Ski warfare

Muscovite campaign against the Lithuanians, a painting by Sergei Ivanov (1903).
A Norwegian soldier on skis 1801.
Imperial Japanese Army ski troops on maneuveurs in Chishima Islands, circa 1940
Finnish ski troops in Northern Finland during the Winter War in January 1940.
German Gebirgsjäger with skis in 1942.
Skiing Birkebeiners.

Use of ski-equipped troops in war.

- Ski warfare

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10th Mountain Division

Light infantry division in the United States Army based at Fort Drum, New York.

10th Mountain Division Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
Brigadier General Lloyd E. Jones observes troops land at Amchitka Island during the Aleutians Campaign, shortly before assuming command of the 10th Light Division.
A machine gunner and two riflemen of Company "K" of the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, cover an assault squad routing Germans out of a building in the background. Sassomolare Area, Italy. Porretta Moderna Highway. March 4, 1945.
Elements of the 10th Mountain Division advancing in Italy in April 1945.
Members of the 86th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, march north, near Malcesine, on Lake Garda, without meeting any resistance, April 29, 1945.
10th Mountain Division (Light) 1989 (click to enlarge)
Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division sweep a Somali village for weapons in 1993.
Members of the 10th Mountain Division with President George H. W. Bush, January 1993.
Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division secure Port-au-Prince International Airport in 1994.
10th Mountain Soldier on patrol in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province.
Soldiers of the 350th Tactical Psychological Operations, 10th Mountain Division drop propaganda leaflets over a village near Hawija, Iraq in March 2008.
A soldier with the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division smokes a cigarette in the early morning at an observation post. Tangi Valley, Wardak Province, Afghanistan
10th Mountain Division troops from the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry hike through Kunar Province.
1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment infantry engaging Taliban.
10th Mountain Soldiers during an operation in Logar Province.
Plaque in honor of 10th Mountain Division at Seneca Rocks, WV.
Organization of the 10th Mountain Division in 2021

In November 1939, two months after World War II broke out in Europe, during the Soviet Union's invasion of Finland, Red Army efforts were frustrated following the destruction of two armored divisions by Finnish soldiers on skis.


Use of skis to glide on snow.

Alpine skiers
Spring ski touring on Hardangervidda, Norway
Four groups of different ski types, from left to right:
1. Non-sidecut: cross-country, telemark and mountaineering 2. Parabolic
3. Twin-tip
4. Powder
Giant Slalom Ski Racer
Freestyle switch 720 mute grab
A ski jumper using the V-style
Cross country skiing—free-style or skate-skiing
Dry slope racing
A skier with a disability on a sit-ski, using two outriggers.

Military ski races were held in Norway during the 18th century, and ski warfare was studied in the late 18th century.


The Alpini are the Italian Army's specialist mountain infantry.

Alpini of the 7th Alpini Regiment
Cap insignia of Alpini.
A Cappello Alpino of a Combat Engineer of the Alpini Corps: with raven feather, amaranth Nappina, (tuft) and the coat of the 2° Engineer Regiment.
A pair of Fiamme Verdi collar patches
Life size image of a Nappina
Alpini in the frontline trenches on the Monte Corno
Italian positions on Cinque Torri summit today.
Col di Lana after the detonation of the Italian mine.
Corporal, Louis Celotti. ca. 1925 (note the Cappello Alpino under his left arm)
Alpino Della Mora Gelindo in WWII full dress uniform
Sergeant Giovannucci Verino in WWII battle uniform
An Alpino speaks with a German officer during the campaign in Yugoslavia.
Structure of the 4th Alpine Army Corps 1986 (click to enlarge)
Recruiting areas of the five post-war Alpini brigades
Alpini of the 217th Anti-Tank Company with a Spike anti-tank missile, "Saluzzo" Battalion, 2nd Alpini Regiment
8th Alpini Regiment Heavy Mortar Platoon on exercise
Collar Patches worn by Alpinis today
Alpini from the 4th Alpini Regiment in Afghanistan
Alpini Sappers of the 32nd Alpine Engineer Regiment in Afghanistan
Alpini from the 7th Alpini Regiment on exercise

Climbing and skiing became essential skills for the troops of both sides and soon ski battalions and special climbing units were formed.

