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🎰 Battle of Monte Cassino - Wikipedia


The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle for Rome and the Battle for Cassino) was a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II.
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Monte Cassino (sometimes written Montecassino) is a rocky hill about 130 kilometres (81 mi) southeast of Rome, in the Latin Valley, Italy, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the town of Cassino and 520 m (1,706.04 ft) altitude.

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World War Two: The Battle of Monte Cassino. By Professor Richard Holmes Last updated 2011-02-17. Richard Holmes asks whether the epic Battle of Cassino would have taken place, if Allied leadership.
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Montecassino (also spelled Monte Cassino), a small town about 80 miles south of Rome, is the home of the sacred relics and monastery of St. Benedict (480-543), the patron saint of Europe and the founder of western monasticism.
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The intention was a to.
At the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans holding the Rapido-Gari, Liri and Garigliano valleys and some of the surrounding peaks and ridges.
Together, these features article source the.
Lying in a protected historic zone, it had been left unoccupied by the Germans, although they manned some positions set into the steep slopes below the abbey's walls.
Repeated pinpoint artillery attacks on Allied assault troops caused their leaders to conclude the abbey was being used by the Germans as an observation post, at the very least.
Fears escalated along with casualties and in spite of a lack of clear evidence, it was marked for destruction.
On 15 February American bombers dropped 1,400 tons of high explosives, creating widespread damage.
The raid failed to achieve its objective, as then occupied the rubble and established excellent defensive positions amid the ruins.
Between 17 January and 18 May, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were assaulted four times by Allied troops.
On 16 May, soldiers from the launched one of the final assaults on the German defensive position as part of a twenty- assault along a twenty-mile front.
On 18 May, a Polish flag followed by the British Union Jack were raised over the ruins.
Following this Allied victory, the German collapsed on 25 May.
The German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but at a high cost.
The capture of Monte Cassino resulted in 55,000 Allied casualties, with German losses being far fewer, estimated at around 20,000 killed and wounded.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
Find sources: — · · · · May 2017 The in September 1943 by two Allied armies, following shortly after the Allied in July, commanded bythe C-in-C of the later retitled thewere followed by an advance northward on two fronts, one on choctaw casino hugo jobs side of the central mountain range forming the "spine" of Italy.
On the western front, thecommanded bywhich had suffered very heavy casualties during the main landing at Salerno codenamed Operation Avalanche in September, moved from the main safari casino of up the Italian "boot" and on the eastern front thecommanded by Generaladvanced up the.
Clark's Fifth Army made slow progress in the face of difficult terrain, wet weather and skillful German defences.
The Germans were fighting from a series of prepared positions in a manner designed to inflict maximum damage, then pulling back while buying time for the construction of the defensive positions south of the Italian capital of.
The original estimates that Rome would fall by October 1943 proved far too optimistic.
Although in the east the German defensive line had been breached on Montgomery's Eighth Army Adriatic front and by the 1st Canadian Division, the advance had ground to a halt with the onset of winter blizzards at the end of December, making close air support and movement in the jagged terrain impossible.
The route to Rome from the east using Route 5 was thus excluded as a viable option leaving the routes from Naples to Rome, highways 6 and 7, as the only possibilities; Highway 7 the old Roman followed along the west coast but south of Rome ran into thewhich the Germans had flooded.
Highway 6 ran through the valley, dominated at its south entrance by the rugged mass of above the town of.
Excellent observation from the peaks of several hills allowed the German defenders to detect Allied movement and direct highly accurate fire, preventing any northward advance.
Running across the Allied line was the fast flowingwhich rose in the centralflowed through Cassino joining to thewhich was erroneously identified as the Rapido and across the entrance to the Liri valley.
There the Liri river joined the Gari to form the River, which continued on to the sea.
With its heavily fortified mountain defences, difficult river crossings, and valley head flooded by the Germans, Cassino formed a linchpin of the Gustav Line, the most formidable line of the defensive positions making up the Winter Line.
In spite of its potential excellence as an observation post, because of the fourteen-century-old abbey's historical significance, the German C-in-C in Italy,ordered German units not to include it in their defensive positions and informed the Vatican and the Allies accordingly in December 1943.
Nevertheless, some Allied reconnaissance aircraft maintained they observed German troops inside the monastery.
While this remains unconfirmed, it is clear that once the monastery was destroyed it was occupied by the Germans and proved better cover for their emplacements and troops than an intact structure would have offered.
The plan of the Fifth Army commander, Lieutenant General Clark, was for theunderon the left of a thirty-kilometer 20 mi front, to attack on 17 January 1944, across the Garigliano near the coast and.
