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Old 09-02-2011   #21
Fuchs
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It takes six weeks to acclimatise in high mountains. Few exercises are along enough for that - and even if they are, the first 4-6 weeks are going to be ####ty.
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Old 09-02-2011   #22
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Default Atmospheric pressure doesn’t care how mentally tough you are.

I lived at 2350 meters for a year in Central America. A couple of days after my arrival I was invited in on a game of pick-up football with the members of a catechism class. Despite being in reasonable condition, about five minutes later I was feeling a kind of pain I had never known before. And 2350 meters isn’t really that high!

Acetazolamide can help acclimatization but it isn’t a Golden Hammer. Being in Royal Marine condition at sea level would certainly speed acclimatization but no more than that. Seems a lot of time and money to spend on an exercise which was bound to fail.
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Last edited by ganulv; 09-02-2011 at 04:05 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-02-2011   #23
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Well, the Royal Marines were on their way home from Astan when this exercise happened and IIRC Marines train in Norway for arctic warfare but then Snowy plains of Norway are no Himalayas. I agree with Fuchs, not sure about 6 weeks though. During Kargil, Indian Army's non mountain infantry were acclimatized for 15 days. Brig Ray may know better.
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Old 09-02-2011   #24
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Altitude sickness is one of the reasons why India has such a high number of troops stationed high up in the Himalaya. As Ganulv worte, the thin air doesn't care how tough and mentally strong you are.

Every decent alpinist who has climbed in the Himalaya or other really high mountains (should) know the various procedures. The usually tight schedules of tourists for climbs like the Kilimanjaro are not quite ideal, and many suffer accordingly. IIRC in the Kargil conflict some Indian units suffered due to military necessity a quick rush up from the plains to the higher regions, with similar results. Every rushed meter of altitude increases the pain and the risks.

As usual it all depends on context, training and then especially one the T's of METT-TC. Maybe it should be spelled out fully as METWTS-TC, as the importance of weather and support is great indeed, as the mountain warfare has shown in the last hundred years.

Last edited by Firn; 09-02-2011 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 09-02-2011   #25
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Altitude sickness is one of the reasons why India has such a high number of troops stationed high up in the Himalaya. As Ganulv worte, the thin air doesn't care how tough and mentally strong you are.

Every decent alpinist who has climbed in the Himalaya or other really high mountains (should) know the various procedures. The usually tight schedules of tourists for climbs like the Kilimanjaro are not quite ideal, and many suffer accordingly. IIRC in the Kargil conflict some Indian units suffered due to military necessity a quick rush up from the plains to the higher regions, with similar results.

As usual it all depends on context, training and then especially one the T's of METT-TC. Maybe it should be spelled out METWTS-TC, as the importance of weather and support is especially great, as the mountain warfare has shown in the last hundred years.

Yes, initially when the mobilization was not fully completed IA units from plains were called in since most mountain units were engaged on the eastern border with China. Thus, they suffered from altitude sickness and other problems but as soon as the brass realized this, they initiated acclimatization program for the rest of the troops. So, now Indian Army has a policy to impart mountain warfare training to every infantry soldier, mountain unit or not. My cousin is a Major in artillery regiment and his first posting after his commission was to man a post at 3000m on LOC.

Most western armies don't need to emphasize on mountain warfare as it does not fit the criteria for their area of operations. Like Indian Army and Navy were never too interested in raising a Marine divison.
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Old 09-02-2011   #26
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Though it's been 20 years (good god!!), the Mountain Warfare School at CP Ethan Allen in VT was pretty damn good. Two phases, summer and winter with each phase lasting two weeks. After completion of both phases, one is awarded the Ram's Head device, only authorized for wear in Vermont.

The Army's mountain/ winter warfare school in in Alaska and is 6-weeks long. Don't know much about it since I've neer been there but I'm told it's pretty good.

Last I knew, the only unit in the 86th IBCT that was an actual mountain unit was 3-172d INF...had lead climbers, assault climbers, etc. Not sure if that's the case now.

It'd be great if every one of our light infantry brigades had at least one company dedicated as a mountain unit. It's great that we send so many of our joe's to jump school but mountain training has a more practical application.
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Old 09-07-2011   #27
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Quote:
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I agree with Fuchs, not sure about 6 weeks though. During Kargil, Indian Army's non mountain infantry were acclimatized for 15 days. Brig Ray may know better.
I guess it may be an issue of semantics. Does ‘acclimatize’ imply nothing beyond “no more altitude sickness at a given altitude” or does it imply “optimized for a given altitude”?

From Zubieta-Calleja, et al.’s article “Altitude adaptation through hematocrit change”:

Quote:
Adaptation = Time/Altitude, where High altitude adaptation factor = Time at altitude (days)/Altitude in kilometers (km). The time in days required to achieve full adaptation to any altitude, ascending from sea level, can be calculated by multiplying the adaptation factor of 11.4 times the altitude in km.
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Old 09-07-2011   #28
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My understanding is that the 10th Mountain Division carries the <Mountain> designation for reasons related to its history rather than as a description of its contemporary capabilities ...
Generals probably think that mountain fighting is now less important than in the past. How else can this be explained?

