First Special Service Force 1942–44

First Special Service Force 1942–44 cover

First Special Service Force 1942–44

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Osprey's examination of the First Special Service Force of the second half of World War II (1939-1945). This famous unit was formed with three battalions in July 1942, for special operations in occupied Norway, from handpicked US and Canadian volunteers who were trained in parachute, amphibious, ski, mountain and demolition operations and other 'Special Forces' skills. Their training base was Fort Harrison, Montana. In the event the Force first saw combat in Italy. There they distinguished themselves, at heavy cost, in the battles of La Difensa (Dec 1943), Mte Majo (Jan 1944), on the Anzio beachhead (Feb - May 1944) and in the race to Rome, which they actually liberated. Their uniforms, clothing and weaponry had many unique features reflecting their bi-national composition and specialist skills.

The FSSF fought with a ferocious skill which earned them a fearsome reputation. At Anzio, although at only half strength, they successfully held at least a quarter of the entire beachhead and were the spearhead of the final breakout towards Rome. Famed for their night-time fighting ability, the Germans named them "Die Schwartze Teuflen" ­ the Black Devils (they blacked their faces with boot polish). However, after taking part in the South of France campaign in Aug­ - Nov 1944 the Force was disbanded, survivors passing to other units. 1,800 men at full strength, they had accounted for 12,000 enemy casualties, taken 7,000 prisoners and experienced a 600% attrition rate.

Table of Contents

· Introduction – the plan for Operation 'Plough', and formation of the FSSF · Organization & structure · Training: airborne – skiing – mountain – demolitions – amphibious · Operations: Kiska (Aleutians) – Mte Camino (Italy) – Mte la Difensa – Mte Majo – Anzio – Rome – Southern France – Franco-Italian border – disbandment · Uniforms · Uniforms of successor units · Equipment · Weapons · Special insignia

Product details

Published Nov 28 2006
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 64
ISBN 9781841769684
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 60 b/w; 8 col
Dimensions 248 x 184 mm
Series Elite
Short code ELI 145
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

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