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Category: History (page 1 of 18)

US-Canadian First Special Service Force

The First Special Service Force was a unique bi-national commando unit comprised of soldiers from the US and Canadian armies that was raised during WWII. 

1st SSF spearhead patch

The First Special Service Force was activated on 9 July 1942 as a joint Canadian-U.S. force of three infantry battalions and a service battalion. Fort William Henry Harrison in Helena, Montana was chosen as the primary training location, due to its flat terrain for airborne training and its close proximity to mountains for ski and winter training. Following its initial training period in Montana, the FSSF relocated to Camp Bradford, Virginia, on 15 April 1943, and to Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, on 23 May 1943.


Members of ‘The Force’ conducting parachute training at Ft. William Henry Harrison.  Public domain copyright, Wikipedia

On 10 July the Devil’s Brigade sailed for the Aleutian Islands off Alaska. On 15 August 1943, 1st SSF was part of the invasion force of the island of Kiska, but after discovering the island was recently evacuated by Japanese forces, it re-embarked and left ship at Camp Stoneman, California, and returned to Fort Ethan Allen, arriving 9 September 1943.

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Meet the parents – HK style…

I just finished reading an interesting article over on The Firearm Blog about the history behind the development of what became HK’s signature roller-delayed blowback system of operation.

It all began with this rifle – the Gerät 03 roller-locked testbed 8mm rifle…


Now, you could be forgiven for thinking that’s a G43 with a higher-capacity magazine – until you compare it side-by-side with a standard G43…

g43 replicaNotice the subtle external differences?

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Saturday Snapshot


The National Sentry Program resumed its posting of sentries at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on October 24, 2014.

Photo: MCpl Patrick Blanchard, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

Operation Market-Garden +70 – The British Airborne sector

In honor of the 70th anniversary, for the past week the British Army’s 16 Air Assault Brigade’s Facebook page has been posting photographs and synopses of the fighting that the British 1st Airborne Division was involved in during Operation Market-Garden. 

We’ve been sharing those updates throughout the week on our own Facebook page, and now here they are pieced together all in one place for posterity…

18 Sept 44

 On 18th September 1944 the second wave of 1st Airborne Division landed at Arnhem under heavy fire, made of a drop by the 4th Parachute Brigade and the 2nd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment in gliders.  The 1st and 3rd Parachute Battalions had fought their way to within 2km of the bridge in Arnhem.

Copyright: Airborne Assault Museum, Duxford

19 Sept 1944

Aerial view of Arnhem Bridge showing British positions.

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Monday Montage – Operation Market-Garden +70


Paratroopers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, observe the launch point of the historic World War II Waal River crossing, Sept. 16, during a staff ride in Nijmegen, Netherlands.  Paratroopers attended the staff ride, hosted by the Royal Netherlands Army, during the 70th commemoration of Operation Market Garden.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mary S. Katzenberger)


WAAL CROSSING COMMEMORATED DURING MARKET GARDEN +70.  Paratroopers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division recreate the famous daylight crossing of the Waal River during the hard-fought conquest of the bridge at Nijmegen.

(Royal Netherlands Army photo)


World War II-era tanks roll past Paratroopers assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division on the John S. Thompson Bridge in Grave, Netherlands, Sept. 17, 2014, during a reenactment of the bridge assault undertaken by the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II during Operation Market Garden.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mary S. Katzenberger)

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