The was to attack on the night of 19 January across the Garigliano below its junction with the Liri in support of the main attack byunderon their right.
The main central thrust by the U.
II Corps would commence on 20 January with the making an assault across the swollen Gari river five miles 8 km downstream of Cassino.
Simultaneously the CEFunder General would continue its "right hook" move towardsthe hinge to the Gustav and.
In truth, Clark did not believe there was much chance of an early breakthrough, but he felt that the attacks would draw German reserves away from the Rome area in time for the codenamed Operation Shingle where the andtheandof thealong with supporting unitsunder Major Generalwas due to make an amphibious landing on 22 January.
It was hoped that the Anzio landing, with the benefit of surprise and a rapid move inland to thewhich command both routes 6 and 7, would so threaten the Gustav defenders' rear and supply lines that it might just unsettle the German commanders and cause them to withdraw from the Gustav Line to positions north of Rome.
Whilst this would have been consistent with the German tactics of the previous three months, Allied intelligence had not understood that the strategy of fighting retreat had been for the sole purpose of providing time to prepare the Gustav line where the Germans intended to stand firm.
The intelligence assessment of Allied prospects was therefore over-optimistic.
The Fifth Army had only reached the Gustav Line on 15 January, having taken six weeks of heavy fighting to advance the last seven miles 11 km through the positions, during which time they had sustained 16,000 casualties.
They hardly had time to prepare the new assault, let alone take the rest and reorganization they really needed after three months of north from Naples.
However, because the Allied would only make available until early February, as they were required forthe AlliedOperation Shingle had to take place in late January with the coordinated attack on the Gustav Line some three days earlier.
The first assault was made on 17 January.
Near the coast, the British X Corps 56th and 5th Divisions forced a crossing of the Garigliano followed some two days later by the British 46th Division on their right causing Generalcommander of theand responsible for the Gustav defences on the south western half of the line, some serious concern as to the ability of the to hold the line.
Responding to Senger's concerns, Kesselring ordered the and from the Rome area to provide reinforcement.
The corps did not have the extra men, but there would certainly have been time to alter the overall battle plan and cancel or modify the central attack by the U.
II Corps to make men available to force the issue in the south before the German reinforcements were able to get into position.
As it happened, Fifth Army HQ failed to appreciate the frailty of the German position and the plan was unchanged.
The two divisions from Rome arrived by 21 January and stabilized the German position in the south.
In one respect, however, the plan was working in that Kesselring's reserves had been drawn south.
The three divisions of Lieutenant General McCreery's X Corps sustained some 4,000 casualties during the period of the first battle.
The central thrust by the U.
The lack of time to prepare meant that the approach to the river was still hazardous due to uncleared mines and booby traps and the highly technical business of an opposed river crossing lacked the necessary planning and rehearsal.
Although a battalion of the was able to get across the Gari on the south side of San Angelo and two companies of the on the north side, they were isolated for most of the time and at no time was Allied armour able to get across the river, leaving them highly vulnerable to counter-attacking tanks and self-propelled guns of 's.
The southern group was forced back across the river by mid-morning of 21 January.
Major General Keyes, commanding the U.
II Corps, pressed Major General Walker to renew the attack immediately.
Once again the two regiments attacked but with no more success against the well dug-in 15th Panzergrenadier Division: the 143rd Infantry Regiment got the equivalent of two battalions across, but, once again, there was no armoured support and they were devastated when daylight came the next day.
The 141st Infantry Regiment also crossed in two battalion strength and, despite the lack of armoured support, managed to advance 1 kilometre 0.
However, with the coming of daylight, they too were cut down and by the evening of 22 January the 141st Infantry Regiment had virtually ceased to exist; only 40 men made it back to the Allied lines.
On average, soldiers wounded on the received "definitive treatment" nine hours and forty-one minutes after they were hit, a medical study later found.
As a result, the army's conduct of this battle became the subject of a after the war.
The next attack was launched on 24 January.
II Corps, with under Major General spearheading the attack and French colonial troops on its right flank, launched an assault across the flooded Rapido valley north of Cassino and into the mountains behind with the intention of then wheeling to the left and attacking Monte Cassino from high ground.
Whilst the task of crossing the river would be easier in that the Rapido upstream of Cassino was fordable, the flooding made movement on the approaches each side very difficult.
In particular, armour could only move on paths laid with steel matting and it took eight days of bloody fighting across the waterlogged ground for 34th Division to push back General to establish a foothold in the mountains.
Forward units of the had also by-passed Monte Cifalco to capture and Colle Abate.
