Division objective). An 85th Regiment company moves out on Mount Belvedere as others wait in reserve. “The air corps finally arrives late,” Private Dan Kennerly, the Georgia football player, recorded with a touch of acerbic interservice rivalry in a diary entry for February 20: “probably had a second cup of coffee with their ham and eggs. Originally activated as the 10th Light Division (Alpine) in 1943, the division was redesignated the 10th Mountain Division in 1944 and fought in the mountains of Italy in some of the roughest terrain in the country. The U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division served in World War II combat for only four months, but it had one of the highest casualty rates. He was the first person I had seen die.”. During WWII the U.S. Army watched with interest the use of Finnish ski troops against the Red Army during the Winter War and the specialized mountain troops of the German Army and in turn established what would become the 10th Mountain Division, a specialized formation largely formed from prewar skiing and mountain-climbing enthusiasts. *** Soldier training for mountain warfare in full fatigues. The 10th Mountain Division, the first alpine fighting force in the United States Armed Forces, bears more than a passing connection to Lake Tahoe. Nevertheless, I’m glad to see them.” Spotters on Riva Ridge called in barrages from field artillery on German counterattackers. The timeline of my edit and the reality of what took place 75 years ago have been in sync with one another. But the most difficult and prolonged phase of the battle was just beginning, as the 85th’s 2nd Battalion moved through the advanced American lines below Gorgolesco to the final objective, Mount della Torraccia. Mount Belvedere is the first in a line of peaks, all about 3,000 feet high, stretching northeast from the hillside village of Querciola and arrayed along a three-and-a-quarter-mile ridgeline. The 10th was the only US mountain division to be raised in World War II, and still has a high profile, being involved in operations from Iraq to Somalia and from Haiti to Afghanistan. THE CAPTURE OF MOUNT BELVEDERE cost the 10th Mountain Division a total of 923 casualties: 192 killed in action, 730 wounded, and one prisoner of war. Corporal Marty Daneman, HQ Company, 2nd Battalion of the 85th, found himself in the thick of the fighting on the second night on Belvedere; it was more than two weeks before he could bring himself to write about the experience in a letter to his fiancée Lois, back in Chicago. John D. Magrath. In an entry written at the time, the officer reported that “the 1044 [Infantry] Regiment is almost completely destroyed.” Two whole companies from the regiment had “gone over to the enemy” as prisoners. Please, not now.”, Evans attempted to stop the flow of blood from his friend’s chest wound with a piece of cloth torn from his jacket. Watch; New Listing Vintage Chippewa WWII U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division Leather Ski Boots Size 11. This was the Army's first air operation from a naval vessel since the Doolittle Raid of World War II. Drawing largely from letters written by soldiers to their families and friends back home, Isserman provides frontline views not only of such famous battles as Riva … Following the war, the division was deactivated, reactivated, and redesigned as the 10th Infantry Division in 1948. Then “all hell broke loose,” as “artillery, mortars, ‘screaming meemies’ [rockets], and machine-gun fire enveloped us.” With Captain Smith incapacitated and unconscious, Wright took over as company commander, “a responsibility I really didn’t want.”, The heavy packs the troopers often bore inspired a popular 10th Mountain Division drinking song: “Ninety Pounds of Rucksack.” (The Denver Public Library, TMD-351-2018-467), C Company stayed in the lead, fighting its way uphill. By dawn on February 20, the battalion reached Belvedere’s summit. Only one, the 10th Mountain Division, saw combat in World War II. Although skiing existed as a recreational sport in the early 20 th century United States, it was not until the creation of the 10 th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army during World War II that the ski industry really took off. The 10th Mountain Division was formed in World War II as a unit of elite troops with special operational skills adapted to mountain terrain. The 10th turned the tide for the Allies in Italy, revolutionized winter mountain warfare & transformed winter sports. Everything at first went precisely according to plan, he recalled, with no confusion. In 1987, the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, consisting of veterans of the World War II division, designated the Denver Public German counterattacks that began later in the day and continued for five days proved more costly but ultimately futile. Dug in fast. Its soldiers displayed no shortage of heroism in the battle for della Torraccia: five were awarded Silver Stars for their actions, one posthumously. Images of the U.S. Federal Census from 1790 forward, the American Genealogical Biographical Index, immigration lists and over 9,000 more databases. This stencil was used on both WW2 and Korean War Helmets. C Company of 1st Battalion was in the forefront of the assault there, where the fighting began around 3 a.m. Second Lieutenant Herbert Wright was C Company’s executive officer and remembered taking shelter in a wooded slope below Gorgolesco when the Germans discovered their location. “This war is terrible,” he concluded. The 10th Mountain Division in WWII: – Arrived in Italy on January 6th, 1945 & immediately entered combat – Fought in the roughest terrain of Italy during WWII – Saw combat in Cutigliano, Battle of Monte Castello, Monte Della Torraccia-Mount Belvedere, Canolle, Mongiorgio, Torbole and Nago. The collection at Denver Public