History of the Airborne Regiment

The Canadian Airborne Regiment traces its roots back to two distinguished units formed during World War II, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and the First Special Service Force.

  • 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, 1942-45
  • First Special Service Force (Devil’s Brigade), 1942-44
  • Canadian Special Air Service Company, 1947-49
  • Mobile Strike Force, 1948-58
  • Defence of Canada Force, 1958-68
  • Canadian Airborne Regiment, 1968-95
  • Joint Task Force II, 1993-Present
  • Three independent parachute companies within light infantry battalions, 1995-Present

The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was formed on 1 July 1942 with the initial purpose of defending Canada. The battalion began training in Fort Benning, Georgia, then moved to the Parachute Training Center in Shilo, Manitoba. In July 1943, the unit was designated with active service in Europe and joined the 6th British Airborne Division in the United Kingdom.

In Europe, the battalion participated in the D-Day invasion, fought in Belgium and Holland, joined in the Airborne crossing of the Rhine and advanced to Wismar. 1st Can Para received the following battle honours;

  • Normandy Landing
  • Dives Crossing
  • The Rhine
  • Northwest Europe 1944-45

1st Can Para returned to Canada in June 1945 and was disbanded a few months later.

On 10 July 1942, the United States and Canada formed the joint unit, the First Special Service Force (FSSF). The unit began training in Helena, Montana for special operations in Europe. In the summer of 1943, the FSSF was rapidly deployed to the Aleutian Islands, off Alaska in the North Pacific, to participate in the invasion of Kiska.

Next, after being reenforced by a fresh batch of volunteers from Canada and the united states, the FSSF was rushed to Italy to be used as a fire brigade by the U.S. Fifth Army. There it distinguished itself in the successful assaults on Monte LaDifensa and Monte Remetanea.

The force went on to fight during the long standoff at Anzio, carrying out incessant night raids into the German rear. They were soon dubbed Schwartzer Teufel (Black Devils) by the Germans and came to be known as the Devil’s Brigade. After the breakout from Anzio, men from the FSSF were the first Allied Soldiers to enter Rome

The First Special Service Force was subsequently deployed to Europe where it was often misused as line infantry. The force suffered disproportionate casualties and was eventually withdrawn from combat and shut down. The Canadian contingent was dispersed as reenforcements for other units.

During the war, the First Special Service Force received the following battle honours;

  • Monte Camino
  • Monte La Difensa
  • Monte La Remetanea
  • Monte Majo
  • Anzio
  • Rome
  • Advance to the Tiber
  • Italy 1943-44
  • Southern France
  • Northwest Europe

After the war, many of the members of the 1st Can Para and the FSSF who remained in the military formed the core of the Canadian Special Air Service (SAS) company which was formed in 1947. The Cdn SAS was raised and commanded by Guy d’Artois who had served with the FSSF.

The Canadian SAS was disbanded in 1949 after the Mobile Striking Force (MSF) was formed in 1948. The MSF consisted of various battalions from different units across Canada. Its main purpose was the defence of Canada and the arctic.

In 1958, the size of the Mobile Strike Force was reduced to companies of parachute trained soldiers in various Infantry battalions and the force was renamed the Defence of Canada Force.

More to come soon

2 Responses to “History of the Airborne Regiment”

  1. on 06 Sep 2015 at 10:42 amJoseph"TINY" Morin

    Great Fucking History???? What about the Black eye given to CANADA when the FLQ blew up NDHQ/Ottawa which culminated in the Deployment under the Fed.Gov’t War Measures Act/OP Essay/Montreal 1970. Still #11 in MacLean’s Magazine as A Top Story. Willful Blind Bastards. With the “kidnapping” of Foreign Trade Minister James Cross, had his ending been as Mr. Laporte ??? Can you say SAS??? The point is this was done within 6 weeks of AIRBORNE involvement the Rats were allowed to “SCURRY” off to Cuba. and a More Peaceful Montreal was returned to Mayor Drapeau “YES” Isn’t this the Ultimate description of History created AND handled by the Youth of Canada. “I turned 20 that year”. A letter sent to The AIRBORNE thanked us for our quick action/reaction/ and professional handling of CANADA’S BLACK EYE. The problem is I FEEL. was the lack of Blood & Gore/Body Bags/Body Count. We were or Had Become used to these terms due to the Vietnam WAR. We did Everything Tasked to US. and then handed Montreal back to the Gov’t of the Day/ PM Trudeau won a bigger majority across Canada as well as Quebec in the next federal Election. BUTT do the MEN in In Uniform get their Just Rewards/Battle Flag/Battle Colours ??? NO!!! Just bury us in Political BULL SHIT under one of the FLOOR Mats in Ottawa Some where. OUR Day will come AIRBORNE BROTHERS . stay the course fight this fight with me TINY/C-COY/1-CDO/1968/SPALL BLOCK/GRIESBACH BARRACKS/EDMONTON AB/AMEN

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