The SS High Mountain School was established in Neustift in the Stubai Valley of Tyrol on 15 September 1942.
It consisted of a staff and a training group which was divided into the following instruction categories: mountain officer command training, mountain-jäger NCO training, mountain engineering, mountain communications, mountain medical services and mountain supply-transport training.
In April 1944 the school was expanded through the addition of another three training groups. II. Group was designated the SS Mountain Warfare School and it was established as a separate facility, with a reinforced training company, at Predazzo. III. Group was devoted to mountain marksmanship and sharpshooter training, while the IV. Group was organized into a mountain officer's training school. All of these segments were subordinated, however, to the main institution at Neustift.
Parts of the SS High Mountain School were mobilized for the first time in September 1943 for use in the disarming of Italian troops near the Reschen Pass and the towns of Mals, Schlanders and Meran. Later on, parts of the Neustift facility had to be deployed in the field again, this time to fight partisans in the area around the Tonale Pass, Sondrio and Lake Como. The SS Mountain Warfare School in Predazzo (which was situated in the Fleims Valley of South Tyrol), was likewise eventually sent into action, first fighting around the Rolle Pass. In 1945 the entire SS Mountain Warfare School was organized into a Kampfgruppe to defend against the "Allied" advance in the Salurn area. This task force eventually went into American captivity.
In April 1945, a major portion of the Neustift facility was commandeered by the Gauleiter for Tyrol and the instructors and trainees were formed into battlegroups that were deployed around Scharnitz and Seefeld. They eventually fell back on Neustift where they surrendered to American forces on 3 May 1945. The only commander of the SS High Mountain School and its branches was Standartenführer Eberhard von Quirsfeld, who held this position from 15 September 1942 to May 1945. He died on June 28, 1983 at the age of 84.
A good many officers, NCOs and specialists from the SS Mountain Divisions “Nord”, “Prinz Eugen,” “Handschar,” “Skanderbeg,” “Kama” and “Karstjäger,” underwent a part of their training at the Waffen-SS High Mountain School.
Mortar training at the SS High Mountain School
On the march at the SS High Mountain School
Waffen-SS trooper at the SS High Mountain School
Published in "Siegrunen" Magazine - Volume 7, Number 2, Whole Number 38, April - June 1985