General Juin was convinced that Cassino could be bypassed and the German defences unhinged by this northerly route but his request for reserves to maintain the momentum of his advance was refused and the one available reserve regiment from 36th Division was sent to reinforce 34th Division.
By 31 January the French had ground to a halt with Monte Cifalco, which had a clear view of the French and U.
The two Moroccan-French divisions sustained 2,500 casualties in their struggles around Colle Belvedere.
It became the task of the U.
They could then break through down into the Liri valley behind the Gustav Line defences.
It was very tough going: the mountains were rocky, strewn with boulders and cut by ravines and gullies.
Digging on the rocky ground was out of the question and each feature was exposed to fire from surrounding high points.
The ravines were no better since the growing there, far from giving cover, had been sown with mines, booby-traps and hidden barbed wire by the defenders.
The Germans had had three months to prepare their defensive positions using dynamite and to stockpile ammunition and stores.
There was no natural shelter and the weather was wet and freezing cold.
By early February, American infantry had captured a strategic point near the hamlet of San Onofrio, less than a mile from the abbey and by 7 February a battalion had reached Point 445, a round-topped hill immediately below the monastery and no more than 400 yards 370 m away.
An American squad managed a reconnaissance right up against the cliff-like abbey walls, with the monks observing German and American patrols exchanging fire.
However, attempts to take Monte Cassino were broken by overwhelming machine gun fire from the slopes below the monastery.
Despite their fierce fighting, the 34th Division never managed to take the final redoubts on Hill 593 known to the Germans as Calvary Mountheld by the 3rd Battalion of thepart of thethe dominating point of the ridge to the monastery.
II Corps, after two and a half weeks of torrid battle, was fought out.
The performance of the 34th Division in the mountains is considered to rank as one of the finest feats of arms carried out by any soldiers during the war.
In return they sustained losses of about 80 per cent in the Infantry battalions, some 2,200 casualties.
At the height of the battle in the first days of February von Senger und Etterlin had moved the 90th Division from the Garigliano front to north of Cassino and had been so alarmed at the rate of attrition, he had ".
Kesselring refused the request.
At the crucial moment von Senger was able to throw in the whilst leaving the 15th Panzergrenadier Division whom they had been due to relieve in place.
During this web page battle there had been occasions when, with more astute use of reserves, promising positions might have been turned into decisive moves.
However, it is more likely that he just had too much to do, being responsible for both the Cassino and Anzio offensives.
This view is supported by the inability of Major Generalcommanding the U.
Whilst General Alexander, C-in-C of the AAI, chose for perfectly logical co-ordination arguments to have Cassino and Anzio under a single army commander and splitting the Gustav Line front between the U.
Fifth Army and the British Eighth Army, now commanded by Lieutenant GeneralKesselring chose to create a separate under General to fight at Anzio whilst leaving the Gustav Line in the sole hands of General 's.
The withdrawn American units were replaced by the New Zealand Corps andcommanded by Lieutenant Generalfrom the Eighth Army on the Adriatic front.
VI Corps under heavy threat at Anzio, Freyberg was under equal pressure to launch a relieving action at Cassino.
Once again, therefore, the battle commenced without the attackers being fully prepared.
As well, Corps HQ did not fully appreciate the difficulty in getting into place in the mountains and supplying them on the ridges and valleys north of Cassino using mules across 7 miles 11 km of goat tracks over terrain in full view of the monastery, exposed to accurate artillery fire — hence the naming of Death Valley.
This was evidenced in the writing of Maj.
I never really appreciated the difficulties until I went over the ground after the war.
Success would pinch out Cassino town and open up the Liri valley.
Freyberg had informed his superiors that he believed, given the circumstances, there was no better than a 50 per cent chance of success for the offensive.
The British press and of frequently and convincingly and in often manufactured detail wrote of German observation posts and artillery positions inside the abbey.
II Corps also flew over the monastery several times, reporting to Fifth Army G-2 he had seen no evidence that the Germans were in the abbey.
There is no clear evidence it was, but he went on to write that from a military point of view it was immaterial: If not occupied today, it might be tomorrow and it did not appear it would be difficult for the enemy to bring reserves into it during an attack or for troops to take shelter there if driven from positions outside.
It was impossible to ask troops to storm a hill surmounted by an intact building such as this, capable of sheltering several hundred infantry in perfect security from shellfire and ready at the critical moment to emerge and counter-attack.
Undamaged it was a perfect shelter but with its narrow windows and level read article an unsatisfactory fighting position.
Smashed by bombing it was a jagged heap of broken masonry and debris open to effective fire from guns, mortars and strafing planes as well as being a death trap if bombed again.
On the whole I thought it would be more useful to the Germans if we left it hiring in helena mt />A B-17 Flying Fortress over Monte Cassino, 15 February 1944 Major Generalwhose 4th Indian Division would have the task of attacking Monastery Hill, had made his own appraisal of the situation.
In the absence of detailed intelligence at Fifth Army HQ, he had found a book dated 1879 in a Naples bookshop giving details of the construction of the abbey.
betcruise casino his memorandum to Freyberg he concluded that regardless of whether the monastery was currently occupied by the Germans, it should be demolished to prevent its effective occupation.
He also pointed out that with 150-foot 46 m high walls made of masonry at least 10 feet 3.
Tuker said he could not be induced to attack unless "the garrison was reduced to helpless lunacy by sheer unending pounding for days and nights by air and artillery".
On 11 February 1944, the acting commander of 4th Indian Division, Brigadierrequested a bombing raid.
Tuker reiterated again his case from a hospital bed in Caserta, where he was suffering a severe attack of a recurrent.
Freyberg transmitted his request on 12 February.
The request, however, was greatly expanded click at this page air force planners and probably supported by Ira Eaker and Jacob Devers, who sought to use the opportunity to showcase the abilities of U.
Army air power to support ground operations.
Lieutenant General Mark W.
Clark of Fifth Army and his chief of staff Major General remained unconvinced of the "military necessity".
When handing over the U.
II Corps position to the New Zealand Corps, Brigadier General J.
Butler, deputy commander of U.
All the fire has been from the slopes of the hill below the wall".
Finally Clark, "who did not want the monastery bombed", pinned down the Commander-in-ChiefGeneral Sirto take the responsibility: "I said, 'You give me a direct order and we'll do it,' and he did.
In all they dropped 1,150 tons of high explosives and incendiary bombs on the abbey, reducing the entire top of Monte Cassino to a smoking mass of rubble.
Between bomb runs, the II Corps artillery pounded the mountain.
Many Allied soldiers and war correspondents cheered as they observed the spectacle.
Eaker and Devers watched; Juin was heard to remark ".
That same afternoon and the next day an aggressive follow-up of artillery and a raid by 59 fighter bombers wreaked further destruction.
The German positions on Point 593 above and behind the monastery were untouched.
Damningly, the air raid had not been coordinated with ground commands and an immediate infantry follow-up failed to materialize.
Its timing had been driven by the Air Force regarding it as a separate operation, considering the weather and requirements on other fronts and theaters without reference to ground forces.
Many of the troops had only taken over their positions from U.
II Corps two days previously and besides the difficulties in the mountains, preparations in the valley had also been held up by difficulties in supplying the newly installed troops with sufficient material for a full-scale assault because of incessantly foul weather, flooding and waterlogged ground.
As a result, Indian troops on the Snake's Head were taken by surprise, while the New Zealand Corps was two days away from being ready to launch their main assault.
There is no evidence that the bombs dropped on the Monte Cassino monastery that day killed any German troops.
However, given the imprecision of bombing in those days it was estimated that only 10 per cent of the bombs from the heavy bombers, bombing from high altitude, hit the monastery bombs did fall elsewhere and killed German and Allied troops alike, although that would have been.
Indeed, sixteen bombs hit the Fifth Army compound at Presenzano 17 miles casinos off i5 in oregon km from Monte Cassino and exploded only yards away from the trailer where Gen.
Clark was doing paperwork at his desk.
On the day after the bombing at first light, most of the civilians still alive fled the ruins.
Only about 40 people remained: the six monks who survived in the deep vaults of the abbey, their 79-year-old abbot,three tenant farmer families, orphaned or abandoned children, the badly wounded and the dying.
After artillery barrages, renewed bombing and attacks on the ridge by 4th Indian Division, the monks decided to leave their ruined home with the others who could move at 07:30 on 17 February.
The old abbot monti casino leading the group down the mule path toward the Liri valley, reciting the rosary.
After they arrived at a German first-aid station, some of the badly wounded who had been carried by the monks were taken away in a military ambulance.
After meeting with a German officer, the monks were driven to chartwell casinos monastery of Sant'Anselmo.
On 18 February, the abbot met the commander of XIV Panzer Corps, Lieutenant-General.
One monk, Carlomanno Pellagalli, returned to the abbey; when he was later seen wandering the ruins, the German paratroopers thought he was a ghost.
After 3 April, he was not seen anymore.
It is now known that the Germans had an agreement not to use the abbey for military purposes.
Following its destruction, paratroopers of the then occupied the ruins of the abbey and turned it into a fortress and observation post, which became a serious problem for the attacking allied forces.
The assault failed, with the company sustaining 50 per cent casualties.
The following night the Royal Sussex Regiment was ordered to attack in battalion strength.
There was a calamitous start.
Artillery could not be used in direct support targeting point 593 because of the proximity and risk of shelling friendly troops.
It was planned therefore to shell point 575 which had been providing supporting fire to the defenders of point 593.
The topography of the land meant that shells fired at 575 had to pass very low over Snakeshead ridge and in the event some fell among the gathering assault companies.
After reorganising, the attack went in at midnight.
The fighting was brutal and often hand to hand, but the read more defence held and the Royal Sussex battalion was beaten off, once again sustaining over 50 per cent casualties.
Over the two nights, the Royal Sussex Regiment lost 12 out of 15 officers and 162 out of 313 men who took part in the attack.
German paratroopers at Monte Cassino On the night of 17 February the main assault took place.
In the meantime, the were to sweep across the slopes and ravines in a direct assault on the monastery.
This latter was across appalling terrain, but it was hoped that thefrom the and so expert in mountain terrain, would succeed.
This proved a faint hope.
Once again the fighting was brutal, but no progress was made and casualties heavy.
It became clear that the attack had failed and on 18 February Brigadier Dimoline and Freyberg called off the attacks on Monastery Hill.
In the other half of the main assault the two companies from from the New Zealand Division forced a crossing of the Rapido and attempted to gain the railway station in Cassino town.
The intention was to take a perimeter that would allow engineers to build a causeway for armoured support.
With the aid of a near constant smoke screen laid down by Allied artillery that obscured their location to the German batteries on Monastery Hill, the Māori were able to hold their positions for much of the day.
Their isolation and lack of both armoured support and anti-tank guns made for a hopeless situation, however, when an armoured counter-attack by two tanks came in the afternoon on 18 February.
They were ordered to pull back to the river when it became clear to headquarters that both the attempts to break through in the mountains and along the causeway would not succeed.
It had been very close.
The Germans had been very alarmed by duisburg inside casino capture of the station and from a conversation on record between Kesselring and Tenth Army commander Gen.
The "right hook" in the mountains had also been a costly failure and it was decided to launch twin attacks from the north along the Rapido valley: one towards the fortified Cassino town and the other towards Monastery Hill.
The idea was to clear the path through the bottleneck between these two features to allow access towards the station on the south and so to the Liri valley.
None of the Allied commanders were very happy with the plan, but it was hoped that an unprecedented preliminary bombing by heavy bombers would prove the trump.
Three clear days of good weather were required and for twenty one successive days the assault was postponed as the troops waited in the freezing wet positions for a favourable weather forecast.
Matters were not helped by the loss of Major General Kippenberger, commanding 2 New Zealand Division, wounded by an anti-personnel mine and losing both his feet.
He was replaced by Brigadier Graham Parkinson; a German counter-attack at Anzio had failed and been called off.
After a bombardment of 750 tons of 1,000-pound bombs with delayed action fuses, starting at 08:30 and lasting three and a half hours, the New Zealanders advanced behind a creeping artillery barrage from 746 artillery pieces.
Success depended on taking advantage of the paralysing effect of the bombing.
The bombing was not concentrated — only 50 per cent landed a mile or less from the target point and 8 per cent within 1,000 yards but between it and the shelling about half the 300 paratroopers in the town had been killed.
The defences rallied more quickly than expected and the Allied armour was held up by bomb craters.
Nevertheless success was there for the New Zealanders' taking, but by the time a follow-up assault on the left had been ordered that evening it was too late: defences had reorganised and more critically, the rain, contrary to forecast, had started again.
Torrents of rain flooded bomb craters, turned rubble into a morass and blotted out communications, the radio sets being incapable of surviving the constant immersion.
The dark rain clouds also blotted out the moonlight, hindering the task of clearing routes through the ruins.
On the right, the New Zealanders had captured Castle Hill and point 165 and as planned, elements of Indian 4th Infantry Division, now commanded read article Major Generalhad passed through to attack point 236 and thence to point 435, Hangman's Hill.
By the end of 17 March the Gurkhas held Hangman's Hill point 435250 yards 230 m from the monastery, in battalion strength although their lines of supply were compromised by the German positions at point 236 and in the northern part of the town and whilst the town was still fiercely defended, New Zealand units and armour had got through the bottleneck and captured the station.
However, the Germans were still able to reinforce their troops in the town and were proving adept at slipping snipers back into parts of the town that had supposedly been cleared.
German prisoners captured by New Zealand troops are held beside a.
After repeated unsuccessful assaults, the Allied offensive was again called off on 22 March.
However, a surprise and fiercely pressed counter-attack from the monastery on Castle Hill by the completely disrupted any possibility of an assault on the monastery from the Castle and Hangman's Hill whilst the tanks, lacking infantry support, were all knocked out by mid-afternoon.
In the town the attackers made little progress and overall the initiative was passing to the Germans whose positions close to Castle Hill, which was the gateway to the position on Monastery Hill, crippled any prospects of early success.
On 20 March Freyberg committed elements of 78th Infantry Division to the battle; firstly to provide a greater troop presence in the town so that cleared areas would not be reinfiltrated by the Germans and secondly to reinforce Castle Hill to allow troops to be released to close state college pa news the two routes between Castle Hill and Points 175 and 165 being used by the Germans to reinforce the defenders in the town.
The Allied commanders felt they were on the brink of success as grim fighting continued through 21 March.
However, the defenders were resolute and the attack on Point 445 to block the German reinforcement route had narrowly failed whilst in the town Allied gains were measured only house by house.
On 23 March Alexander met with his commanders.
A range of opinions were expressed as to the possibility of victory but it was evident that the New Zealand and Indian Divisions were exhausted.
Freyberg was convinced that the attack could not continue and he called it off.
The German 1st Parachute Division had taken a mauling, but had held.
The next three days were spent stabilizing the front, extracting the isolated Gurkhas from Hangman's Hill and the detachment from New Zealand 24 Battalion which had held Point 202 in similar isolation.
The Allied line was reorganised with the exhausted 4th Indian Division and 2nd New Zealand Division withdrawn and replaced respectively in the mountains by the British 78th Division and in the town by.
The New Zealand Corps headquarters was dissolved on 26 March and control was assumed by British XIII Corps.
In their time on the Cassino front line the 4th Indian Division had lost 3,000 men and the 2nd New Zealand Division 1,600 this web page killed, missing and wounded.
The German defenders too had paid a heavy price.
The German XIV Corps War Diary for 23 March noted that the battalions in the front line had strengths varying between 40 and 120 men.
Circumstances allowed him the time to prepare a major offensive to achieve this.
His plan, originally inspired from French 's idea to circle around Cassino and take the Aurunci with his mountain troops to break the Gustav Line, was to the bulk of thecommanded byfrom the Adriatic front across the spine of Italy to join 's and attack along a 20-mile 32 km front between Cassino and the sea.
Fifth Army and would be on the left and Eighth Army and on the right.
With the arrival of the spring weather, ground conditions were improved and it would be possible to deploy large formations and armour effectively.
II Corps on the left would attack up the coast along the line of Route 7 towards Rome.
The French Corps to their right would attack from the bridgehead across the Garigliano originally created by in the first battle in January into the which formed a barrier between the casino rocket plain and the Liri Valley.
British XIII Corps in the centre right of the front would attack along the Liri valley.
On the right Polish II Corps and commanded byhad relieved the in the mountains behind Cassino on 24 April click the following article would attempt the task which had defeated in February: isolate the monastery and push round behind it into the Liri valley to link with XIII Corps' thrust and pinch out the Cassino position.
It was hoped that being a much larger force than their 4th Indian Division predecessors they would be able to saturate the German defences which would as a result be unable to give supporting fire to each other's positions.
Improved weather, ground conditions and supply would also be important factors.
Once again, the pinching manoeuvres by the Polish and British Corps were key to the overall success.
Once the had been defeated, would break out of the Anzio beachhead to cut off the retreating Germans in the.
The large troop movements required for this took two months to execute.
They had to be carried out in small units to maintain secrecy and surprise.
This was planned to keep German reserves held back from the Gustav Line.
Movements of troops in forward areas were confined to the hours of darkness and armoured units moving from the Adriatic front left behind dummy tanks and vehicles so the vacated areas appeared unchanged to enemy aerial reconnaissance.
The deception was successful.
As late as the second day of the final Cassino battle, estimated the Allies had six divisions facing his four on the Cassino front.
In fact there were thirteen.
The first assault 11—12 May on Cassino opened at 23:00 with a massive casino mesa butte az lone bombardment with 1,060 guns on the Eighth Army front and 600 guns on the Fifth Army front, manned by British, Americans, Poles, New Zealanders, South Africans and French.
Within an hour and a half the attack was in motion in all four sectors.
By daylight the U.
II Corps had made little progress, but their Fifth Army colleagues, the French Expeditionary Corps, had achieved their objectives and were fanning out in the Aurunci Mountains toward the Eighth Army to their right, rolling up the German positions between the two armies.
On the Eighth Army front, British XIII Corps had made two strongly opposed crossings of the Garigliano by and.
