Military patrol

Military patrol was a team winter sport in which athletes competed in cross-country skiing, ski mountaineering and rifle shooting. It was usually contested between countries or military units.

Start of a German Reichswehr military training patrol team in the Giant Mountains, January 1932.

The military patrol competition encompassed 25 kilometer cross-country skiing (15 km for women) and rifle shooting. The size of the patrol was four members. The total climb had to be from 500 to 1200 meters (300 to 700 for women). The rules were very similar to modern biathlon. Traditionally the participating patrol had to consist of one officer, one non-commissioned officer (NCO) and two privates. The officer carried a pistol instead of a rifle and did not take part in the shooting. The total weight of the backpacks of the NCO and the privates had to be at least 24 kilograms. In later years the competitors did not carry backpacks, and the rifles were small bore rifles, similar to those in biathlon. The patrol leader did not have any kind of weapon.

Military patrol formed part of the International Military Sports Council (Conseil International du Sport Militaire, or CISM) skiing championships starting in 1929. It was in the official programme of the Winter Olympic Games in 1924 Chamonix,[nb 1] and on three occasions as a demonstration sport (1928, 1936 and 1948). In 1924, the military patrol team member Camille Mandrillon took the Olympic Oath on behalf of the competitors.[1]

Successor sportsEdit

Biathlon was developed from military patrol.[nb 1]

Another military skiing event is the Patrouille des Glaciers, today also including competitions and rankings for civilian competitors.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b The official website of the Olympic Movement now treats Men's Military Patrol at the 1924 games as an event within the sport of Biathlon.[2][3] However the 1924 Official Report treats it as an event and discipline within what was then called Skiing and is now called Nordic Skiing.[4][5]


  1. ^ "Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games" (PDF). Factsheet. International Olympic Committee. 21 June 2012. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 February 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Biathlon Results - Chamonix 1924". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Olympic Games Medals, Chamonix 1924". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  4. ^ Official Report (1924), p 646: Le Programme ... II. — Epreuves par équipes - 12. Ski : Course militaire (20 à 30 kilomètres, avec tir). (The Programme ... II. — Team events - 12. Skiing : Military Race (20 to 30 kilometres, with shooting)).
  5. ^ Official Report (1924), p 664: CONCOURS DE SKI - Jurys - COURSE MILITAIRE. (Skiing Competitions - Juries - Military Race)

General bibliographyEdit

External linksEdit