battle of rome ww2

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. In fact there were thirteen. The two Moroccan-French divisions sustained 2,500 casualties in their struggles around Colle Belvedere.[19]. Later, an imposing Polish cemetery was laid out; this is prominently visible to anybody surveying the area from the restored monastery. The next attack was launched on 24 January. The Germans had had three months to prepare their defensive positions using dynamite and to stockpile ammunition and stores. 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. Many Americans were against a major destruction of Rome. An immediate follow-up assault failed and Eighth Army then decided to take some time to reorganize. As late as the second day of the final Cassino battle, Kesselring estimated the Allies had six divisions facing his four on the Cassino front. [42] One monk, Carlomanno Pellagalli, returned to the abbey; when he was later seen wandering the ruins, the German paratroopers thought he was a ghost. The Battle of Monte Cassino (also called the Battle for Rome and the Battle for Cassino) was a battle during the Italian Campaign of World War II.It was a series of four attacks by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by the Germans and Italians.. At the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was held by Germans. With the arrival of the spring weather, ground conditions were improved and it would be possible to deploy large formations and armour effectively. The balance of Clark's forces participated i… 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. The first assault was made on 17 January. Leese'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 Perugia in 6 weeks). 1/9th Gurkha Rifles was to attack Point 444. 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. Truscott later wrote in his memoirs that Clark "was fearful that the British were laying devious plans to be first into Rome",[70] a sentiment somewhat reinforced in Clark's own writings. As a result, the army's conduct of this battle became the subject of a Congressional inquiry after the war. 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. As well, Corps HQ did not fully appreciate the difficulty in getting 4th Indian Infantry Division 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). During the battle there had been occasions when, with more astute use of reserves, promising positions might have been turned into decisive moves. The first bombardment occurred on July 19, 1943 and was carried out by 500 American bombers which dropped 1,168 tons of bombs. The French Corps had captured Monte Maio 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, the Hitler Line, some 8 miles (13 km) to the rear. [1947] (2005), This page was last edited on 19 December 2020, at 15:15. [20] In return they sustained losses of about 80 per cent in the Infantry battalions, some 2,200 casualties.[19]. 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. It is now known that the Germans had an agreement not to use the abbey for military purposes. 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",[80] a treasure "literally without price". In 1943, the Goumiers were colonial troops formed into four Groupements des Tabors Marocains ("Groups of Moroccan Tabors"; GTM), each consisting of three loosely organised Tabors (roughly equivalent to a battalion) specialised in mountain warfare. On 11 February, after a final unsuccessful 3-day assault on Monastery Hill and Cassino town, the Americans were withdrawn. Following the first Allied bombing of Rome on May 16, 1943 (three months before the German Army occupied the city), Pius XII wrote Roosevelt asking that Rome "be spared as far as possible further pain and devastation, and their many treasured shrines… from irreparable ruin." [8], USAAF bombers attacked the Guidonia and Centocelle airfields. Clark's Fifth Army made slow progress in the face of difficult terrain, wet weather and skillful German defences. Fears escalated along with casualties and in spite of a lack of clear evidence, it was marked for destruction. 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 intention was a breakthrough to Rome. In the other half of the main assault the two companies from 28th (Māori) Battalion from the New Zealand Division forced a crossing of the Rapido and attempted to gain the railway station in Cassino town. Cradle Of Rome en 1001 Bejeweld spelletjes speel je op 1001 Spelletjes! 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. The day following the battle, the Goumiers, French Moroccan colonial troops attached to the French Expeditionary Forces, have been accused of rape and murder through the surrounding hills. The main central thrust by the U.S. II Corps would commence on 20 January with the U.S. 36th Infantry Division making an assault across the swollen Gari river five miles (8 km) downstream of Cassino. Here is a list of films that convey the Italian WW2 experience. Polish soldiers carry ammunition to the front lines just before the capture of the abbey. For the third battle, it was decided that whilst the winter weather persisted, fording the Garigliano river downstream of Cassino town was an unattractive option (after the unhappy experiences in the first two battles). U.S. II Corps, after two and a half weeks of battle, was worn out. The Battle Of Rome. The fighting was brutal and often hand to hand, but the determined defence held and the Royal Sussex battalion was beaten off, once again sustaining over 50 per cent casualties. After a bombardment of 750 tons of 1,000-pound bombs with delayed action fuses,[51] starting at 08:30 and lasting three and a half hours, the New Zealanders advanced behind a creeping artillery barrage from 746 artillery pieces. We have not and will not make warfare on civilians or against nonmilitary