Crucially, the engineers of 's 8th Indian Division had by the morning succeeded in bridging the river enabling the armour of to cross and provide the vital element so missed by the Americans in the first battle and New Zealanders in the second battle to beat off the inevitable counter-attacks from German tanks that would come.
British soldier with a Bren gun in the ruins of Monte Cassino.
In the mountains above Cassino, the aptly named Mount Calvary Monte Calvario, or Point 593 on Snakeshead Ridge was taken by the Poles only to be recaptured by German paratroops.
For three days Polish attacks and German counter-attacks brought heavy losses to both sides.
Polish II Corps lost 281 officers and 3,503 other ranks in assaults on 's 4th Parachute Regiment, until the attacks were called off.
By 13 May the pressure was starting to tell.
The German right wing began to give way to Fifth Army.
The French Corps had captured and were now in a position to give material flank assistance to the Eighth Army in the Liri valley against whom Kesselring had thrown every available reserve in order to buy time to switch to his second prepared defensive position, thesome eight miles 13 km to the rear.
On 14 Maytravelling through the mountains parallel to the Liri valley, ground which was undefended because it was not thought possible to traverse such terrain, outflanked the German defence while materially assisting the XIII Corps in the valley.
In 1943, the Goumiers were formed into four Groupements des Tabors Marocains "Groups of Moroccan Tabors"; GTMeach consisting of three loosely organised Tabors roughly equivalent to a battalion specialised in.
Juin's French Expeditionary Corps consisted of the Commande des Goumiers Marocains "Command of Moroccan Goumiers"; CGM with monti casino 1st, 3rd and 4th GTM of General totalling some 7,800 fighting men, broadly the same infantry strength as a division, and four more conventional divisions: the 2 DIMthe 3 DIAthe 4 DMM and the 1 DM.
The next 48 hours on the French front were decisive.
The knife-wielding Goumiers swarmed over the hills, particularly at night and General Juin's entire force showed an aggressiveness hour after hour that the Germans could not withstand.
D'Oro, and were seized in one of the most brilliant and daring advances of the war in Italy.
For this performance, which was to be a key to the success of the entire drive onI shall always be a grateful admirer of General Juin and his magnificent FEC.
On 15 May, the British 78th Division came into the British XIII Corps line from reserve passing through the bridgehead divisions to execute the turning move to isolate Cassino from the Liri valley.
On 17 May, Polish II Corps launched their second attack on Monte Cassino.
Under constant artillery and mortar fire from the strongly fortified German positions and with little natural cover for protection, the fighting was fierce and at times hand-to-hand.
With their line of supply threatened by the Allied advance in the Liri valley, the Germans decided to withdraw from the Cassino heights to the new defensive positions on the Hitler Line.
In the early hours of 18 May the British 78th Division and Polish II Corps linked up in the Liri valley 2 miles 3.
On the Cassino high ground the survivors of the second Polish offensive were so battered that "it took some time to find men with enough strength to climb the few hundred yards to the summit.
The only remnants of the defenders were a group of thirty German wounded who had been unable to move.
This photograph has been inadvertently reversed and so depicts a mirror image of the actual scene.
An immediate follow-up assault failed and Eighth Army then decided to take some time to reorganize.
Getting 20,000 vehicles and 2,000 tanks through the broken Gustav Line was a major job taking several days.
The next assault on the line commenced on 23 May with attacking defended by the redoubtable on the right and fresh from Eighth Army reserve in the centre.
On 24 May, the Canadians had breached the line and poured through the gap.
On 25 May the Poles took Piedimonte and the line collapsed.
The way was clear for the advance northwards on Rome and beyond.
Thefacing this thrust, was without any armoured divisions because had sent his armour south to assist the in the Cassino action.
A single armoured division, thewas in transit from north of the Italian capital of Rome where it had been held anticipating the non-existent seaborne landing the Allies had faked and so was unavailable to fight.
By the next day they would have been astride the line of retreat and 10th Army, with all Kesselring's reserves committed to them, would have been trapped.
At this point, astonishingly, Lieutenant General Clark, commanding the American Fifth Army, ordered Truscott to change his line of attack from a northeasterly one to on Route 6 to a northwesterly one directly towards Rome.
Reasons for Clark's decision are unclear and controversy surrounds the issue.
Truscott later wrote in his memoirs that Clark "was fearful that the British were laying devious plans to be first into Rome," a sentiment somewhat reinforced in Clark's own writings.
However, General Alexander, C-in-C of the AAI, had clearly laid down the Army boundaries before the battle and Rome was allocated to the Fifth Army.
