Click for more At night the “black devils” of Anzio beach-head sally out of Gusville deep into German territory, kill or capture enemy troops and return. In daylight the “black devils” with the blacking washed from their faces, work across the fields and up the dust roads, looking for more Germans. (Robert Vermillion: With the 5th’s Black Devils at Gusville 1944). Black Devils is the most common nickname for the FSSF. The term originated from the WWII diary
    of a German lieutenant named Heinz Gunther Muller. In February of 1944, the FSSF was positioned
    along the Mussolini Canal defending the eastern side of the Anzio beachhead. Just after midnight on
    February 26, an enemy platoon led by Muller attacked a Force position on the canal, but they were driven back.
    A Force patrol pursued them for a kilometer, and engaged them in a firefight at a farmhouse. Mueller and his
    sergeant were killed before their platoon was able to escape. His diary was found on his body and turned over
    to the Force intelligence officer. The February 14 entry stated “Enemy patrols in baggy pants are 100 meters
    from my own OP line. We don’t know where they are or when they come. Seems like black devils are all around.”
    (FSSF Intelligence Report Number 75, February 26, 1944). Muller’s references refer to the loose parachute trousers worn by the FSSF and the fact that the Forcemen darkened their faces for night patrols. In fact, a German operations report misidentified FSSF as “colored troops” because of this camouflaging. At Anzio, Black Devils was quickly adopted by the Force as their new moniker. A March 25 1944 newspaper article about the Force highlights the name and their activities: