Skip to main content

10TH MOUNTAIN DIVISION RECORDS

 Collection
Identifier: TMD1

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

The collection spans 1940-2003 with the bulk of the material from 1941-1945. Military and personal records comprise the collection. Military records include reports, memos, manuals, orders, operations journals and annotated maps. Personal records include correspondence, memoirs and articles. Records document the activities of the 10th Mountain Division from its formation at the beginning of World War II, through its training at various locations including Camp Hale, Colorado and ending with its combat operations in Italy during 1945.
SERIES 1 FORMATIVE PERIOD 1940-1942 BOX 1-2 Memos, correspondence and special orders document the creation of the 87th Mountain Battalion from elements of the 15th Infantry Ski Patrol and the 41st Division Ski Patrol. Reports, rosters and correspondence trace the development of mountain and winter warfare equipment. Reports and correspondence comprise the papers of the Mountain and Winter Warfare Board, the National Ski Patrol, the Sierra Club and the United States Forest Club. All of these organizations contributed to the formation of the 10th Mountain Division. Records are arranged alphabetically by the name of the organization then chronologically.
SERIES 2 TRAINING CAMPS AND GROUPS 1942-2001 BOX 2-4 Reports, correspondence, schedules, articles and manuals from numerous 10th Mountain Division training locations comprise this series. Most documents are originals, although copies are also included. Records are arranged alphabetically by training site and then chronologically.
SERIES 3 MILITARY RECORDS 1942-2003 BOX 4-11 The bulk of the material in the series spans 1942 to 1945 and documents the combat experiences of the 10th Mountain Division in Italy. Army reports, orders, rosters, memos, charts, operations journals and unit histories constitute the bulk of the material. Also included are individual memoirs. Press releases provide medal citations for individual soldiers. The series is arranged by units beginning with division headquarters. Constituent regiments follow in numeric order, followed by support units also in numeric order.
SERIES 4 AUDIO-VISUAL 1942-1944 BOX 12 VHS videocassettes copied from original films comprise the bulk of the series. Also included are original 8mm films. The films document early training at Fort Lewis, Washington; Camp Hale, Colorado and Camp Swift, Texas. Other locations include Mount Rainier, the Columbia Ice Fields and Lake Louise. Most of the films do not include sound tracks or narration.
SERIES 5 OVERSIZE 1940-1942 OVFF 1-10 Annotated maps and map overlays comprise the bulk of the series. Kiska invasion maps include six sheets distributed to platoon leaders while aboard the transport ships enroute to Kiska. Annotations document latest intelligence estimates. Italian and American military maps are indexed and annotated to document terrain features, battle objectives and troop movements during the 10th Mountain Division's Italian campaign. Map overlays display troop dispositions, planned movements and unit battle objectives on mylar or tracing paper designed to be used in conjunction with standard military maps.

Dates

  • 1940-2003

ACCESS:

The collection is open for research.

OWNERSHIP:

10th Mountain Division Records are the physical property of the Denver Public Library.

COPYRIGHT:

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

HISTORICAL NOTE

Reports of combat operations involving Finnish, Italian and German mountain troops prior to America’s entry into World War II convinced the National Ski Association, the National Ski Patrol and later the American Alpine Club and the National Ski Patrol that the American army needed a mountain and winter warfare capability. Throughout 1940, Charles Minot Dole, Chairman of the National Ski Patrol, acting as spokesman , lobbied President Franklin Roosevelt, Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall and many others, to organize a cadre of trained mountain troops. Dole also assisted in the initial recruitment of experienced skiers for the Army.

Beginning in November 1940, the War Department authorized the formation of small ski patrol units within several Army divisions. However, it was not until November 15, 1941 that the First Battalion of the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment began training at Fort Lewis, Washington, just 22 days prior to the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. By March 1942, the Army had formulated a plan to activate a full mountain division by 1943. To reach this goal, construction of a large training facility began at Pando, Colorado in April 1942. This facility, named Camp Hale in honor of General Irving Hale, Colorado National Guard, was completed by November 1942. The Second and Third Battalions of the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment were authorized in May and June 1942, and by December 1942, all three battalions of the 87th Regiment had moved to Camp Hale.

In June 1943, the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment transferred rom Camp Hale to Fort Ord, California to engage in amphibious training prior to participating in the invasion and recapture of Kiska Island in the Aleutians. Amphibious landings occurred on August 15, 1943. However, Japanese forces had evacuated the Island just before the landings. The 87th Regiment remained on Kiska until November 1943.

Meanwhile, the 10th Light Division (Alpine) was activated at Camp Hale on July 15, 1943. It consisted of the previously activated 86th Infantry Regiment and the 85th and 90th Regiments, which were also activated on July 15, 1943. Upon completion of operations at Kiska, the 87th Regiment returned to Camp Carson, Colorado and joined the 10th Light Division at Camp Hale on February 23, 1944, replacing the 90th Regiment. Three infantry regiments, the 85th, 86th and 87th, along with engineering, artillery and other support units, now comprised the 10th Light Division. The division’s intense training program at Camp Hale included winter survival, rock climbing, skiing, mule packing and the extraordinarily demanding "D-Series" winter exercises, which occurred during the Spring of 1944.

