Gebirgsjäger – Mountain Troops
During World War II the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS raised a number of mountain infantry units.
An entire corps was formed in Norway by 1941. Its divisions were lightly equipped, with much of the transport provided by mules. These mountain infantry were equipped with fewer automatic weapons than regular infantry, however the MG 34 or MG 42 machine gunners were provided with more ammunition than their regular infantry counterparts. Mountain infantry were identified by the edelweiss insignia worn on their sleeves and their caps.
Mountain infantry participated in many battles, including Operation Weserübung, Operation Silver Fox, Operation Platinum Fox and Operation Arctic Fox, the operations in the Caucasus, the Gothic Line, the invasion of Crete and the battles in the Vosges region of France. Special equipment was made for them including the G33/40 mauser rifle based on the VZ.33 rifle.
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2. Gebirgs Division
was raised in 1938 from the former 6th Division and German mountain troops. It fought as part of Army Group South during the Invasion of Poland (1939, attacking from the territory of Slovak State), then took part in the invasion of Norway in 1940, and attempted to relieve the beleaguered 3rd Mountain Division at Narvik. In 1941 it moved into Lapland to participate in Operation Silberfuchs, the attack on the Soviet Arctic as part of Operation Barbarossa. In late 1944 it withdrew to Norway and then transferred to Denmark. In 1945, it fought on the Western Front, where it was engaged in heavy combat near Trier.
The Allies destroyed much of the division near Württemberg towards the end of the war, with survivors surrendering to the Americans.
1st Ski Division – 1. Skijäger-Division
The German 1st Ski Division (German: 1. Skijäger-Division) was an infantry unit trained to use skis for movement during winter. It was created on the Eastern Front in the autumn of 1943 in preparation for upcoming winter operations. It was enlarged into a full division in the summer of 1944. The division fought exclusively on the Eastern Front as part of Army Group Centre, including an approach to the Vistula river and during the retreat into Slovakia, southern Poland and the Czech lands (now the Czech Republic), where it surrendered to the Red Army in May 1945.