Winter War

War between the Soviet Union and Finland.

A Finnish Maxim M/09-21 machine gun crew during the Winter War
Geopolitical status in Northern Europe in November 1939
A Soviet propaganda postcard from 1940 saying "the fascist dog growls" in reference to the Finnish White Guard (Шюцкор), the paramilitary forces that had a role in defeating the socialist Reds during the Finnish Civil War.
The Soviet–Finnish Non-Aggression Pact was signed by Aarno Yrjö-Koskinen and Maxim Litvinov in Moscow 1932.
Rybachy Peninsula in 2008. The Soviet Union demanded for the peninsula, the northernmost point of Finland at the time, to be ceded, along with other areas, to protect Soviet assets.
Finnish soldiers gather breakfast from a field kitchen during "additional refresher training" at the Karelian Isthmus, on 10 October 1939.
29 November 1939, foreign journalists at Mainila, where a border incident between Finland and the Soviet Union escalated into the Winter War.
January 1940, Soldier from the Finnish People's Army.
Dense forests of Ladoga Karelia at Kollaa. A Soviet tank on the road in the background according to the photographer.
Offensives of the four Soviet armies from 30 November to 22 December 1939 displayed in red
Fire at the corner of Lönnrotinkatu and Abrahaminkatu Streets in Helsinki after Soviet aerial bombing of Helsinki on 30 November 1939
Vyacheslav Molotov signs an agreement between the Soviet Union and the Finnish Democratic Republic in front of Joseph Stalin in 1939. Otto Wille Kuusinen, the prime minister and head of the Terijoki government, on the right side of the picture, behind Molotov.
The situation on 7 December: Soviets have reached the Mannerheim Line on the Karelian Isthmus.
Soviet tracks at Kianta Lake, Suomussalmi during a Finnish pursuit in December 1939. Nordic combined skier Timo Murama is pictured.
Soviet T-26 Model 1937 "advancing aggressively", as described by the photographer, on the eastern side of Kollaa River during the battle of Kollaa
Simo Häyhä, the legendary Finnish sniper, known as "the White Death" by Soviets.
Battles in Ladoga Karelia, north of Lake Ladoga: the attack of the Soviet 8th Army was halted at the Finnish defensive line on 12 December 1939.
Dead Soviet soldiers and their equipment at Raate Road, Suomussalmi, after being encircled at the Battle of Raate Road
A Finnish soldier examines a Soviet tuba found among the many musical instruments that the destroyed 44th Division was carrying for a victory parade to be held in a vanquished Finland.
Soviet prisoners of war dressed with new clothes near the Arctic Circle at Rovaniemi in January 1940.
A Finnish soldier on guard near Kemijärvi in February 1940.
March 1940, a Finnish Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV bomber of the No. 44 Squadron refuelling at its air base on a frozen lake in Tikkakoski. On the fuselage is the swastika, which the Finnish Air Force had adopted as their symbol in 1918. Despite the likeness, it was not a Nazi design but was based on the personal owner; Eric von Rosen had donated the first aircraft to the Air Force.
Finnish officers inspecting Soviet skiing manuals gained as loot from the Battle of Suomussalmi
Situation on the Karelian Isthmus on 13 March 1940, the last day of the war
11:45 a.m. on 13 March 1940. Finnish soldiers retreating at Viipuri to the demarcation line.
Finland's territorial concessions to the Soviet Union displayed in red
Franco-British support was offered on the condition their forces could pass freely from Narvik through neutral Norway and Sweden instead of the difficult passage through Soviet-occupied Petsamo
Viipuri Cathedral was heavily damaged during the Winter War and never repaired. Viipuri itself was ceded to the Soviet Union.
A Winter War monument at Suomussalmi, Finland, containing a rock for every soldier who died at the Battle of Suomussalmi: 750 Finnish and an estimated 24,000 Soviet
The memorial stone for the soldiers of the Winter War and the Continuation War in Loppi, Finland
A monument devoted to the victims of the Soviet–Finnish War 1939–1940 in St. Petersburg
According to the 23 August 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact "the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)" were divided into German and Soviet "spheres of influence" (German copy)

The Finns dressed in layers, and the ski troopers wore a lightweight white snow cape.

