From the Stars and Stripes archives
Hanging in there: The Nicolas Minue Challenge Cup
By DAN SYNOVEC | Stars and Stripes | Published: December 22, 1977
THE 1st Bn, 6th Inf bills its annual Nicolas Minue Challenge Cup as infantry competition. But watching the 25-man German and American infantry platoons from nine different units negotiate the gut-busting obstacle course at Illesheim, Germany, makes it seem more like a human wrecking derby.
The German soldiers loved it. And, for the third time in three years, a German platoon captured the. Nicolas Minue Challenge Cup trophy.
The men of the Bundeswehr's 262nd Parachute Bn finished the two-day event with 420.5 points. A Berlin Brigade unit, the 4th Bn, 6th Inf, placed a distant second with 365.5 points, while a platoon from the 1st Bn. 6th Inf, was third with 361.5 points.
If points were awarded for bruises, sprained ankles and aching muscles, everyone would be declared a winner.
The cup, named for a 6th Inf Medal of Honor winner during World War II, starts at the Storck Barracks obstacle course. This is followed by an all-night compass course that is combined with an escape-and-evasion problem. As the sun comes up the next morning, the soldiers start a 12-mile forced road march that must be completed in less than three hours. Coming off the road march, the platoons cap the challenge cup competition with a marksmanship event.
To a chorus of grunts and groans, the infantrymen scrambled though the obstacle course — first climbing a 50-foot wooden tower, and then rappelling down the other side. Sprinting, while wearing all of their individual fighting hardware and carrying their weapons, to the low-crawl obstacle where they had to crawl on their bellies under barbed wire. The next obstacle was a log wall, followed by an obstacle of muddy logs that. they had to walk. By the time they got to the horizontal rope, actually a wire cable, the infantrymen knew that they were in for a long day and night's work.