💰 Battle of Monte Cassino - Wikipedia

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Article about the World War Two battle at Monte Cassino in Italy, which destroyed the ancient abbey.


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The Battle of Monte 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​.


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The struggle for Cassino in early was one of the most brutal and costly the metre-high Monte Cassino, topped by an historic Benedictine monastery. Sir Bernard Freyberg now steeled himself and his forces for the battle ahead.


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The Battle of Monte Cassino, one of the bloodiest battles of world war two, took place 75 years ago, lasting from December until May.


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Article about the World War Two battle at Monte Cassino in Italy, which destroyed the ancient abbey.


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Article about the World War Two battle at Monte Cassino in Italy, which destroyed the ancient abbey.


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Richard Holmes asks whether the epic Battle of Cassino would have taken place, if Allied leadership had understood the real problems involved.


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The Third Battle of Cassino in mid-March was preceded by a thunderous artillery barrage from nine hundred guns and a massive aerial.


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The struggle for Cassino in early was one of the most brutal and costly the metre-high Monte Cassino, topped by an historic Benedictine monastery. Sir Bernard Freyberg now steeled himself and his forces for the battle ahead.


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The Battle of Monte 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​.


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Once again the two regiments attacked but with no more success against the well dug-in 15th Panzergrenadier Division: the rd 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. On 16 May, soldiers from the Polish II Corps launched one of the final assaults on the German defensive position as part of a twenty- division assault along a twenty-mile front. However, because the Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff would only make landing craft available until early February, as they were required for Operation Overlord , the Allied invasion of Northern France , Operation Shingle had to take place in late January with the coordinated attack on the Gustav Line some three days earlier. The U. Ryder 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. 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. Increasingly, the opinions of certain Allied officers were fixed on the great abbey of Monte Cassino: in their view it was the abbey—and its presumed use as a German artillery observation point—that prevented the breach of the 'Gustav Line'. Running across the Allied line was the fast flowing Rapido River , which rose in the central Apennine Mountains , flowed through Cassino joining to the Gari River , which was erroneously identified as the Rapido [9] and across the entrance to the Liri valley. 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.

Invasion of Italy. Artillery and Nebelwerfer drumfire methodically searched both bridgeheadswhile machine guns opened on every sound GIs inched forward, feeling for trip wires and listening to German gun crews reload On average, soldiers wounded on the Rapido received "definitive treatment" nine hours and forty-one minutes after they were hit, a medical study later found The assault had been a costly failure, with the 36th Division losing 2, [17] battle of monte casino killed, wounded and missing in 48 hours.

At the beginning ofthe 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 battle of monte casino.

VI Corps British 1st and U. The two divisions from Rome arrived by 21 January and stabilized the German position in the south. It was hoped that the Anzio landing, with the benefit of surprise and a rapid move inland to the Alban Hillswhich 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.

General Juin was convinced that Cassino could be bypassed and the German defences please click for source 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.

As a result, the army's conduct of this battle became the subject of a Congressional inquiry after the war. Once again, therefore, the battle commenced without the attackers being fully prepared. The first assault battle of monte casino made on 17 January.

Fears escalated along with casualties and in spite of a lack of clear evidence, it was marked for destruction. The Allied landings in Isleta resort casino in September by two Allied armies, following shortly after the Allied landings in Sicily in July, commanded by General Sir Harold Alexanderthe Commander-in-Chief C-in-C of the 15th Army Group later retitled the Allied Armies in Italywere followed by an advance northward battle of monte casino two fronts, one on each side of the central mountain range forming the "spine" of Italy.

It became the task of the U. Howard Kippenbergercommander of New Zealand 2nd Division, after the war. Walkercommenced three hours after sunset on 20 January. As it happened, Fifth Army HQ failed to appreciate the frailty of the German position and the plan was unchanged.

The British 46th Infantry Division was to attack on the night of 19 January across the Garigliano below its junction with the Liri in support of the main attack by U.

The three divisions of Lieutenant General McCreery's X Corps sustained some 4, casualties during the period of the first battle. Excellent observation from the peaks of several hills allowed the German defenders to detect Allied movement and direct highly accurate artillery fire, preventing any northward advance.

Battle of monte casino lack of time to battle of monte casino 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. II Corps would commence on 20 January with the U.

Lucaswas due to make an amphibious landing on 22 January. The British press and C.