In late June 1944, the 10th Light Division departed Camp Hale for Camp Swift, Texas to participate in maneuvers and regular infantry training under extremely harsh, hot conditions. The 10th Light Division officially became the 10th Mountain Division on November 6, 1944. Brigadier General George P. Hays arrived at Camp Swift on November 23 to take command of the reorganized Division. Hays ordered the addition of heavy weapons companies to each battalion, and additional artillery support units were authorized.

Deployment to Italy began on December 11, 1944 when the 86th Regiment embarked for Naples aboard the USS Argentina, arriving December 22. The 85th and 87th Regiments sailed aboard the USS West Point on January 4, 1945. Support units, including the 604th, 605 and 616 Field Artillery Battalions and the 126th Mountain Engineer Battalion followed on board the transport General Meigs.

The 10th Mountain Division began combat patrols in mid-January 1945, and launched its first offensive on the evening of February 18, 1945 with a surprise, and successful night assault on Riva Ridge. The next night the assault continued with an attack and capture of Mount Belvedere, the key German observation point. The first offensive lasted through February 25 when Mount Della Torraccia was secured. During a second offensive, from March 3 to March 6 1945, the 10th Mountain Division attacked and cleared German forces from Mount della Torraccia to Mount della Spe, where the offensive was temporarily halted by the Allied command.

The Division’s final offensive began on April 14, 1945 and lasted until the German surrender in Italy on May 2, 1945. During this final operation, the 10th Mountain division broke though the German mountain defenses and into the Po River Valley. On April 23, 1945, the 87th Infantry regiment crossed the Po River under fire, and the entire division then advanced to Lake Garda in northern Italy by war's end.

Following the German surrender, the 10th Mountain Division deployed near the Italian border with Yugoslavia, to participate in what some historians have called the first engagement of the Cold War. Anticipating a deployment to the Pacific Theater, the Division returned to the United States in August 1945. Reports of the dropping of the Atomic Bombs and the announcement that the Japanese forces would surrender came while much of the Division was still crossing the Atlantic. Many men returned to Camp Carson, Colorado, where the division was inactivated on November 30, 1945. The 10th Mountain Division was succeeded by the reactivated 10th Infantry Division during the Cold War from 1948 to 1958, when it was again inactivated. On February 13, 1985 the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) was officially reactivated at Fort Drum, New York and, as this is written, has been one of the most deployed units in the United States Army.

Over 32,000 men served with the 10th Mountain Division between 1942 and 1945. Of these, approximately 20,000 men engaged in combat operations in Italy. The 10th Mountain Division sustained nearly 5,000 casualties during World War II, with 999 men being killed in action. Among the combat deaths were twenty men who died during the Kiska operation, eleven of whom died as a result of friendly fire during intense fog.

Extent

12 Boxes

5 OVFF

PROVENANCE:

Gift;various donors;1993-2003.

SELECTION OF RELATED MATERIAL

10th Mountain Division Database Records TMD2

Related Materials

10th Mountain Hut and Trail Association WH1872

Related Materials

99th Infantry Battalion (Norwegian soldiers who trained at Camp Hale with the 10th Mountain Division) WH597

Related Materials

Camp Hale WH1722

Related Materials

Colorado Ski Museum, Ski Hall of Fame WH1861

Related Materials

International Federation of Mountain Soldiers WH596

Related Materials

Mountain and Winter Warfare School and Training Center (Camp Carson, Colo.) WH550

Related Materials

National Association of the 10th Mountain Division Records TMD40

Related Materials

National Ski Patrol WH872

Related Materials

As of 2006, 797 digitized 10th Mountain Division photographs are available online in the Western History photograph collection database at http://photoswest.org. Numerous additional photographs are available in the Western History photograph collection. Many of these will also be digitized in the future.

Related Materials

Additional material related to the 10th Mountain Division is available at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Also, the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division maintains a website with historical information and contract addresses at http://www.10thmtndivassoc.org

Related Materials

Scrapbooks, photo albums, memoirs and personal papers are also contained in 10th Mountain Division veterans' individual TMD collections, which are available under the veterans' names

Related Materials

Numerous oral history interviews with 10th Mountain Division veterans are contained within the oral history collection.

SEPARATED MATERIAL

Numerous individual photographs and photo collections have been transferred to the Western History Photograph collection. Records pertaining to the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division have been separated into collection TMD40. Additional military records available on microfilm from the National Archives in Washington, D.C., which were used to create the 10th Mountain Division Database, have been separated into TMD2. Personal papers of individual 10th Mountain Division veterans are being separated into TMD collections available under the names of the veterans.

SIZE:

Number of Boxes: 12

Oversize: 5 OVFF

LOCATION:

TMD1

PROCESSED AND ENCODED BY:

Ann Brown

Dennis Hagen

2006

PROJECT MANAGER:

Ellen Zazzarino
Title
10TH MOUNTAIN DIVISION RECORDS
Date
2006
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

Contact:
10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States