Waffen-SS Bergführer Badge and History

The mountain guide badge of the Waffen-SS

After the Waffen-SS had established two mountain divisions during the war, namely the 6th SS Gebirgs-Division Nord and the 7th SS Mountain division “Prinz Eugen”, it proved necessary to set up a special school in the spring of 1942.
As a result, the establishment of a Waffen-SS mountain fighter school was ordered and an old army mountain guide from the Austro-Hungarian army was entrusted with the preparatory work – SS-Standartenführer Eberhard Quirsfcld.

Here are his memories of preparing for school:

“First of all, it was necessary to find a suitable location that offered everything necessary in terms of mountain training . After 4 weeks of study and selection according to all possible functional aspects, I had discovered a vacant barracks warehouse in Neustift – Stubai valley in Tyrol – which was suitable for a mountain school due to its appropriate expansion. According to my information, old additional barracks, stables, storage rooms, dormitories and recreation rooms, as well as weapon and alpine chambers were erected there, which did not go off without a hitch during the war.

The second task was to find suitable training personnel for the regulars. By giving orders to the front and replacement units, those who had either already been mountain guides in their civilian occupation or could prove that they had the appropriate mountain skills were to report. The basic requirements for enlistment were one year of frontline service, possibly the Iron Cross 2nd Class and suitability as a group leader.”

At the end of August, the mountaineering training began with around 100 men from the Innsbruck Gendarmerie Hochgebirgs School (Gendamerie General Albert), of which 45 men were taken out as Bergfuhrer and ski instructors in November 1942.
In the meantime, the barracks camp in Neustift had been completed, the service personnel such as doctors and paramedics, maintenance and mess room personnel, drivers and porters had been assembled, so that the various training courses here could begin in mid-November 1942.

The school was divided into:

2 Lehrgruppen mit den Inspektionen

    • ” Bergführer-Ausbildung
    • ” Gebirgs-Jäger- und -Unteroffizier-Lehrgänge
    • ” Gebirgs-Pionier
    • ” Gebirgs Nachrichten
    •  “Gebirgs-Sanitäter
    •  “Tragtierstaffel

 

The first mountain guide exercises took place in the spring of 1943. In order to recognize the participants who had successfully completed the exercises, they were later given a special mountain guide certificate, following the example of the army, the police and the gendarmerie as well as a special Bergfuhrer Badge that i will discuss further down this Thread. The  SS-Führungs-Hauptamt issued the guidelines in the fall of 1944, which were compiled on the basis of the experiences made and read in full:

 

Guidelines for the training of Waffen-SS mountain guides during the war.

Tasks of the mountain guides of the Waffen-SS.

a) Carrying out reconnaissance and combat missions that require special mountaineering skills.
b) Advising the troop commander on combat operations in the mountains and on all issues relating to the special alpine-technical features of the march, accommodation, supplies and supplies.
c) Supporting the corps and BtI leaders with training in high altitude and military skiing.
d) Recognizing and warning of the dangers of the mountains and rescuing casualties and injured persons in difficult and extremely difficult mountain terrain.
e) Mountain guides are also certified ski instructors.
f) Advising the corps and battalion leaders on the selection of mountain guide trainees and carrying out preparatory training for the mountain guide courses.

 

Career:

For all branches of the mountain troops and the units of the Waffen-SS deployed in the high mountains and the mountain infantrymen trained at the Waffen-SS Mountain Infantry School.

 

Selection:
Prerequisites for selection for training as a Waffen-SS mountain guide are:

a) full fitness for mountain service;
b) above average physical performance in endurance, strength and physical fitness;
c) full completion of basic mountaineering training on grass, rock, stone and ice;
full mastery of military skiing;

d) Qualification as a trainer;
e) leadership qualities. exemplary soldierly conduct and above average service performance. In the case of teams, also suitability as a group leader.
f) High quality aptitude of character, above all aptitude for duty, courage and willingness to help.
SS leaders and SS leader trainees as well as subordinates are especially intended for training to become a member of the SS. It is desirable that at least all active leaders of the mountain troops are mountain guides or mountain guide candidates of the Waffen-SS.
The training and selection of suitable leaders, sub-leaders and mountain fighters suitable for training as Waffen-SS mountain leaders is the responsibility of the units and training units. It is carried out under the personal responsibility of the Rgts. and BtIs. commandos most appropriately in corresponding preparatory courses which are to be carried out in the troops.

 

Aim and scope of the training:

The aim of the training of mountain guides is to train mountain guides (plus ski instructors) of the Waffen-SS who, according to their rank, are able to lead a troop properly in the high mountains themselves, as well as to be expert advisors for troop leaders who are less trained in the high mountains.
Leaders of the Watfen-SS must be familiar with the way of life and combat in the high mountains.

The training of the Waffen SS mountain school covers the following areas (structure according to training guidelines for mountain schools):
a) mountaineering and skiing training up to military completion.
b, training as a mountain instructor for the troops and ski instructor;
c’ Basic training in high mountain scouting with all weapons;
d) Care and maintenance of the troops’ mountain equipment; ü) Advice to less experienced Btls. and kp. leaders on all questions concerning the special features of mountain warfare, combat, supply and training in the high mountains;
f) Recognizing and assessing the dangers of high mountains;
g) First aid for people injured and buried by avalanches in the high mountains

 

 

 

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