U.S. Training

The 99th moved from Camp Ripley, MN when in the last week of September 1942 a huge heavy wet snow storm collapsed their unheated 8-man tents on top of them. An emergency truck convoy, formed over a couple days, moved the 99th to Fort Snelling; their next station in Minneapolis. During this time the 99th spent its days training climbing up and down the hills between Fort Snelling and the river. "Fort Snelling was the ideal spot to locate a "Squarehead" Battalion, because half of the Scandinavians in the United States settled in the Twin Cities and the surrounding country. The people were anxious to entertain their fellow countrymen and invitations to private homes for Sundays and Holidays were streaming in to the orderly rooms every day. While at Fort Snelling, the battalion was visited by many officers and notables, chief among whom was Colonel Dahl of the Royal Norwegian Army. Parades were held often and the moral was high. Although the training was stiff, passes were liberal and the Cities offered the best of entertainment." (Quotation from "Company D" unit history by John W. Kelly) On December 17, 1942, the pleasures of the big city came to an end when the battalion left MN by train for Camp Hale, CO. where the extensive mountain training began. 

For nine months the "Norwegian Avengers" carried out rigorous mountain training at the 9000 ft+ Mountain Training Center, Camp Hale, CO. The unit was in the field three to four days a week. The unit trained with skis and three types of snowshoes for different conditions, and the new T15 light cargo carrier, universally called the “Weasel”, developed by Studebaker. The average individual loads of the soldiers pack, both skiing and hiking, was between 70 and 90 lbs. The battalion developed new methods for survival and training that were eventually adapted by the war department.  Some innovations were made by members of the Battalion, discoveries which met with the enthusiastic approval of the Government. First was a mount made for a heavy machine from two skis - a mount from which the gun could be placed into immediate action.  Second, a three-ski sled for litter bearers.  This difficult training hinted at the battalions future deployment, a possible invasion of Norway from the north. The battalions excellent performance in training would serve as a blueprint for other units to follow.