Images of the First Special Service Force (The Devil’s Brigade) now on Flickr

A black-and-white photograph of around a dozen soldiers wearing parachute gear, lined up to board a Douglas C-47 for training.

Personnel of the First Special Service Force boarding a Douglas C-47 aircraft for parachute training, Fort William Henry Harrison, Helena, Montana, United States [MIKAN 3378674]

The First (or 1st) Special Service Force, nicknamed The Devil’s Brigade, was a combined Second World War Canadian and American commando group. It was located and trained at Fort Harrison near Helena, Montana, United States. Force members received intensive training as ski troops and in stealth tactics, hand-to-hand combat, the use of explosives for demolition, parachuting, amphibious warfare, rock climbing and mountain warfare.

A black-and-white photograph of a soldier wearing white winter gear and crouching down to fix his ski bindings. A parachute is blowing in the wind behind him.

Member of the First Special Service Force during a winter training exercise, Blossburg, Montana, United States [MIKAN 3378683]

The Force saw extensive combat duty during the years 1943–1944 in Italy and southern France. It was known for always achieving its objectives. The Force was disbanded on December 5, 1944, but many modern Canadian and American Special Forces units, such as Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2), the Green Berets and the Navy SEALs, trace their heritage to this unit.

A black-and-white photograph of three soldiers with camouflage makeup preparing to go out on an evening patrol.

Personnel of the First Special Service Force preparing to go on an evening patrol, Anzio beachhead, Italy [MIKAN 3378968]

A black-and-white photograph of some two dozen soldiers sitting behind a large hay bale. The soldiers are being briefed before setting out on patrol.

Personnel of the First Special Service Force being briefed before setting out on a patrol, Anzio beachhead, Italy [MIKAN 3396066]

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