Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project Home

Saturday Evening Post, 1945

Saturday Evening Post, Dec 1945, p. 26 - Thruelsen, Richard, "The 10th Caught it All at Once"

When the 10th arrived at the Italian front, German Intelligence announced, "The 10th Mountain Division is here. Be triply alert, for it is a crack outfit." The author describes the division's training and the deployment of the 87th Regiment to Kiska in the Aleutians. Following Kiska, and more training at Camp Hale, the 10th moved to Camp Swift, Texas, where Maj. Gen. George P. Hays took command. "A Medal of Honor general officer is a curiosity. To this highest decoration, Hays had added two Silver Stars for gallantry, the Croix de Guerre with Palm, the Legion of Honor and the Purple Heart. The 10th was justifiably impressed when he addressed them for the first time."

In Italy, the author describes the push to capture the Belvedere group and the period that followed. "For two months the 10th fought a static battle, almost within sight of its objective. The surge north was slow, at times almost imperceptible. But there was fighting for every foot of the terrain. Most of the action was at night... At night, each side infiltrated into the other's positions and the war was on again."

On April 14, 1945, the 10th began its second big push, toward the Po Valley. There is a personal account by Pfc. Richard Ryan of I Company, 85th Regiment. After a week of bitter fighting through eighteen miles of mountain strong points, the 10th walked out of the foothills of the Apennines onto the flat land of the Po Valley. The author describes the crossing of the Po and the final advance up Lake Garda toward Brenner Pass, at which point the German armies in Italy gave up. "The 10th had broken two of the strongest defense lines of the Italian campaign and completely destroyed five German divisions in the process." General Von Senger, of the 14th Panzer Corps, upon surrendering in Italy, declared the 10th was the best division he had faced on the Russian, Sicilian or Italian front.

On p. 27 is a fine photo of a combat ski patrol in Italy.

Return to the Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project home page

Copyright © 2002 Lowell Skoog. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated: Wed Dec 30 16:18:49 PST 2009