The First Special Service Force (FSSF) was an active service unit from 1942 to 1945 comprised of both American and Canadian service men. The unit was developed as an experimental military partnership never before seen between countries and exhibited the first true joint partnership of military service. Established under US command the unit was made up of the best and most lethal and specially trained in commando and special operations tactics.
Organized and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena Montana, the unit was first trained for winter combat. This plan was soon dismissed, and the FSSF were re-trained as a commando unit. Their first mission was to be sent to the Aleutian Islands in July of 1943. They were deployed to take back Kiska from the Japanese, but encountered no resistance and were sent back to the States. In October of 1943, the unit moved on to action in the Italian Campaign in 1943, earning both incredible stats and foreboding reputations.
From Monte La Diffensia to Anzio in 1944, the FSSF proved themselves to be a ruthless opponent. Smeared in grease paint, the unit moved behind enemy lines on countless occasions to terrorize German positions. Taking prisoners and leaving many dead behind, the unit never forgot to leave their calling card, a playing card sized marker, resting on their fallen foes with bold red letters reading “Das Dicke Ende kommt noch” translating “The Worst is yet to come.” It is from these excursions across enemy lines that they got their name.
In the diary of a German soldier, parroted by the masses of German soldiers facing the FSSF, were the words "The black devils (Die Schwarzen Teufel) are all around us every time we come into the line." The name centered on the grease paint the FSSF used to blacken their faces during combat missions. Nevertheless, the name stuck and became the symbol that would drive the image of the FSSF forever.
The FSSF went on to be the first allied unit to enter Rome and to fight in the south of France in 1944 before it was disbanded at the end of 1944.
Who Were The First Special Service Force?
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