II Corps to make men available to force the issue in the south before the German reinforcements were able to get into position. Clark's Fifth Army made slow progress in the face of difficult terrain, wet weather and skillful German defences. An American squad managed a reconnaissance right up against the cliff-like abbey walls, with the monks observing German and American patrols exchanging fire. 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. However, with the coming of daylight, they too were cut down and by the evening of 22 January, the st Infantry Regiment had virtually ceased to exist; only 40 men made it back to the Allied lines. The next attack was launched on 24 January. Rick Atkinson described the intense German resistance:. However, attempts to take Monte Cassino were broken by overwhelming machine gun fire from the slopes below the monastery. The southern group was forced back across the river by mid-morning of 21 January. 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. By early February, American infantry had captured a strategic point near the hamlet of San Onofrio, less than 1 mile 1. Although a battalion of the rd Infantry Regiment was able to get across the Gari on the south side of San Angelo and two companies of the st Infantry Regiment 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 Generalleutnant Eberhard Rodt 's 15th Panzergrenadier Division. Poor Dimoline acting commander of 4th Indian Division was having a dreadful time getting his division into position. Despite their fierce fighting, the 34th Division never managed to take the final redoubts on Hill known to the Germans as Calvary Mount , held by the 3rd Battalion of the 2nd Parachute Regiment , part of the 1st Parachute Division , the dominating point of the ridge to the monastery. VI Corps under heavy threat at Anzio, Freyberg was under equal pressure to launch a relieving action at Cassino. 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 Winter Line defensive positions south of the Italian capital of Rome. The ravines were no better since the gorse growing there, far from giving cover, had been sown with mines, booby-traps and hidden barbed wire by the defenders. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome. This was evidenced in the writing of Maj. 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. Clark , which had suffered very heavy casualties during the main landing at Salerno codenamed Operation Avalanche in September, moved from the main base of Naples up the Italian "boot" and on the eastern front the British Eighth Army , commanded by General Sir Bernard Montgomery , advanced up the Adriatic coast. On 15 February American bombers dropped 1, tons of high explosives, creating widespread damage. There was no natural shelter and the weather was wet and freezing cold. 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 Franek's German 44th Infantry Division to establish a foothold in the mountains. Keyes pressed Walker to renew the attack immediately. 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. There the Liri river joined the Gari to form the Garigliano River, which continued on to the sea. The original estimates that Rome would fall by October proved far too optimistic. The intelligence assessment of Allied prospects was therefore over-optimistic. During the battle there had been occasions when, with more astute use of reserves, promising positions might have been turned into decisive moves. The main central thrust by the U. II Corps, after two and a half weeks of battle, was worn out. Freyberg's plan was a continuation of the first battle: an attack from the north along the mountain ridges and an attack from the southeast along the railway line and to capture the railway station across the Rapido less than 1 mile 1. With U. The st Infantry Regiment also crossed in two battalion strength and, despite the lack of armoured support, managed to advance 1 kilometre 0. 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. 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 Appian Way followed along the west coast but south of Rome ran into the Pontine Marshes , which the Germans had flooded. In truth, Clark did not believe there was much chance of an early breakthrough, [12] but he felt that the attacks would draw German reserves away from the Rome area in time for the attack on Anzio codenamed Operation Shingle where the U. Some historians [ who? 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 " At the crucial moment von Senger was able to throw in the 71st Infantry Division whilst leaving the 15th Panzergrenadier Division whom they had been due to relieve in place. 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 General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin , commander of the German XIV Panzer Corps , and responsible for the Gustav defences on the south western half of the line, some serious concern as to the ability of the German 94th Infantry Division to hold the line. The two Moroccan-French divisions sustained 2, casualties in their struggles around Colle Belvedere. Responding to Senger's concerns, Kesselring ordered the 29th and 90th Panzergrenadier Divisions from the Rome area to provide reinforcement. On 11 February, after a final unsuccessful 3-day assault on Monastery Hill and Cassino town, the Americans were withdrawn. However, it is more likely that he just had too much to do, being responsible for both the Cassino and Anzio offensives. In one respect, however, the plan was working in that Kesselring's reserves had been drawn south. 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 central thrust by the U. Although in the east the German defensive line had been breached on the Adriatic front and Ortona was captured 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. Together, these features formed the Gustav Line. Digging foxholes on the rocky ground was out of the question and each feature was exposed to fire from surrounding high points. In spite of its potential excellence as an observation post, because of the fourteen-century-old Benedictine abbey's historical significance, the German commander in Italy, Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring , ordered German units not to include it in their defensive positions and informed the Vatican and the Allies accordingly in December Nevertheless, some Allied reconnaissance aircraft maintained they observed German troops inside the monastery. 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. 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. Highway 6 ran through the Liri valley, dominated at its south entrance by the rugged mass of Monte Cassino above the town of Cassino. The German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but at a high cost. On the right, the Moroccan -French troops made good initial progress against the German 5th Mountain Division , commanded by General Julius Ringel , gaining positions on the slopes of their key objective, Monte Cifalco. There is some speculation [ by whom? I never really appreciated the difficulties until I went over the ground after the war. The Germans had had three months to prepare their defensive positions using dynamite and to stockpile ammunition and stores. Success would pinch out Cassino town and open up the Liri valley.