Mountain Infantry Assaults with Small Arms

    The Bundeswehr social media outlets recently released this training video of a Bavarian mountain battalion executing a vertical ascent and subsequent assault on an enemy position. The video is very interesting to watch when to comes to observing how the Germans perfect their mountain warfare tactics. Notice how the assault team uses a scout to lead the way up the cliff face, then pushing the rest of the team on top, thereafter assaulting the objective down below. Obviously the team climbed up one side, then descended on the enemy from above on the other side of the mountain.

    The scout was armed with an MP7, while the rest of the team had issue G36s. See how much easier it is to maneuver with all the rope equipment while having the G36 stock folded as compared to a traditionally longer rifle. I’m not familiar with the Bundeswehr’s G36 trialsls and acquisitions program, but I wouldn’t put it past them that one of the requirements for a folding stock (apart from APC/airplane usage) was to be able to compact the service rifle specifically for climbing. Judging from Germany’s presence along the Alps, this could have been true. The team even brought up an MG3. Because weight and gear is of much more consideration to these soldiers, the team has to improvise or bring less ammunition down. In addition, most of the time weapons have to be strapped to packs or otherwise out of the way because of the need to utilize the climbing ropes going up and down the cliff face. In addition, the vertical assaulters at the end, leading the assault have to essentially deploy with very limited weapons and ammunition because of their quick descent onto the enemy objective. What that means for the platoon is that only fire superiority and gains are made on the objective, they have to get down as soon as possible because those soldiers at the bottom are unable to sustain themselves for very long. Also notice the use of snipers. A mountainous environment is almost a snipers playground.

    The American experience with mountain warfare began in World War II with the 10th Mountain Division being created to fight in Italy. In addition to the cliff climbing of the Ranger Regiment during Operation Overlord at Point Do Hoc. Today the Marine Corps runs a very extensive mountain warfare program at MWTC Bridgeport in northern California. Unlike traditional infantry tactics, mountain warfare takes on a very different spin. Infantrymen have to be qualified in climbing ropes, working with less resources and supplies, even using pack animals unto this day to bring equipment to austere locations. In fact, the Army SF component is frequently in attendance at these pack animal classes due to operations in Afghanistan.

    Notice in the photographs of myself descending a vertical face while at Bridgeport, the length of the M16A4/M203 on me. Certainly a detractor to climbing.


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]