A compact 20 MeV linac with an RF laser-driven electron gun will drive a high-gain (10 cm gain length), 10.6 micrometers wavelength FEL amplifier, operating in the SASE mode. FEL physics in the high-gain regime will be studied, including start-up from noise, optical guiding, sidebands, saturation, and superradiance, with emphasis on the effects important for future short wavelength operation of FEL's. The hybrid undulator, designed and built at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy in the U.S.S.R., has forty periods, each 1.5 cm long. The magnetic material is a hybrid combination of SmCo5 blocks and Nd-Fe-B blocks, with vanadium-permendur yokes. The gap distance between pole-tips is fixed at 5 mm. On axis the peak value of the completed undulator's magnetic field was measured to be 7.3 kGauss (+/- 0.25%). Measurements during the conditioning phase of the RF gun for the electron beam's peak dark-current show 6 mA without the longitudinal magnetic focusing field in the gun and 34 mA with the focusing field active. The peak current from photoemission is calculated to be 200 A.