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The Devil's Brigade--The First Special Service Force--was formed in 1942 and disbanded at war's end, but it was the daddy and prototype of today's Special Forces, the Green Berets. Its main distinction from our well-educated SF troops in Vietnam is that to qualify for FSSF in 1942 a minimum education of three years grammar school was mandatory. FSSF was originated by a wildly eccentric English genius who persuaded Lord Mount-batten and Churchill that a small, highly maneuverable force of 2000 trained men on fast ""snow vehicles"" could immobilize a half million German troops in Norway. The English interested the Americans and it was decided to train in the States an international brigade of 2000 Americans and Canadians. When the call went out for the roughest soldiers available--ex- lumberjacks, forest rangers and outdoor men--the American stockades began to empty. Eventually, Norway decided that these men were too highly efficient and would decimate Norway's industry; so Norway backed out and the FSSF was never used for its original purpose. In fact, despite several distinguished actions, it was almost constantly misused. Still, their esprit was invincible and upon disbanding, every member was in tears. Colorful.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1966
Publisher: Chilton