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First Special Service Force 1942-44

by Michael Welply Bret Werner

This is a concise history of the unique integrated commando-style brigade of US and Canadian volunteers formed in 1942. Hand picked, and trained in airborne, amphibious, mountain and winter warfare, demolitions and close-quarter tactics, they left a combat legacy still recognized amongst today's Special Forces. This book explores the remarkable results the FSSF achieved in Italy - in the harsh mountain fighting on the Winter Line, in the trenches of Anzio, and in the breakthrough to Rome. Accompanied by unique combat photography and illustrations of their distinctive uniforms, this is an insight into a famous, but little explored unit.

Storming Monte La Difensa - The First Special Service Force at the Winter Line, Italy 1943

by Bret Werner

Featuring full-color artwork, archive photographs, and first-hand accounts from participants, Storming Monte la Difensa examines the origins, execution, and aftermath of the FSSF's spectacular success at Monte La Difensa amid the savage winter conditions of December 1943.In December 1943 Monte La Difensa was part of the formidable German defenses overlooking the Allies' route to Rome via Monte Cassino. In the First Special Service Force's first combat in the Mediterranean theater, the Force would employ its special training in mountain and winter warfare to scale the peak, capture it, and then hold it against the inevitable German counterattacks. Astonishing their superiors, the First Special Service Force had succeeded in the face of seemingly impossible odds, but suffered a 77 percent casualty rate. Their victory, founded on their aggressive doctrine and extensive training in a variety of combat techniques, would prove instrumental in the postwar development of special forces.

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