Home » Fiction & Literature » Charles Hays » MULES, MEN AND MOUNTAINS

February 11 , 2010



This book is a work of historical military fiction that describes the impact of ski troopers and their Mules on accelerating the end of World War II in Italy. That Great War was winding down in Europe but, in the Apennine Mountains of Italy, large quantities of Italian and Nazi soldiers were still well-entrenched. They were some of the best troops that either Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler could place in action against any Yankee advance. Each of them were very capable of doing considerable harm to a typical infantry division which had not been trained to fight under these harsh environmental conditions of thick snow banks, extremely low temperatures, severe freezing winds and rigorous ecological demands. This is to say that a typical infantry division and their artillery would have been seriously stalled by the deep snow drifts. As one advisor said, “For the entrenched enemies, it would have been like shooting ducks in a pond.” Fortunately, the US Army listened to the sage advice of their various consultants. The US Army formed their own Ski Trooper outfit to rid the mountain tops from their unwanted occupants, the soldiers of Italy and Germany. That outfit was named the Tenth Mountain Division but, as time passed on, the newsreels began to call them by a better name, they were known as “Ruffner’s Raiders.” Brigadier General David L. Ruffner was the Commanding General of the Tenth Mountain Division Artillery. Although The Tenth Division entered the combat zones rather late in the day, they still had one of the highest casualty rates for that War of all Wars. For the Mules that were involved, their loss of life was 94% since they provided such an easy target for the Snipers to kill.
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