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The Boys of Winter is the poignant true story of three young Depression-era American ski champions and their brutal, heroic, and ultimately tragic transformation from athletes to infantrymen with the fabled 10th Mountain Division. Rudy Konieczny, Jacob Nunnemacher, and Ralph Bromaghin -- three skiers from disparate geographic and economic backgrounds -- forged names for themselves in the burgeoning sport of snow skiing during the late 1930s. With the world suddenly at war, they found themselves drawn together with several of the world's greatest winter athletes in the US 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale, Colorado, where they trained to fight Hitler's troops in the mountains of Europe. Drawing on dozens of interviews and extensive historical research, Charles J Sanders reveals the stories of these young men in a fast-paced and exhilarating narrative. training at Mount Rainier and in the Colorado Rockies to bloody battles against the Nazis in the Apennine Mountains of Northern Italy. Ultimately, The Boys of Winter is the story of how some of America's best and brightest died in the war's last and most desperate battles under General Mark Clark, calling into question their sacrifices -- and those of thousands of other troops -- on the 'forgotten' Italian front in the spring of 1945.
Few stories from the "greatest generation" are as unforgettable -- or as little known -- as that of the 10th Mountain Division. Today a versatile light infantry unit deployed around the world, the 10th began in 1941 as a crew of civilian athletes with a passion for mountains and snow. In this vivid history, adventure writer Peter Shelton follows the unique division from its conception on a Vermont ski hill, through its dramatic World War II coming-of-age, to the ultimate revolution it inspired in American outdoor life.In the late-1930s United States, rock climbing and downhill skiing were relatively new sports. But World War II brought a need for men who could handle extreme mountainous conditions -- and the elite 10th Mountain Division was born. Everything about it was unprecedented: It was the sole U.S. Army division trained on snow and rock, the only division ever to grow out of a sport. It had an un-matched number of professional athletes, college scholars, and potential officer candidates, and as the last U.S. division to enter the war in Europe, it suffered the highest number of casualties per combat day. This is the 10th's surprising, suspenseful, and often touching story.Drawing on years of interviews and research, Shelton re-creates the ski troops' lively, extensive, and sometimes experimental training and their journey from boot camp to the Italian Apennines. There, scaling a 1,500-foot "unclimbable" cliff face in the dead of night, they stunned their enemy and began the eventual rout of the German armies from northern Italy.It was a self-selecting elite, a brotherhood in sport and spirit. And those who survived (including the Sierra Club's David Brower, Aspen Skiing Corporation founder Friedl Pfeifer, and Nike cofounder Bill Bowerman, who developed the waffle-sole running shoe) turned their love of mountains into the thriving outdoor industry that has transformed the way Americans see (and play in) the natural world.
Putnam's account of his experiences as a member of the 10th Mountain Div., the first & only mountain warfare unit of the U.S. Army. In WW II, the elite Mountain Troops were sent to break the German Gothic Line in the Apennine Mountains of Italy. Brilliantly led, they fought their way northward with magnificent dash, seizing control of ten mountain crests. Their determined drive broke the German resistance & brought on the first large-scale enemy surrender of the war. They were much celebrated & studied after the war for their striking success & spirit in the field. The ski troopers were conceived in 1940 & demobilized in 1945. Photos.
Cossin describes his Olympic heroes coming from Europe to join the American 10th Mountain Division. He shows his admiration for the rugged old platoon sergeant who punished and tempered soldiers for war. He shows his sincerity about Army training. He describes the horror of combat from close observation. He describes a common, easy way of knocking out nine enemy trucks in the dark of night. He describes a way of tricking his enemy. He also describes how he and his friends were tricked by the enemy. He showed how his general used trickery to capture a mountain. He was an American soldier, a combat infantry veteran of two separate wars: the 10th Mountain Infantry Division in W. W. II in the Italian Alps. He was a two-year occupation soldier in Japan from 1948 to 1950. He was a combat infantry soldier of the 24th Infantry Division in Korea. He was a prisoner of war in Korea for three years from July 1950 to August 1953. He was subjected not only to physical suffering but also to intense psychological pressures.
When World War II broke out in Europe, the American army had no specialized division of mountain soldiers. But in the winter of 1939-40, after a tiny band of Finnish mountain troops brought the invading Soviet army to its knees, an amateur skier named Charles Minot "Minnie" Dole convinced the United States Army to let him recruit an extraordinary assortment of European expatriates, wealthy ski bums, mountaineers, and thrill-seekers and form them into a unique band of Alpine soldiers. These men endured nearly three years of grueling training in the Colorado Rockies and in the process set new standards for both soldiering and mountaineering. The newly forged 10th Mountain Division finally faced combat in the winter of 1945, in Italy's Apennine Mountains, against the seemingly unbreakable German fortifications north of the Gothic Line. There, they planned and executed what is still regarded as the most daring series of nighttime mountain attacks in U.S. military history, taking Mount Belvedere and the sheer, treacherous face of Riva Ridge to smash the linchpin of the German army's lines. Drawing on unique cooperation from veterans of the 10th Mountain Division and a vast archive of unpublished letters and documents, The Last Ridge is written with enormous warmth, energy, and honesty. This is one of the most captivating stories of World War II, a blend of Band of Brothers and Into Thin Air. It is a story of young men asked to do the impossible, and succeeding.
Here is the story of the 10th Mountain Division, the only U.S. troops specially trained for mountain warfare. Vivid personal accounts, including a Foreword by 10th veteran Sen. Bob Dole, and an outstanding collection of rare photos breathe life into the memories and pay tribute to the heroes who fought and died in WWII.