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Old 09-07-2011   #29
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Generals probably think that mountain fighting is now less important than in the past. How else can this be explained?
With a preference for expensive hardware solutions. The 101st (helicopter mobile) division was probably the real U.S. mountain division for a long time.
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Old 09-07-2011   #30
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With a preference for expensive hardware solutions. The 101st (helicopter mobile) division was probably the real U.S. mountain division for a long time.
Not likely.
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Old 09-07-2011   #31
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We've had the reactivated 10th Mountain Division for around two decades, but I doubt they are trained up to the same standards of the World War II outfit. Still, I have to wonder whether their mountain-climbing training was really put into practice very frequently in Italy during '44-'45 -- did they really have to go up and down on ropes on cliffs as a matter of course?

This special training thing might be a bit like the Airborne philosophy -- it's not as much about the efficacy of large-scale parachute drops in combat today or rock-climbing, it's about the motivation level of the guys who volunteer for that kind of thing in the first place, and the "Never Quit" attitude they have.
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Old 09-07-2011   #32
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Still, I have to wonder whether their mountain-climbing training was really put into practice very frequently in Italy during '44-'45 -- did they really have to go up and down on ropes on cliffs as a matter of course?
That’s one of those “Hopefully, never!” things, right? For example, even if the EOD guys have never once been called to urgently disarm a nuclear weapon I still think it is worth the trouble to train them to be able to!
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Old 09-08-2011   #33
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Quote:
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We've had the reactivated 10th Mountain Division for around two decades, but I doubt they are trained up to the same standards of the World War II outfit. Still, I have to wonder whether their mountain-climbing training was really put into practice very frequently in Italy during '44-'45 -- did they really have to go up and down on ropes on cliffs as a matter of course?

This special training thing might be a bit like the Airborne philosophy -- it's not as much about the efficacy of large-scale parachute drops in combat today or rock-climbing, it's about the motivation level of the guys who volunteer for that kind of thing in the first place, and the "Never Quit" attitude they have.
Of course the 10th Mountain isn't trained to the same standards. That was a "heritage" naming that coincided with some of the light division ideas...rather like the 101st still being called airborne in some instances when in fact it's not or the 1st Cavalry Division (which is of course an armored division).
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Old 09-08-2011   #34
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I was in 7th ID in '82-'84 when the light division concept was first floated. The light TO&E was designed to fit within a certain number of C-141 sorties, 600 or so. So far so good, but what happens when they get there?

The World War II idea of attaching heavy battalions to infantry divisions seems like a good idea, particularly when they habitually train together. The old light ID concept would have been better had there been a cavalry troop (or two or three with a squadron HQ) that could have deployed with them by air, with tank and 155 howitzer battalions being sent by ship for arrival later.
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Old 09-08-2011   #35
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The World War II idea of attaching heavy battalions to infantry divisions seems like a good idea, particularly when they habitually train together. The old light ID concept would have been better had there been a cavalry troop (or two or three with a squadron HQ) that could have deployed with them by air, with tank and 155 howitzer battalions being sent by ship for arrival later.
Even better: Have small combined arms armoured recce battalions and let them train with reservist infantry battalions from time to time - using updated assault gun tactics.
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Old 09-08-2011   #36
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The light infantry concept of the early 1980s came about when the situation in El Salvador and Nicaragua was going on.

Nicaragua had some light armor but not much, so a light force might have been all that was needed. It could be that the light TO&E was designed for a specific conflict or conflicts in that region, not the proverbial "Full Spectrum of Operations."

We still have variants of the light TO&E in the force structure so I still think attaching heavier battalions to lightly-armed units like that is a good idea. The attached units should be stationed at the same installation as the unit they support so they can train together.

Last edited by Pete; 09-08-2011 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Spell Nicaragua right.
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Old 09-08-2011   #37
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I have read stuff about "light division" concepts from the early 80's that rather pointed at a high tech, high battlefield agility force - meant to drive around red hordes in Europe instead of grinding them.
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Old 09-08-2011   #38
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Quote:
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I have read stuff about "light division" concepts from the early 80's that rather pointed at a high tech, high battlefield agility force - meant to drive around red hordes in Europe instead of grinding them.
That was one of the many concepts that floated around about the light divisions. There was the 9th Division, which was intended to be the high-tech test bed, and then there were the others (the 7th among them) that were intended to be more as Pete described. Over time the light concept settled more on the 25th ID and the 10th Mountain, which both provided a good chunk of "expeditionary" Army forces prior to Sept 11 (the 10th was in Somalia, for example).
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Old 01-14-2013   #39
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Default Thunderbolt Ski Museum.

I stopped by the recently opened Thunderbolt Ski Museum in Adama, Massachusetts, earlier today. Adams had multiple native sons in the original iteration of the 10th Mountain Division and there are a few items donated by them on display at the museum. I got a few snapshots if anyone is interested.




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