99th Infantry Battalion training - Norway 2020
Between the 30th of january and the 2nd of february, 2 of our members travelled to Norway for a winter training weekend. This was meant as a try-out and see what the what the possibilities may be for American Patrol next year.
The idea of a winter training event came to be during the famed Armored Tours organised by the 2nd Armored in Europe. This is where we met Bjørn, a re-enactor from Norway who has set up a annual event called "Camp Hale 1943". The goal of this event is to re-enact the training period of the 99th Infantry Battalion (sep).
The 99th was made up entirely of Norwegian-Americans, with to goal to be deployed to Norway. Considering that they would be facing Norway's rugged terrain and arctic conditions during the winter months, they would need to be trained accordingly.
For this reason the 99th trained alongside the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale, Colorado. During this period, lasting from late 1942 to mid-1943, the battalion trained in skiing, mountaineering and general operations in mountain and arctic conditions.
Except for 80 or so OSS volunteers, the 99th wouldn't see Norway until after the war for occupation duty. They were however deployed to france during the battle of Normandy and fought their way through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. Famously holding the line against the infamous Kampfgruppe Peiper during the Battle of the Bulge.
During our own training weekend we slept a night in the snow in a small dugout and performed several ski marches on the old wooden skis. Although it was the warmest winter in Norway ever recorded, there was still up to waist deep snow in the Telemark mountains. This region is famous for the destruction of the heavy water plant by Norwegian commandos in 1943, preventing the germans from developing atomic weapons. We had the chance to visit the plant and its museum near Vemork, which we'd highly recommend. Several other interesting locations were also visited, like the location of the cabin where the destruction of plant was set up and lake Tin. This is the lake on which the last batch of heavy water transported by a ferry was blown up by Norwegian resistance fighters.
We had an amazing time in Norway and we sincerely thank Bjørn for arranging this weekend for us. We'd highly encourage fellow reenactors to attend the Camp Hale Winter Training event near Skien, Norway. Hopefully we'll be visiting Norway with more members and equipment next time.
Geschreven door PFC. Ramirez