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The Legend Of The Devil’s Brigade
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They were one among the most fearsome elite forces during the World War II. Such was their ability to strike fear, that the Germans dubbed them - the devil’s brigade. They even inspired a Hollywood movie by the same name. Who were they, and why are their tales legendary?
The 1St Special Service Force:
The 1st Special Service Force was the first and the only joint US/Canadian unit ever created in history. They were an elite force made up of around 1600 volunteers who were primarily lumberjacks, forest rangers, hunters, and game wardens. They were trained at Fort Harrison, Helena. Why Helena? Secrecy was paramount for their mission. It was believed that Hitler would never have to worry about an elite army training in one of the quaintest mining towns in the US. The Force was commanded by Lt. Col. Robert Frederick, much loved by his team.
What made them special?
They were known for their stealth and could move in complete silence through any terrain. Some of them were wilderness experts; they could travel very long distances without food or rest, and carry loads several times their weight. The unit was trained in hand to hand combat, using explosives, rock climbing, and mountain fighting. Their weapon of choice was a specially designed fighting knife called the V-42 – a double-edged combat knife that could quietly and quickly penetrate a steel helmet with a single thrust.
Why were they called the devil’s brigade?
It was at Monte la Difensa where they earned their first major victory and a reputation of taking over impenetrable enemy targets. Here the soldiers had to make an almost vertical ascent on a treacherous terrain in the middle of the night when it was raining almost incessantly. Here, they surprised the army by sneaking behind them, taking them by surprise. They also earned laurels during Operation Shingle at Anzio. In fact, it was here that they earned their nicknames, the devil’s brigade, and the black devils. They were known to leave cards that were printed with Ende kommt noch, or the worst is yet to come. The forces were also known to smear their enemy’s face with black boot polish. They fought at Anzio for 99 days without relief.
Author Bio : The Author loves reading WWI history, especially about the 1st Special Service Force, aka, the devil’s brigade. Visit http://themaritimeexplorer.ca/2016/11/24/anzio-devils-brigade/
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