Norwegian heavy water sabotage

Series of Allied-led efforts to halt German heavy water production via hydroelectric plants in Nazi Germany-occupied Norway during World War II, involving both Norwegian commandos and Allied bombing raids.

Vemork hydroelectric power plant, circa 1947
Experimental apparatus with which chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered the nuclear fission of uranium in 1938
Heavy water made by Norsk Hydro
Reconstruction of the Operation Gunnerside team planting explosives to destroy the cascade of electrolysis chambers
The SF Hydro at Mæl in 1925
The plant in 2008
Première of Operation Swallow: The Battle for Heavy Water (Kampen om tungtvannet) on 5 February 1948 (from left) Knut Haukelid, Joachim Rønneberg, Jens-Anton Poulsson (shaking hands with King Haakon VII), and Kasper Idland

Although 3,000 German soldiers were dispatched to search the area for the commandos, all escaped; five commandos escaped by skiing 322 km to Sweden, two proceeded to Oslo (where they assisted Milorg), and four remained in the region for further resistance work.

Cold-weather warfare

Cold-weather warfare, also known as arctic warfare or winter warfare, encompasses military operations affected by snow, ice, thawing conditions or cold, both on land and at sea.

Royal Marine reservists training for winter operations
The 1658 March Across the Belts in the Second Northern War
Italian mountain troops in WWI
Finnish ski troops during the 1939 Winter War
Rime ice on a 20 in signal projector on the cruiser, HMS Sheffield (C24), escorting a 1941 Arctic convoy to the Soviet Union in World War II
Frostbitten hand with gangrene, suffered by a Japanese soldier in the Sino-Japanese War, winter of 1894–5
German troops extricating vehicle from the November 1941 mud in the Eastern Front
Improvised shelter around a fir tree, adapted from the 1942 German Taschenbuch für den Winterkrieg
Soviet gunner providing covering fire during the 1941 Battle of Moscow
The principal mountain ranges of the world
Cooling power of wind, expressed as an equivalent chill temperature under calm conditions
Royal Navy Merlin Mk3 helicopter, operating in heavy snow at the Bardufoss Air Station, Norway.
Russian T-80 main battle tank maneuvering in thawing conditions
A Swedish Bandvagn 206 small unit support vehicle
Rates of march for unit movement in snow
Diagram for creating a tank trap on ice, adapted from the Taschenbuch für den Winterkrieg
Austro-Hungarian ski patrol on Italian Front in snow camouflage, 1915–1918
US Army transport vehicles during the Battle of the Bulge
Cross section of a snow-covered trench for troop emplacement, adapted from the 1942 German Taschenbuch für den Winterkrieg
Military poster on preventing trench foot
Unit of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force training with an 81 mm mortar
Russian cadets training for Arctic conditions
Austrian mountain troops on snowshoes
American sailors clearing ice from ship topsides
Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN 757) surfacing through 2 ft of Arctic ice
Russian Akula-class submarine of the Northern Fleet submarine base at Gadzhiyevo in the Murmansk Oblast
A bivouac of Napoleon's army during retreat from Russia in 1812
Japanese troops during the 1895 Battle of Weihaiwei
Norwegian Leopard 1A1 tanks participating in a 1982 NATO exercise.
Humvees with BGM-71 TOW anti-tank weapons systems in Norway during Operation Cold Winter '87.
The 202nd Air Defence Brigade in the Western Military District in Russia loading S-300V surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) in 2012.
Air assault by Japanese ski troops in winter camouflage

The Finnish Army used ski troops during the Winter War and the Second World War, where the numerically superior, but road-bound Soviet forces were vulnerable to attack by mobile, white-clad ski troops, approaching from untracked, frozen terrain.


1941 marked the entrance of the Soviet Union and the United States into World War II for the Allies.