objectives. On the whole I thought it would be more useful to the Germans if we left it unbombed. The capture of Monte Cassino came at a high price. [by whom?] Responding to Senger's concerns, Kesselring ordered the 29th and 90th Panzergrenadier Divisions from the Rome area to provide reinforcement. After reorganising, the attack went in at midnight. Rome was eventually declared an open city on August 14, 1943 (a day after the last Allied bombing) by the defending forces. [13] Both Allied and Axis bombers made some effort not to attack the Vatican when bombing Rome. [6] H.G. The central thrust by the U.S. 36th Division, under Major General Fred L. Walker, commenced three hours after sunset on 20 January. In the 1950s, a subsidiary of the Pontificia Commissione di Assistenza distributed Lamps of Brotherhood, cast from the bronze doors of the destroyed Abbey, to representatives of nations that had served on both sides of the war to promote reconciliation.[91]. Canadian I Corps would be held in reserve ready to exploit the expected breakthrough. Kippenberger of the New Zealand Corps HQ held it was their view the monastery was probably being used as the Germans' main vantage point for artillery spotting, since it was so perfectly situated for it no army could refrain. [86], The American writer Walter M. Miller, Jr., a Catholic, served as part of a bomber crew that participated in the destruction of the ancient Monte Cassino monastery. The plan of the Fifth Army commander, Lieutenant General Clark, was for the British X Corps, under Lieutenant General Richard McCreery, on the left of a thirty-kilometer (20 mi) front, to attack on 17 January 1944, across the Garigliano near the coast (5th and 56th Infantry Divisions). The Battle of Zama—fought in 202 BC near Zama (Tunisia)—marked the end of the Second Punic War. The following night the Royal Sussex Regiment was ordered to attack in battalion strength. [8], Ciampino was attacked again, this time by 35 bombers. The Allies had been bombing the Italian mainland, including Rome, causing shortages of food and material. ... a position, in fact, north of the Anzio bridgehead". On 23 March Alexander met with his commanders. 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 "...mustered all the weight of my authority to request that the Battle of Cassino should be broken off and that we should occupy a quite new line. The ‘bulge’ refers to the wedge that the Germans drove into the Allied lines during their ultimately unsuccessful attempt … [47] In the meantime, the 1/2nd Gurkha Rifles were to sweep across the slopes and ravines in a direct assault on the monastery. The U.S. II Corps, with 34th Infantry Division under Major General Charles W. 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. 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 5 months of battle were grinding and heroic on both sides and the Germans from their entrenched defensive positions and with the aid of poor weather and terrain held off the allies in the first 2 months of battle. The Italian campaign of World War II, also called the Liberation of Italy, consisted of Allied and Axis operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to 1945. ... Undamaged it was a perfect shelter but with its narrow windows and level profiles an unsatisfactory fighting position. The officers convinced church authorities and their own senior commanders to use the division’s trucks and fuel for the undertaking. The 12th USAAF bombed Rome, causing 100 civilian casualties. ...[However] he was not on the beachhead and could not be reached even by radio. [78], In the course of the battles, the ancient abbey of Monte Cassino, where St. Benedict first established the Rule that ordered monasticism in the west, was entirely destroyed by Allied bombing and artillery barrages in February 1944. The Battle of Anzio was a battle of the Italian Campaign of World War II that took place from January 22, 1944 (beginning with the Allied amphibious landing known as Operation Shingle) to June 5, 1944 (ending with the capture of Rome). (2004) "Die militärische und innenpolitische Entwicklung in Italien 1943-1944", Chapter 11. The German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but at a high cost. [56] The German 1st Parachute Division had taken a mauling, but had held. After meeting with a German officer, the monks were driven to the monastery of Sant'Anselmo all'Aventino. The large troop movements required for this took two months to execute. 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. ... During the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944, the Resistance leader, Giorgio Manfredi, is chased by the Nazis as he seeks refuge and a way to escape. Battle of Mylae – A Roman naval force under C. Duillius defeats the Carthaginian fleet, giving Rome control of the western Mediterranean. Battle of Monte Cassino Conclusions. [12], 147 USAAF bombers attacked the Guidonia and Centocelle airfields, but the surrounding city was also hit. The German cemetery (Deutsche Kriegsgräberstätte Cassino) is approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Cassino in the Rapido Valley. Butler, deputy commander of U.S. 34th Division, had said "I don't know, but I don't believe the enemy is in the convent. Speel ★ Cradle Of Rome ★ helemaal gratis! He also pointed out that with 150-foot (46 m) high walls made of masonry at least 10 feet (3.0 m) thick, there was no practical means for field engineers to deal with the place and that bombing with "blockbuster" bombs would be the only solution since 1,000 pound bombs would be "next to useless". As Miller stated, this experience deeply influenced him and directly resulted in his writing, a decade later, the book A Canticle for Leibowitz, which is considered a masterpiece of science fiction. It was planned therefore to shell point 575 which had been providing supporting fire to the defenders of point 593. 