Library includes: Use the Name Lookup Index to determine if a person was a member of the 10th Mountain Division, and the company or Regiment with which he served. WW2 Photo WWII Coffee Time 10th Mountain Division Soldier Italy 1944 / 1404 This is a nice reproduction of an original WWII photograph showing a soldier of the US Army 10th Mountain Division using his bayonet to stir a canteen cup of coffee during the … This is a fun collectable pin for all 10th Mountain Division fans. To minimize the possibility of an accidental or premature discharge of gunfire alerting the enemy to their presence, or resulting in friendly fire deaths, the men assaulting Belvedere carried unloaded weapons. (The Denver Public Library, TMD-374). The museum covers the history of 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum. From the Dardagna River that flowed along the side of the ridgeline, the climb up the east face to its summit was roughly 2,000 feet of elevation gain. THE STORY OF the 10th Mountain Division began five years earlier, in the late winter of 1940, when prominent American skiers and mountaineers began to warn military authorities of the potential threat German alpine troops posed should the United States become involved in the European war that had broken out the previous fall. Mount Belvedere is the first in a line of peaks, all about 3,000 feet high, stretching northeast from the hillside village of Querciola and arrayed along a three-and-a-quarter-mile ridgeline. Horrible slaughter. The 10th’s plan of attack was complex and multipronged, with elements from the 85th, 86th, and 87th regiments involved in the initial assault from several sides of Belvedere and Gorgolesco. See more ideas about mountains in italy, 10th mountain division, wwii. This is the most horrible sight I’ve ever seen. The 10th Mountain Division trained at Camp Hale on Tennessee Pass in the Colorado Rocky Mountains prior to going to Italy to fight in WWII. In 1987, Denver Public Library partnered with History Colorado and the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division to create the 10th Mountain Division Resource Center. After darkness fell on Sunday night, February 18, the men from units of the 86th would set off up four of the five trails to the summit of Riva Ridge. The attack on Riva Ridge proceeded flawlessly; the Americans took the Germans totally by surprise. 0 bids +$1.75 shipping. One has the top of his head shot off, his brains have spilled out onto the ground. The mission of the Tenth Mountain Division Foundation is to honor and perpetuate the legacy of the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division. Fischer was badly wounded, with a bullet through his lungs, and kept repeating, “Oh God. In November 1942 the troop was sent to Camp Hale Colorado for winter training. Corporal Marty Daneman, having just turned 20 in the days before the battle, was no longer the callow youth who only a month earlier had written fiancée Lois that he was “anxious to get in a hot spot” to test his courage. 88’s pounded us terribly. World War II Under the command of Maj. Gen. Lloyd E. Jones, the 10th Light Division (Alpine) was constituted on July 10, 1943, and activated on July 15, at Camp Hale, Colorado. As he wrote in his diary: They are lying everywhere, “frozen” in many different positions, instant rigor mortis. Ten minutes later, 3rd Battalion’s I and K Companies moved forward, taking casualties from machine-gun and artillery fire, but still seizing the summit shortly before 9 a.m. in hand-to-hand fighting. The 10th Mountain Division’s final battle of World War II took place 75 years ago during the late days of April near Lake Garda in northern Italy. This story was published in the February issue of World War II. Dan L. Kennerly, a 22-year-old private serving in the 85th’s D Company, recorded Hays’s words in his diary. 10th Mountain Division Name Index The 10th Mountain Division, specializing in mountain and winter warfare, trained at Camp Hale, Colorado, during World War II. He stressed the importance of the 10th’s mountain training: Our attack was to begin a couple of hours before dawn. The Germans on the Belvedere massif could also hear the firing going on to their west and must have understood that their positions were likely to be the next American target. The Tenth Mountain Division Foundation carries forward the legacy and memory of America’s WWII winter warfare soldiers The Foundation was established to memorialize the glorious history and exceptional achievements of the World War II 10th Mountain Division and to perpetuate its memory for future generations. The last German who got up and yelled ‘Kamerad!’ I held with an empty gun. Although Mount Belvedere remained the main objective, the general knew he had to do something about the enemy soldiers who held Riva Ridge. It had an un-matched number of professional athletes, college scholars, and potential officer candidates, … Around 7 a.m. En route, the battalion began taking casualties from mines. That’s just an example of the type of people that the 10th Mountain Division attracted.” The men of the 10th following World War II went on to transform the skiing industry into the winter sports mecca that exists today. In 1945, the newly fielded U.S. 10th Mountain Division battled the enemy and the elements in Italy’s Northern Apennines. