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.
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.
Exercise “Tears of the Sun”, took place a couple of weeks ago in Toulouse, France, as a key interoperability exercise between 16 Air Assault Brigade and 11e Brigade Parachutiste (11e BP), which is at the forefront of closer military co-operation between Britain and France.
Both brigades are rapid reaction forces, held at high readiness to deploy on operations anywhere in the world. They form the Intermediate Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (I-CJEF) for contingency operations, ranging from disaster relief to war fighting.
In a forgotten back corner of the continent, two little-known European countries are still locked in their very own, and very real, miniature “Cold War”. The animosity between these two states stretches back so far into their histories that most citizens simply believe that “it has always been this way”.
On the one hand is the Anglo-Germanic Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
On the other is the secretive People’s Republic of Katatonia.
However, although both countries are so small that they barely register on most maps, they both possess quite modern looking and decently equipped special operations forces.