Before the SEALs….before Delta Force….before Special Forces…there was the 1st Special Service Force (1st SSF)……they were a short lived unit made up of troops from the US and Canada…..they proved their worth in the battle for Italy and went on to fight in Southern France during World War Two…..
I introduced my readers to this group back in 2016……https://lobotero.com/2016/11/11/the-black-devils/
04 December is the 75th anniversary of their attack on the Nazi stronghold of Monte La Difensa……
Today’s Army Special Forces groups trace their official lineage from the First Special Service Force (FSSF), an elite American-Canadian commando unit during World War II. Activated, July 20, 1942 at Fort William Henry Harrison, near Helena, Montana, the 3,000-man FSSF contained a mix of American and Canadian volunteers.(1) Trained and equipped for special operations in mountain terrain, the force first saw combat in the mountains of Italy 75 years ago this week.(2)
U.S. Army Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark’s Fifth Army had been pressing northward against the German defenses since landing at Salerno, September 9, 1943, with the goal of capturing Rome. Fifth Army’s approach was blocked by a series of German defensive belts known as the Winter Line. Tough enemy resistance, coupled with rugged terrain, inclement weather, and an inadequate number of Allied troops, slowed the Fifth Army’s progress to a crawl.
The steep slopes of Monte La Difensa presented a formidable obstacle to the Allied advance. In November 1943, the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division tried and failed to seize control of the mountain, despite a valiant ten-day effort. Other 3rd Division units attacked north of La Difensa, but also could not penetrate the stout German defenses. Limited successes along the front were offset by the high casualty rate. November 13, Lt. Gen. Clark called off further offensive operations for the remainder of the month.
I bring this up to help their legacy stay in the minds of Americans….for as it is theirs as well as my unit in Vietnam, the LRRPs, are ate up by the Hollywood story of today’s special ops units.
These men should be remembered for their courage and sacrifice not because they were some part of a greater whole……as the saying goes…”All gave some and some gave all”……