Battle of monte cassino italy

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battle of monte cassino italy

Monte Cassino: The Hardest Fought Battle of World War II by Matthew Parker

Monte Cassino is the true story of one of the bitterest and bloodiest of the Allied struggles against the Nazi army. Long neglected by historians, the horrific conflict saw over 350,000 casualties, while the worst winter in Italian memory and official incompetence and backbiting only worsened the carnage and turmoil. Combining groundbreaking research in military archives with interviews with four hundred survivors from both sides, as well as soldier diaries and letters, Monte Cassino is both profoundly evocative and historically definitive. Clearly and precisely, Matthew Parker brilliantly reconstructs Europe’s largest land battle–which saw the destruction of the ancient monastery of Monte Cassino–and dramatically conveys the heroism and misery of the human face of war.
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Geology and warfare: The WWII battle of Monte Cassino, Italy

Allied efforts were slowed by poor weather, rough terrain, and a tenacious German defense.
Matthew Parker

75th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino

Home Legacy The Battle of Montecassino. Also known as the Battle for Rome, it wasn't just one battle but rather a series of military assaults by the Allies against the Germans, starting on January 17th and ending in late May of Montecassino played center stage in this battle because Allied intelligence suspected German artillery units were utilizing the abbey as an extremely useful observation post, as well as being strategically located for a much-needed breakthrough on German defenses in order to infiltrate a heavily occupied Rome. The loss of life was massive in this controversial operation, with the Allies losing 55, soldiers and an estimated 20, killed and wounded German soldiers. Prior to the start of the Battle, German officer Captain Maximilian Becker and Austrian officer Lieutenant Colonel Julius Schlegel had arranged for the majority of the abbey's artifacts, library archives and documents, and numerous other priceless treasures to be moved for safe-keeping at the Vatican City in Rome.

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On September 3, , the Allies had captured the island of Sicily. From there the next step was to land on the Italian mainland and liberate it from the Germans.

This multi-faceted battle marked one of the longest and bloodiest engagements of the Italian campaign during World War II. After attempts to overcome the Germans in the Liri Valley and at Anzio ended in stalemate, the Allies struggled to capture the western anchor of the Gustav Line and the Roman Catholic abbey of Monte Cassino. Two more offensives, which resulted in the destruction of the abbey and aerial bombardment of the region, again failed to produce the desired result. Only with the launch of Operation Diadem in May did the Gustav Line finally collapse, with the Second Polish Corps succeeding in capturing the abbey. Allied strategy in Italy during World War II centered on keeping the Wehrmacht fully committed so that its veteran divisions could not be shifted to help repel the cross-Channel invasion.

Invasion of Italy. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome. At the beginning of , 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 formed the Gustav Line. 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.

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