First Special Service Force Anzio “Death Sticker”




The sticker was developed by FSSF commander Colonel Robert T. Frederick when the FSSF was defending one-fourth of the U.S. line along the Mussolini Canal at the Anzio beachhead in Italy in 1944. Assigned the same defensive line as other full divisions, Frederick created the sticker as part of the psychological warfare against the Germans to keep them in fear of the Force and to deter attacks. The phrase “Das dicke ende kommt noch!” is German for “The worst is yet to come!” The Forcemen would stick them on the helmets of German soldiers they killed during their night forays or in other visible locations well behind German lines. In preparation for their missions they blackened their faces, necks, and hands with black shoe polish, earning them the moniker “Black Devils” (“Schwartzer Teufel”) by the Germans. As a result of their aggressive night operations the Germans did conclude that they were facing a full division and pulled their lines back to reduce their losses.