Tuesday, May 31, 2016

10th Mountain Division in Formation at Camp Hale

View taken from above looking down at Camp Hale, Colorado, showing 10 columns of men in formation and an honor guard, 1943 or 1944. Probably this parade included the most of the members of the U.S. 10th Mountain Division then in training. Vistors and their cars are parked on the farside of the field to view the formation parade. The photograph also provides a good view of the barracks and what appears to be the mule barns.  In 1942, Pando, Colorado, was a two-room train depot situated in the picturesque Eagle Park valley. By January 1943, an army camp filled the valley and was receiving the first men of the 10th Mountain Division for instruction in mountain and winter warfare, mountaineering, skiing and rock climbing. In less than eight months, the camp grew to accommodate a full U.S. Army Division of 14,000 men. On Maneuvers Ski troops trained in the Rockies at altitudes up to 14,000 feet, often under brutal weather conditions and for weeks at a time. As if nature were not enough of a challenge, the men carried rucksacks sometimes weighing as much as 90 lbs. Tents were home to 10th Mountain Division soldiers while on maneuvers. Thin fabric provided the only shelter from the elements. Rock Climbing was an important element of Divisional training. While some soldiers were recruited for their rock-climbing and mountaineering skills, the majority received specialized training. Mountains and rock formations around Camp Hale provided the ideal classroom for the soldiers. The training proved essential as troops from the 86th Regiment would make a night climb to capture German-held Riva Ridge in the Apennine Mountains of northern Italy.

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