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1. 22Michael Alexander <email@example.com> 2. Frode Lindgjerdet <fr-lind@FRISURF.NO> -----Message from: 22Michael Alexander <firstname.lastname@example.org>----- The list below seems to miss a few. It probably reflects the fact that those countries which (a) have lots of snow and/or ice in winter, and (b) are very wealthy, tend to win the gold medals. However, (b) has varied a lot throughout history, leading to a somewhat different list. Number one omission is Mongolia: the Mongols preferred to campaign in winter. Then there are China, Japan, several countries in Eastern Europe, India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan (taking that as the origin of Tamerlane and I think Ahmed Shah Masood also). I seem to recall that Chile had some experience also, but not sure about that. Regards Michael Mitchell > http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/spo_win_oly_med_all_tim-winter-olympic-medals-all-time > AustriaCanadaFinlandFranceGermanyItalyNetherlandsNorwayRussia/Soviet > UnionSwedenSwitzerlandUnited States 22Michael Alexander <email@example.com> -----Message from: Frode Lindgjerdet <fr-lind@FRISURF.NO>----- Dear Colleagues: One authority on current winter warfare within NATO would be the Norwegian Winter Warfare School at Rena, for further information: Forsvarets Vinterskole Postmottak 2617 Lillehammer Phone: +47 0502 8160 Here, NATO troops comes to train winter warfare every year. For young conscripts in Norway it has been the delight of generations to watch highly professional and otherwise fit allied soldiers (US Marines, Royal Marines) trying to ski for the first time, falling and squirming helplessly in the snow. Always good for the national self-esteem. Mr. Yarred's literature problem is not of quantity but language, as there are plenty of literature on the subject in Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish. By the way, I just went through a lengthy article from 1938 on the introduction on new winter garments for the Norwegian army. Regarding historical campaigns, it depends on what constitute "winter warfare". Of course, there were some million men freezing it out on the Eastern Front for several seasons, but I can't see that it constitute more than conventional warfare in low temperatures. And sorry to say it all you past and present Marines out there, that goes for the Chosin battle too. Primarily, winter warfare for me means skiing and adapting to the human and technical challenges that comes with operating in snow and sub zero environment. And it starts long before any enlistment. At least in Norway, kids are expected to know how to ski before they start school. I am currently trying to teach my three-year-old son, and it really makes me reflect on traditions of my culture. For thousands of years, these skills have been handed down through the generations, much like the Mongols thought their young to ride a horse I would guess. Skiing has meant mobility and survival in difficult times when one depended on hunting and gathering - and an upper hand in warfare against outsiders. In Scandinavia, winter warfare could be traced back to as long as there are historical records. The Vikings deployed Samí bow men on skis and during a medieval civil war, band of skiers made a famous flight with the child king in 1206 - we still have a memorial race every year to honor them. In modern times, we have had specialized ski units since the latter part of the 17th Century - mainly border patrols during the many wars with Sweden. But the most famous winter campaign after all is the Russo-Finnish War 1939/40 where the Finns really showed how proper adaptation gave the otherwise underdog the upper hand. Without going into details, the battle for Suomussalmis may be especially mentioned. The mechanized Soviets were bound to the roads and they had only one brigade of skitroops in the entire theater. The basic Finnish tactics was called "motti" - literally a pile of uncut firewood. A armored column was stopped at a road block and then skitroops would conduct hit and run attacks, chopping it into pieces that were surrounded and annihilated. Here are some suggested English titles: Robert Edwards, White Death, Russia's War on 1939-1940 Trotter, William R. A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-4 Coates, W. P. & Z: The Russo-Finnish Campaign Engle, E. & Paananen, L: Finland Fights I have only read Edwards, it is fairly well written, but is poorly edited - some paragraphs are actually occurring twice etc... Also, the 1940 German campaign in Norway was conducted under winter conditions. The German sent the 3. Mountain division, but they had neither skis, winter camouflage, proper clothing etc. Such items at to be purged from civilians and captured from Norwegian depots. The Germans were generally better trained, led and motivated than the Soviets were