An Allied unit comprised of Canadian and American troops, the First Special Service Force or "Devil’s Brigade" struck fear into the very heart of the Axis.
In the dark, early days of the Second World War, the Allies found themselves with their backs against the wall. With their armies, tactics, doctrine, and equipment in tatters, the Allies turned to special operations forces to carry the fight to the Axis enemy until their conventional forces could be built up once again. Specially selected and trained, these forces struck fear into the hearts of the enemy. One such unit, the First Special Service Force (FSSF) or Devil’s Brigade, was created for a hazardous mission in Norway. This unique formation was composed of both Americans and Canadians who served side by side without distinction of nationality.
A killer elite, the FSSF consistently demonstrated courage and determination and earned itself an unrivaled combat record at Monte la Difensa and Anzio in Italy and in the invasion of southern France.
As England suffered bombardment early in the Second World War, a new type of soldier emerged to fight back the multifaceted, shadow warrior. Horn (No Easy Task: Fighting in Afghanistan) and Wyczynski (Tip of the Spear) pay homage to the intrepid forerunner of the Canadian and American special forces, the First Special Service Force, in this broad study of its short existence. The authors follow the FSSF from the planning stages of the commando concept, to their grueling training, through the abrupt change of their major objective, to their gritty, gory campaigns and subsequent disbandment before the end of the war. The joint American-Canadian force represented a unique partnership between the allies, on both a political level and a personal one. The authors describe the amusement of the Canadian and American trainees as they met for the first time in a strange mixture of kilts, pink' trousers, bagpipes and cavalry hats on a base in Montana. This is a scholarly read and presumes readers' familiarity with warfare. Period photographs and extensive quotes from military leaders and Forcemen acquaint readers with the human faces behind the black boot polish that contributed to the FSSF's well-deserved nickname: Black Devils.'