Storming Monte La Difensa: The First Special Service Force at the Winter Line, Italy 1943
By Bret Werner
Price: $18.95 (paperback), 80 pages, Osprey Publishing
Featuring full-color artwork, archive photographs, and first-hand accounts from participants, Storming Monte la Difensa examines the origins, execution, and aftermath of the FSSF's spectacular success at Monte La Difensa amid the savage winter conditions of December 1943.
In December 1943 Monte La Difensa was part of the formidable German defenses in the Apennine Mountains overlooking the Allies' route to Rome via Monte Cassino. In the First Special Service Force's first combat in the Mediterranean theater, the Force would employ its special training in mountain and winter warfare to scale the peak via a 900 vertical cliff, capture it, and then hold it against fierce German counterattacks. Astonishing their superiors, the First Special Service Force had succeeded in the face of seemingly impossible odds, but suffered a 77 percent casualty rate with 81 killed. Their victory, founded on their aggressive combat doctrine and extensive training in a variety of combat techniques, would prove instrumental in the postwar development of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
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