Ersdale, Peter T.

Corporal, Mountaineer

b. 1924

d. February 20, 1945

US Army

10th Mountain Division, 85th Regiment




Purple Heart

High School

Bronxville H.S. 1942

During World War II, 13,000 soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division were sent to Italy to fight the Germans. Close to 1,000 would die.

The 10th Mountain Division trained at Camp Hale, Colorado, where volunteers learned rock climbing, endurance through long distance marches and cross country ski trips, down hill skiing, winter/mountain survival techniques, and combat throughout the winter of 1943-1944. In June 1944, the Division transferred to Camp Swift, Texas, for additional training until the division was deployed to Italy in January 1945.

The capture of Riva Ridge enabled the 85th and 87th Regiments to move on Mount Belvedere and the adjacent peaks Mount Gorgolesco and della Torraccia. In capturing these peaks, the 10th Mountain suffered over 900 casualties. The next major assaults were in March on Mount della Spe and in April at Tole. Victories paved the way to advance on the Po Valley. By April 20th the 10th Mountain Division entered the valley, and after heavy fighting the German Army in Italy surrendered on May 2, 1945. In the campaign in Italy, the 10th took heavy losses with 4,888 casualties, including 978 killed in action.