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The Devil's Brigade is a 1966 book written by World War II combat pilot, novelist, and
historian Robert H. Adleman in conjunction with Col. George Walton, a brigade member. The
story tells the real-life World War II story of the 1st Special Service Force.
A 1968 motion picture action drama based on the book recounts the formation and training of
a unique joint commando unit of American and Canadian soldiers that became known as the Devil's
Brigade. The film dramatizes the unit's first mission in the Italian Campaign with the seemingly
impossible task of capturing what to that point had been an impregnable Nazi stronghold.
During the early days of World War II, while the United States was massing its forces for the war,
England hastily plans commando raids against the German forces to keep them at bay until America's
troops enter the war. As a part of this plan, the Allies create the 1st Special Service Force to
plan and carry out an attack on Norway in order to tie up the German forces. This commando force
of Canadian soldiers and American GIs is headed by Lt. Col. Robert T. Frederick (William Holden),
a paper-pusher given his first field command. Antagonism immediately erupts between Canadian Maj.
Alan Crown (Cliff Robertson) and American Maj. Cliff Bricker (Vince Edwards). But Frederick utilizes
their mutual dislike as a basis for a rivalry that turns this rag-tag group of misfits into a
disciplined fighting force. But now that Frederick's men are ready to fight, Frederick receives
word that the Norway mission has been canceled. After appealing to Washington for another assignment
for the commandos, the brigade is sent on a patrol near the German lines in southern Italy. The
brigade captures an enemy-held village and is then given the seemingly impossible task of taking
Mt. La Difensa.
William Holden, Cliff Robertson, Vince Edwards, Andrew Prine, Claude Akins
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Producer: David L. Wolper
Year Released - May 1968
Length - 130 minutes
Music Composer: Alex North
Movie Distributed by United Artists
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