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. Records document the activities of the 10th Mountain Division from its formation at the beginning of World War II, through its training at various locations including Camp Hale, Colorado and ending with its combat operations in Italy during 1945. Coincidentally, during this quarantine period, I have been working diligently on editing a documentary about the 10th Mountain Division. And so my 20th birthday rolled around & I feel 30. But Fischer died within minutes. C Company of 1st Battalion was in the forefront of the assault there, where the fighting began around 3 a.m. Second Lieutenant Herbert Wright was C Company’s executive officer and remembered taking shelter in a wooded slope below Gorgolesco when the Germans discovered their location. General Hays, then 52, had taken command of the 10th the previous autumn. Bodies lie on Belvedere’s slopes at sunset on the first day of attack. I’d always wondered how I’d feel shooting a man & I found out quick enough. Moved the gun up to a new position and 1 minute later a mortar hit my old foxhole and wounded [Laverne] Staebell and [Leonard] Giddix…Counterattack surrounded us. Please, not now.”, A vengeful Evans jumped to his feet and, heedless of danger, raced uphill toward the German machine guns, calling for men to follow him. ON A WINTRY DAY in Italy in the final months of the war against Nazi Germany, Major General George Price Hays, commander of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, spoke to men from the division’s 85th Regiment. The most prominent of these peaks is Belvedere itself, along with Mount Gorgolesco and Mount della Torraccia. The 10th Division deployed in late 1944, in the Apennine Mountains in northern Italy, where the German army had held its ground on top of Mount Belvedere against the U.S. for almost half the year. Despite the chilly February air, the men were soon sweating from exertion, especially the seven-man mortar crews in D Company laden with their 81mm mortars and ammunition. Division was one of many units that served this country in WWII, for images of all the Shoulder Insignia used by the United States Military in the conflict, click here. By sunset on February 19, they were cheered by the news that the ridge had been captured. Twice before, other Allied divisions had attempted to overrun the enemy’s positions on Belvedere and failed. That—and a conviction that the war he was fighting was nonetheless necessary: I still say – better to have it happen here than back home. The 10th distinguished itself in Italy during WWII by defeating German positions in the rugged mountains of northern Italy. Soon after the two men arrived, the Germans launched a counterattack: I managed to get in a dugout during part of the shelling, but when the Krauts started to assault us, I got in a shallow slit trench & started firing. The 10th Mountain Division which was the only WWII U.S. military unit whose wartime skills were turned into a popular civilian pastime. That too proved essential to their subsequent combat record—which truly was one of going “always forward.”, Division commander Major General George Price Hays (top) was awarded a Medal of Honor in the First World War; his new “ski troops” (below) captured the public imagination. “I’ve been keeping something from [you], and I think that I’d better tell you…,” he wrote on March 9. While skis were never used in combat by the 10th Mountain Division, they were use for patrols before the Riva Ridge operation, and at least one of those patrols participated in a brief gun battle after removing their skis and proceeding on foot. The Allies would not be able to advance into northern Italy without clearing the Germans from the adjoining high ground. Here, engineers build a pontoon bridge across the Po River in late April 1945. Some have their arms or legs sticking straight up, nothing is supporting them…. The men of the 85th Regiment—who had been inspired by General Hays’s “always forward” talk—suffered more than half the total American casualties in the battle, with 470 killed and wounded. Photo: Courtesy of AMWS. HUGH W. EVANS, a sergeant in C Company of the 85th, published one of the first accounts of the battle for Mount Belvedere by a participant. But to take the ridge, his men would need to scale those cliffs. (The Denver Public Library, TMD-351-2018-210). It became known as Riva Ridge, for one of the peaks along the ridgeline, 4,672-foot Monte Riva. From his headquarters close to the front line, Hays studied the terrain, aerial photographs, and maps. Crossing the saddle connecting Mount Belvedere and Mount Gorgolesco on February 21, Private Kennerly came across the mangled corpses of men from the 85th’s B Company lying where they had fallen in the assault on Gorgolesco the previous day. The men of the 10th were eager to join the fight against the Nazis. Hays stressed the need for speed and audacity: You must continue to move forward. Next, it covers the development of the installation thru present era. The pep talk helped. Originally activated as the 10th Light Division (Alpine) in 1943, the division was redesignated the 10th Mountain Division in 1944 and fought in Italy’s mountains in some of the roughest terrain in the country. Our objective was taken.” C Company lost seven men killed and 23 wounded in taking Gorgolesco; Sergeant Evans received a Silver Star for his actions that day. (The Denver Public Library, TMD-611). The 10th Division deployed in late 1944, in the Apennine Mountains in northern Italy, where the German army had held its ground on top of Mount Belvedere against the U.S. for almost half the year. Lord George Byron, English romantic poet ("Lara," "Don Juan."). On 15 July 1943, the 10th Light Division (Alpine) was activated, it continued to train for the next year and in November 1944 the division was re-designated as the 10th Mountain Division. The 10th Mountain Division, the first mountain warfare unit in U.S. history, no longer exists as a designated “mountain unit.” Nevertheless, the story of the 10th, which undertook some of the most daring missions in U.S. military history, is nothing short of miraculous. SERIES 3 MILITARY RECORDS 1942-2003 BOX 4-11 The bulk of the material in the series spans 1942 to 1945 and documents the combat experiences of the 10th Mountain Division in Italy. 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