Lieutenant General 's British Eighth Army was constantly reminded that their job was to engage the 10th Army, destroy as much of it as possible and then bypass Rome to continue the pursuit northwards which in fact they did, harrying the retreating 10th Army for some 225 miles 362 km towards in 6 weeks.
At the time, Truscott was shocked, writing later.
This was no time to drive to the northwest where the enemy was still strong; we should pour our maximum power into the Valmontone Gap to insure the destruction of the retreating German Army.
I would not comply with the order without first talking to General Clark in person.
On the 26th the order was put into effect.
He went on to write There has never been any doubt in my mind that had General Clark held loyally to General Alexander's instructions, had he not changed the direction of my attack to the northwest on May 26, the strategic objectives of Anzio would have been accomplished in full.
To be first in Rome was a poor compensation for this lost opportunity.
An opportunity was indeed missed and seven divisions of 10th Army were able to make their way to the next line of defence, the where they were able to link up with 14th Army and then make a fighting withdrawal to the formidable north of.
Rome was captured on 4 June 1944, just two days before the.
In addition, subsidiary battle honours were given to some units which participated in specific engagements during the first part.
These wereand.
Units which participated in the later part of the battle were awarded the honour '.
All members of the Polish units received the.
The suffered around 55,000 casualties in the Monte Cassino campaign.
German casualty figures are estimated at around 20,000 killed and wounded.
Total Allied casualties spanning the period of the four Cassino battles and the with the subsequent capture of Rome on 5 June 1944, were over 105,000.
Benedict first established the that ordered in the west, was entirely destroyed by Allied bombing and artillery barrages in February 1944.
Unloading of Monte Cassino property in the Piazza Venezia in Rome.
} During prior months in the Italian autumn of 1943, two officers in the Hermann Göring Panzer Division, Captain Maximilian Becker and Lieutenant Colonel Julius Schlegel, proposed the removal of Monte Cassino's treasures to the Vatican and Vatican-owned Castel Sant'Angelo ahead of the approaching front.
They had to find the materials necessary for crates and boxes, find carpenters among their troops, recruit local labourers to be paid with rations of food plus twenty cigarettes a day and then manage the "massive job of evacuation centered on the library and archive," a treasure "literally without price.
The task was completed in the first days of November 1943.
As Miller stated, this experience deeply influenced him and directly resulted in his writing, a decade later, the bookwhich is considered a masterpiece of science fiction.
The book depicts a future order of monks living in the aftermath of a devastatingand dedicated to the mission of preserving the surviving remnants of man's scientific knowledge until the day the outside world is again ready for it.
The assertion that the German use of the abbey was "irrefutable" was removed from the record in 1961 by the Office of the Chief of Military History.
A congressional inquiry to the same office in the 20th anniversary year of the bombing stated: "It appears that no German troops, except a small military police detachment, were actually inside the abbey" before the bombing.
The final change to the U.
Some of these units were accused of committing atrocities against the Italian peasant communities in the region.
In Italy the victims of these acts were described as meaning literally "Moroccaned" or monti casino who have been subjected to acts committed by Moroccans.
It was also during this time that Polish song-writerwho had taken part in the fighting there, wrote his anthem " " "The Red Poppies on Monte Cassino".
Later, an imposing was laid out; this is prominently visible to anybody surveying the area from the restored monastery.
The Polish cemetery is the closest of all allied cemeteries in the area; an honor given to the Poles as their units are the ones credited with the liberation of the abbey.
The on the western outskirts of Cassino is a burial place of British, New Zealand, Canadian, Indian, Gurkha, Australian and South African casualties.
The French and Italians are on Route 6 in the Liri Valley; the Americans are at the in.
The German cemetery is approximately 2 miles 3.
In the 1950s, a subsidiary of the distributedcast from the doors of the destroyed Abbey, to representatives of nations that had served on both sides of the war to promote reconciliation.
In 1999, a was unveiled in Warsaw and is located next to the street that is named after.
In 2006, a memorial was unveiled in Rome honouring the Allied forces that fought and died to capture the city.
The confusion between the J-3 and L-5 is easy to understand since they are very similar aircraft.
It is possible that the difference in height is explained by the one being a height above the abbey and the other a height above the valley floor.
The British official history, first published in 1973, states that the German commanders considered the "Cassino Position" to be the keystone of the defensive line but concludes that "There is abundant and convincing evidence that the Germans made no military use whatever of the abbey's buildings until after the Allies had wrecked them by bombing.
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Wspomnienia kapelana Pulku 4 Pancernego "Skorpion" spod Monte Cassino.
Szkice spod Monte Cassino.
Bitwa o Monte Cassino.
please click for source і салаўі Death and nightingales.
Беларусы ў бітве за Монтэ-Касіна.
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