Greek Army 1st Ski Battalion, Greco-Italian Front 1940-41
The cut of the special ski uniform of the Greek Army Ski Battalion during the 2nd WW, resembled the typical ones of its time. The jacket was cut shorter to provide extra comfort, while the trousers were cut in the Norwegian style (which likely refers to the tapering at the ankle). Warm wool sweaters and underwear used to be a popular combination at the time. Skiers wore various models of France made mod. 1926-28 boots, German-Skischuhe and Italian mod.1937 ski boots. The soles were made of rubber while some (those of German origin) of wood. Note the green sun goggles attached to the special made mountain cap by means of an elasticated adjustable headband.
The white clothing, the sole purpose of which was to help the soldier blend in with snow covered terrain rather than providing any additional warmth was first used by the Greek Army in the early days of the Greco-Italian War of 1940-41. Although the one piece white long-cut sleeveless snow coverall (worn by the foot soldiers over the basic field uniform and fastened with cloth tapes at hood, chest and waist level) was in production, the Greek Army skiers chosen a two piece lightweight snow suit of an advanced (for the time) design.
The hood was worn over the steel helmet but despite its large size made it restrictive for the lateral vision.
This photograph shows a skier, in his element-mountains of rock and ice-with the high-mountain clothing and equipment typically used by the Greek Army 1st Ski Battalion. Over his special made wool uniform wear the two piece snow suit. His skis are secured on his special made rucksack. Slung round his neck is a Steyr-Solothurn S1-100 smg used by the skiers even thaw the main armament of the skiers were the reliable Mannlicher-Shoenauer rifle. The white painted ammo bandoliers contained except carton boxes of the 9X23 Steyr ammo, Italian grenades and were worn according the.. skiers way…
The rucksack was made of a lightweight canvas duck approximates the size of a Bergen. The main compartment has a series of large eyelets around the opening which is closed by means of a draw cord. The main compartment is covered by a large flap closed by a quick release buckle. Two large deep pockets are placed at the sides covered by flaps that have central quick release buckles. The shoulder straps used to secure the skis during marches.
The two piece snow suit allowed the ski-soldier to literally blend into a snow covered mountain.
Skiers materials were not in use in the prewar Greek army, the volunteers skiers had brought with them their own material.The skis were made from wood featured the usual footplate in the centre to which the wearers mountain boots could be firmly attached. The skis poles were mainly made of bamboo.