What is the thinking, concerning military snow mobility, and how this differs from "sport" technique. Realizing of course that access to, and practice of any skiing technique would make you better overall at moving over snow-covered terrain, what techniques would you emphasize for military ops?
For company or battalion sized operations, I'm guessing that you are more concerned with classic cross-country skiing techniques; you are basically preforming a "road march" on skis. So you may be trucked or tracked to a jump off point, and do a movement on foot/snow show/ski to an operational area, and then conduct operations. This resembles the civvy practice of staying in the groove of groomed trail, and would presumably use similar equipment and techniques.
In our small Argentinean Marine Corps, the specialized battalions (riverine, mountain, etc) serve as training centers for the rest. Companies normally hace a scheduled "rotation" to a different environment to cross train. Over time, units develop competency in basic specific stuff (like jungle/mountain/water survival) and can adapt to specific SOPs, drills, etc.
I was company XO at our mountain/cold weather batallion, and had to run a 1 month winter training for the fleet force. Looking at the facebook pictures from Fort McCoy , it looked quite similar. after 3 weeks of survival and movement training, we gave further training on combat drills over snow with snowshoes and skis, and then a final 5 day field exercise.
The "northern" batallions performend pretty much on par with mine. My guys had more experience "reading" the terrain for selecting the easiest path, and estimating march speeds and stuff like that. They also have a lot of experience on screwing up, getting cold, surviving snowstorms, getting people out of crevasses, settin up mortar plates on ice, and stuff that comes from years on the area.
But the battalions with just one month of training could march on old telemark skis for 50/60 km, set up OPs, patrol and assault a target against a small OPFOR. Meeting engagements between our ski patrols and theirs were quite fun, but a peel is a peel.
I´m sure the Marines in Norway are having a similar experience.
Marching is the easy part. Discipline and Survival skills are the hard to get. Not survival in the sense of making fire with sticks, but stuff like:
- setting up your pack, what to carry and what not
- carrying your own civvy heater and field expedient means of making fire and shelter
- the stuff you have to buy yourself
- dressing and layering for march in the cold
- pulling OP/LP duty on really cold nights
- being 2ndLt, 1stLT or Sgt and getting off your warm sleeping bag to check your platoon at 3AM with -30°C
- being Bn CO and being able to follow your companies marching up the mountain (mine coulnd´t)
- being CO, S3 or Company CO and arranging mountain, climbing, ski and other training from local civilian alpine clubs
- Moving the batallion through the high ground without vehicles, cooks, field kitchens, HQ tents, computers, away from MSRs
My S3 used to say "Mountains don´t lie". The cold and the mountains have a way of testing discipline.
We had a USMC observer but I can´t remember his name. This was 2010-2011. Damn I´m getting old.
Simmetric (US vs Germany at bastogne) vs asymetric (Finland vs USSR),
just cold (bastogne) vs cold AND mountain, wet cold vs dry cold... important factors for analysis.
Have you seen the movie "Talvisota" ?