USS Arizona (BB-39) ablaze after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
Hayao Miyazaki
Joan Baez
Faye Dunaway
Plácido Domingo
Neil Diamond
Dick Cheney
Nick Nolte
Sergio Mendes
Bruno Ganz
Richard Dawkins
Eric Braeden
Michael D. Higgins
Ryan O'Neal
Eric Burdon
Senta Berger
Goh Chok Tong
Bob Dylan
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King Alfonso XIII of Spain
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Virginia Woolf
Hans Berger
Lou Gehrig
Wilhelm II
Louis Chevrolet
Rabindranath Tagore
Maximilian Kolbe
Hans Spemann
Chris Watson
Pedro Aguirre Cerda

As the Battle of Moscow begins, temperatures around Moscow drop to −12 °C, and the Soviet Union launches ski troops for the first time, against the freezing German forces near the city.

Asymmetric warfare

Term given to describe a type of war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly.

A Viet Cong base camp being burned during the Vietnam War. An American private first class (PFC) stands by.
Oil-drum roadside IED in Northern Ireland removed from culvert in 1984
Remnants of rifles used by Filipino soldiers during the War on display at Clark Museum
Improvised molotov cocktails
This Cougar in Al Anbar, Iraq, was hit by a directed charge IED approximately 300 – in size.

Winter War – Finland was invaded by the much larger mechanized military units of the Soviet Union. Although the Soviets captured 8% of Finland, they suffered enormous casualties versus much lower losses for the Finns. Soviet vehicles were confined to narrow forest roads by terrain and snow, while the Finns used ski tactics around them unseen through the trees. They cut the advancing Soviet column into what they called motti (a cubic metre of firewood), and then destroyed the cut off sections one by one. Many of the Soviets were shot by snipers, had their throats cut from behind, or froze to death due to inadequate clothing and lack of camouflage and shelter. The Finns also devised a petrol bomb they called the Molotov cocktail to destroy Soviet tanks.

Leadville, Colorado

Statutory city that is the county seat, the most populous community, and the only incorporated municipality in Lake County, Colorado, United States.

Leadville, as viewed from California Gulch - early photo, date unknown
Circa 1880 - Description reads: "Cabinet Card Photograph of the Silver Mining Boomtown of Leadville, Colorado". The photograph is titled "Capitol Hill Leadville" in manuscript on the reverse. The image looks down on the center of Leadville with the "Eighth Avenue Motel" visible at the center of the photo. Extensive mining works can be seen on the hill that rises on the far side of the town.
Bird's eye view of Leadville, Colo. 1882
Interior of the Tabor Opera House
Matchless mine and Baby Doe Tabor cabin
Crystalline gold specimen from the Little Johnny Mine, Breece Hill, Leadville mining district
Climax molybdenum mine, Colorado, circa 1924 (USGS photo)
Mart J. Duggan
Poker Alice Ivers
Doc Holliday at age 20
Gold (Little Jonny Mine - Leadville, Colorado)
Leadville in the 1950s
Mount Massive and Leadville from 6th Street
Old Queen Anne Victorian style house, Leadville (Marion Post Wolcott, photographer)
Ice Palace, Leadville, Colorado, 1896
"Yachting at Leadville, Col." Stereoscopic view, around 1880
View of Mount Massive looking west from Harrison Avenue in downtown Leadville
Mosquito Pass
Aerial view of Lake County Airport and Leadville, December 2006
Leadville Historic Colorado and Southern Railroad Station - photo taken in 2007
Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad excursion line

It was a U.S. Army ski warfare training facility constructed in 1942 for what became the 10th Mountain Division.

Sweden during World War II

[[File:Sweden locator map 1942.svg|thumb|300px|Sweden's location in Europe, 1942

Ådalen shootings. This picture of the demonstration was taken before the military opened fire.
Swedish Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson declared Sweden neutral on 1 September 1939
Gay Viking one of the high speed boats used as blockade runners for the ball bearing trade
Franco-British support was offered to Finland on the condition it was given free passage through neutral Norway and Sweden instead of taking the road from Soviet-occupied Petsamo.
Swedish soldier during World War II
Mälsåker Castle was a Norwegian Military academy during World War II (photograph taken in 2007)
A German V-2 rocket.
Baltic and German soldiers being extradited from a prison camp in Eksjö

They had the option to buy additional materials such as skis, sweaters and marching boots.