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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Devil's Brigade granted top U.S. honours

They came with kilts and bagpipes, among other Canadian military accoutrements. And now the members of the top-secret World War II unit the Devil's Brigade are leaving with something altogether astonishing -- a Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest honours the United States can bestow. 
Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer hailed the news in Washington today after both houses of Congress, in a rare show of bipartisanship, found two-thirds majorities required to grant the medal.

...The joint Canada-U.S. Devil's Brigade, a top-secret World War II  unit that became the template for modern day special forces, began training in 1942 at Fort Harrison in Helena, Mt., specializing in high alpine combat, covert amphibious landings, parachuting and other non-conventional tactics.

The unit never failed a mission, suffering 2,314 casualties -- 134 per cent of its original combat strength of 1,800 volunteers -- as it took on the liberation of Rome and other key raids against the German First Panzer Paratroop Division.

in 1968, a popular movie with William Holden and Cliff Robertson was made about The Devil's Brigade:

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