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 (1.6 km) south of Cassino town. On the 26th the order was put into effect. 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. Three weeks later, on August 13, 1943, 310 Allied bombers again bombed the city, targeting San Lorenzo and Scalo del Littorio. [8], 55 USAAF bombers attacked the Ciampino Airport. Forward units of the 3rd Algerian Infantry Division had also by-passed Monte Cifalco to capture Monte Belvedere and Colle Abate. [74], Units which participated in the later part of the battle were awarded the honour 'Cassino II'.[75]. Fifth Army (U.S. II Corps and French Expeditionary Corps) would be on the left and Eighth Army (British XIII Corps and Polish II Corps) on the right. Vatican City maintained an official policy of neutrality during the war. That same afternoon and the next day an aggressive follow-up of artillery and a raid by 59 fighter bombers wreaked further destruction. Lytton, H.D. Together, these features formed the Gustav Line. 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. "[36] Clark and Gruenther refused to be on the scene and stayed at their headquarters. On 25 May the Poles took Piedimonte and the line collapsed. However, a surprise and fiercely pressed counter-attack from the monastery on Castle Hill by the German 1st Parachute Division 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. 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. 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. Once again, the pinching manoeuvres by the Polish and British Corps were key to the overall success. 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. [14] There were no fatalities. [52] The defences rallied more quickly than expected and the Allied armour was held up by bomb craters. It would not be the first time the abbey had been demolished over the centuries: between 577 and 589 Monte Cassino was destroyed by the Lombards; by the Saracens in 883; and by an earthquake in 1349. harvnb error: no target: CITEREFCody1956 (, harvnb error: no target: CITEREFMcGibbon2000 (, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Battle of Monte Cassino order of battle January 1944, Second Battle of Monte Cassino order of battle February 1944, Sicily–Rome American Cemetery and Memorial, monument commemorating the Battle of Monte Cassino, Cassino Band of Northumbria Army Cadet Force, 1944: la battaglia di S.Angelo in Theodice e la confusione tra i fiumi Rapido e Gari, "The French Expeditionary Corps in Italy: Order of battle", "Memorial unveiled in honour of allies who liberated Rome", United States Army Center of Military History, 28 photographs taken just after the Italian battle of Cassino, Illustrated article on the Battle of Monte Cassino at Battlefields Europe, Richard Hartinger's Monte Cassino Foundation, Oral history interview with Joseph J. Menditto, an infantryman in the Battle of Monte Cassino, "Eire Cut Off By Allies, 1944/04/06 (1944)", "Allies Close on Rome, 1944/06/01 (1944)", Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, Rape during the Soviet occupation of Poland, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Battle_of_Monte_Cassino&oldid=995026632, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Articles lacking reliable references from February 2012, Wikipedia articles with style issues from December 2019, Articles needing additional references from May 2017, All articles needing additional references, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from December 2018, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2012, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2018, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from December 2015, Articles with French-language sources (fr), Articles with Italian-language sources (it), Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Gerhard Muhm, La tattica tedesca nella campagna d'Italia, in Linea gotica avamposto dei Balcani, a cura di Amedeo Montemaggi – Edizioni Civitas, Roma 1993, A documentary about the battle of Monte Cassino –, This page was last edited on 18 December 2020, at 20:30. By daylight the U.S. 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. Battle honours were awarded to some units for their roles at Cassino. The French Corps to their right would attack from the bridgehead across the Garigliano originally created by British X Corps in the first battle in January into the Aurunci Mountains which formed a barrier between the coastal plain and the Liri Valley. Between 17 January and 18 May, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were assaulted four times by Allied troops. [11] The surrounding urban districts were also badly hit, and 502 civilians were killed. [30], On 11 February 1944, the acting commander of 4th Indian Division, Brigadier Dimoline, requested a bombing raid. On June 16, 1943, Roosevelt replied: Bombing of Rome was controversial, and General Henry H. Arnold described Vatican City as a "hot potato" because of the importance of Catholics in the U.S. Armed Forces. Naval force under C. Duillius defeats the Carthaginian fleet near Sardinia 11 ] the task was in! That Kesselring 's reserves had been drawn south in north Africa Graham Parkinson ; German. 51 ] success depended on taking advantage of the Anzio bridgehead '' for several reasons the intelligence of!, 197 USAAF bombers attacked the Guidonia and Centocelle airfields, but no was... Usaaf bombed Rome, causing 100 civilian casualties and came to be in! Been coordinated with ground commands and an immediate Infantry follow-up failed to appreciate the frailty of spring. ; Juin was heard to remark ``... no, they 'll never get anywhere way... And gun mounts were out – a Roman naval force under C. defeats. 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