The German Mountain Battalion (1. /Gebirgsjägerbataillon 233) performed a Mountain Warfare exercise, “Eiskristall”, in high, glaciated mountains in the Courmayeur, Punta Helbronner (3,400 m) area, where the members of the NATO Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence (MW COE) took part from 23rd to 24th January 2017.
High altitude is one of the most challenging factors faced by military units in mountain environments. To operate in such an environment, where atmospheric changes are present, oxygen causes physiological changes, where it is not possible to provide any solid and heated place, needs well prepared and highly trained soldiers and commanders. Special attention is always paid to medical problems – how to treat sick, ill and wounded soldiers in the harsh mountain environment.
The MW COE members had the opportunity to observe how mountain infantry soldiers and commanders operate in such an environment, what the organisational problems are, safety measures, medical problems and motivation to do the task correctly.
Experience gained on such an exercise is always beneficial for better understanding of the mountain warfare environment. Lessons learned are of the highest value.