This famous but little-published unit was formed with three battalions in July 1942, for special operations in occupied Norway, from handpicked US and Canadian volunteers who were trained in parachute, amphibious, ski, mountain and demolition operations. The force first saw combat in Italy where they distinguished themselves, at heavy cost, in the battles of La Difensa (Dec 1943), Mte Majo (Jan 1944), the Anzio beachhead (Feb-May 1944) and the race to Rome. They fought with a ferocious skill which earned them a fearsome reputation. At Anzio, although at only half strength, they successfully held at least a quarter of the entire beachhead and were the spearhead of the final breakout towards Rome. Famed for their nightime fighting ability, the Germans named them "Die Schwartze Teuflen" - the Black Devils. Their uniforms, clothing and weaponry had many unique features to reflect their unique bi-national component and specialist skills.