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Ski warfare

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(Redirected from Ski troops)
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Finnish_Soldiers_Skiing.jpg
Finnish troops on skis.

Ski warfare, the use of ski equipped troops in war is first recorded by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus in the 13th century. The speed and distance that ski troops are able to cover has led to parallels being drawn between them and light cavalry.

The Norwegian military have had skiing competitions from the 1670s, and Denmark-Norway ski troops were used by them against Sweden during the 1807-1814 Napoleonic Wars.

During WWI the Italian Army raised 88 Ski Battalions. Of those today only three are still active: the 4°, 5° and 6° Alpini Regiments.

In recent times, ski troops played a key role in retaining Finnish independence from Russia during the Winter War (1939), and from Germany during the Lapland War (1944 - 1945).

Perhaps learning from the Finns, during World War II the Soviet Union deployed several ski battalions, notably in their 1941 counter attack in the Battle of Moscow. During the same war, in Operation Gunnerside commandos dropped by parachute skied long distances in order to reach and destroy a heavy water plant at Telemark, Norway, being used by the Germans as part of their nuclear research programme. Also during WWII, the US Army 10th Mountain Division was activated and trained for ski combat. They were deployed in Italy.

The sport of Biathlon was developed from military skiing patrols.

Many nations now train troops in skiing and winter warfare, including:

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