in Finland, which made up for some of these deficiencies. But these deficiencies enabled the Norwegians to hold out for eight weeks against a superior adversary. Most importantly, the Norwegians could transport troops and supplies over the mountains while the Germans were bond to roads, the sea-lanes, the air and the low lands. While the average Norwegian soldier had only 50-70 days of training, (some had none prior to the invasion) a Norwegian that could not ski was simply hard to come by. Most Norwegians in 1940 lived in rural communities. Also the Germans quickly took control over the biggest urban centers, meaning that those who fought them were mostly peasants and men of the woods and mountains. While not trained soldiers, many of them were skilled hunters, excellent marksmen and used to outdoor life. This put its mark on the fighting. While the Norwegians could stay in a position for days and nights, they fled after a day or two of fighting, especially if exposed to artillery and air attacks (with some honorable exceptions however). And they were able to escape due to their skiing abilities. Actually, relatively few Norwegian soldiers were captured by the Germans in combat. The Norwegians also had difficulties in coordinating units bigger than a company and conducting offensive maneuvering. In contrast, the allies landing at Aandalsnes, Namsos and Narvik area were even more helpless than the Germans. Though the Brits did some very impressive snow wading. The Germans had only contempt for them, but admired the Norwegians for their skiing, marksmanship and their ability to camouflage. Most of all they were famous for their head shot. Here are some suggestions for literature on the Norwegian campaign: Derry, T. K: The Campaign in Norway Kersuady, Francois: Norway 1940 Moulton, J. I: The Norwegian Campaign of 1940 Ash, Bernard: Norway 1940 Waage, Johan: The Narvik Campaign Another aspect of winter warfare worth mentioning is special operations, most famous being the heavy water sabotage conducted by Norwegian SOE personnel 1942-44. Special survival skills in winter conditions enabled the establishment of bases in remote, secure areas. Also, it helped the saboteurs escape pursuing German patrols. Tip of the day: stomach content of reindeer in winter contains half-digested lichen, rich in vitamin C, a goodie for troops otherwise susceptible to scurvy. Off the top of my head, here are some basic challenges that otherwise professional troops run into during wintertime: * Know how to ski! * Do not shave if being exposed to temperatures below - 36 Fahrenheit over the next 3-4 hours, it feels like a cat is stuck to your face and increase the danger of frostbite. * Wear clean dry clothes, preferably wool. Make adjustments. Too much clothing makes you sweat, dehydrate and colder when physical activity winds down. * Eat and drink well. Fat and salt food is especially important. Hot drink, hot food. * Know your stove (Swedish Primus 1000 rules!), it keeps you warm and gives you drinking water and food The kerosene stove is your best friend, but it can also kill you (CO-poisoning). Ensure flame is bright blue, the stove is clean and pressure is maintained. * Always ensure water is being melted at all times for drink. Watch your comrades, neglect kills. Shoe maintainance - very important. Plastic in wet boots is fantastic, but only for a short time (trench foot). * Do not be gung ho in sub zero temperatures. Many macho men have shed their toes, cheeks, noses and fingers unnecessarily in the mountains. * Go to the bathroom! Serious danger of constipation in cold weather, also makes you lose heat faster. * Remember sunglasses to prevent snow blindness. * Use body lotion - dry skin is easily damaged by cold and loses heat fast. * Sun bloc also important. Snow reflects sunrays and the ozon layer may be thin in arctic environments. Serious risk of sun burns. * Technical stuff: diesel engines clogs if not heated, oil thickens. Remember spirits to keep automatic weapons working. Keep snow away from the muzzle and breech - if fired gun may explode. * When performing first aid - wounded personnel have poor ability to maintain body heat- cold can kill faster than wounds. Common routines like keeping feet high can lead cold blood to the heart and cause cardiac arrest In Norway we have the famous "Texas-Siberia"-routine. Every evening in the field, the squad leader inspect weapons to ensure the are cleaned and oiled (Texas) - and in winter, checks the men's feet. Look for white spots that indicate frost bites and gently prick under the sole and toes to ensure that sense are intact. Also, talk to the men to pick up if anyone is becoming cold and apathetic and neglect eating, drinking and clothing etc. Frode Lindgjerdet, Archivist, Freelance Historian Norwegian Home Guard Frode Lindgjerdet <fr-lind@FRISURF.NO> ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----