fdewaele wrote:It's symbolic. Symbols are hugely important in war because of their propaganda value. Placing a German flag on the highest top of Europe had enormous propaganda value.
The activities of these mountain troops [1st & 4th Mountain Div. (my note)] were carefully monitored at Hitler's headquarters. The Führer had repeatedly demanded that they strike through the Caucasus to the Black Sea port of Sukhumi as quickly as possible. The seizure of this port - coupled with the capturte of Novorossiisk and Tuapse, wich Seventeenth Army looked set to take from the north - would cripple Oktyabrkii's fleet [Soviet Vice Admiral, Commander Black Sea Fleet (my note)], enabling Admiral Schwarzes Meer [Germanys Blach Sea Fleat] to ferry troops and much-needed supplies across the Kerch Straits. Accordingly, the War Lord [i.e. Hitler] exploded when told that his troops had scaled Elbrus (an act with absoltely no military worth and only slight propaganda value) but had failed to reach the coast. As Albert Speer recalled:
I often saw Hitler furious but seldom did his anger erupt from him as it did when this report came in. For hours he raged as if his entire plan of the campaign had been ruined by this bit of sport. Days later he went on railing to all and sundry about "those crazy mountain climbers" who "belong before a court-martial." They were pursuing their idiotic hobbies in the midst of a war, he exclaimed indignantly, occupying an idiotic peak even though he had commanded that all efforts must be concentrated upon Sukhumi.
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