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By , the abbey had bought all villages in the area and became the owners of all the area of the city. Much of Sopot would remain abandoned during and after the conflict.
In and most of the ruined manors were bought by the Pomeranian magnate family of Przebendowski. Following the new laws imposed by King Frederick the Great , church property was confiscated by the state.
The village was reconstructed and in the area was sold to the Danzig merchant Carl Christoph Wegner. In , Wegner opened the first public bath in Zoppot and tried to promote the newly established spa among the inhabitants of Danzig , but the undertaking was a financial failure.
However, in Dr. Jean Georg Haffner , a former medic of the French army, financed a new bath complex that gained significant popularity.
In the following years, Haffner erected more facilities. By , a sanatorium was opened to the public, as well as a metre pier , cloakrooms, and a park.
Haffner died in , but his enterprise was continued by his stepson, Ernst Adolf Böttcher. The latter continued to develop the area and in opened a new theatre and sanatorium.
By then the number of tourists coming to Zoppot every year had risen to almost 1, In Zoppot saw the opening of its first rail line: Good rail connections added to the popularity of the area and by the number of tourists had reached almost 12, a year.
In , the village of Zoppot became an administrative centre of the Gemeinde. Soon other villages were incorporated into it and in the number of inhabitants of the village rose to over 2, The city again became a holiday resort for the inhabitants of nearby Danzig, as well as wealthy aristocrats from Berlin, Warsaw , and Königsberg.
In , the self-government of the Gemeinde bought the village from the descendants of Dr. Haffner and started its further development. A second sanatorium was constructed in and the pier was extended to 85 metres.
In , the gas works were built. Two years later, tennis courts were built and the following year a horse-racing track was opened to the public.
There were also several facilities built for the permanent inhabitants of Zoppot, not only for the tourists. Among those were two new churches: Protestant September 17, and Catholic December 21, In a new balneological sanatorium was opened, followed in by a lighthouse.
In , new baths south of the old ones were built in Viking style. In a new theatre was opened in the nearby forest within the city limits, in the place where today the Sopot Festival is held every year.
By , a third complex of baths, sanatoria, hotels, and restaurants was opened, attracting even more tourists. Shortly before World War I the city had 17, permanent inhabitants and over 20, tourists every year.
Due to the proximity of the Polish and German borders, the economy of the town soon recovered. The new casino became one of the main sources of income of the tiny free-city state.
In , the city authorities rebuilt the Kasino-Hotel, one of the most notable landmarks in Sopot today. A Richard Wagner festival was held in the nearby Forest Opera in The festival's success caused Zoppot to be sometimes referred to as the " Bayreuth of the North".
In , the pier was extended to its present length of metres. Since then it has remained the longest wooden pier in Europe and one of the longest in the world.
However, by the s, tensions on the nearby Polish-German border and the rising popularity of Nazism in Germany saw a decline in foreign tourism; in local German Nazis burned down Zoppot's synagogue.
World War II broke out on September 1, The following day the Free City of Danzig was annexed by Nazi Germany and most of the local Poles , Kashubians , and Jews were arrested  and imprisoned or expelled.
Due to the war, the city's tourist industry collapsed. The last Wagner Festival was held in Sopot remained under German rule until As per the Potsdam Conference , Sopot was incorporated into the post-war Polish state.
Most of the German inhabitants who had remained in the city after the evacuation before the advancing Red Army were soon to be forcibly expelled from their homes , to make room for eastern settlers from Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union.
Sopot recovered rapidly after the war. 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, tons of high explosives, creating widespread damage. Between 17 January and 18 May, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were assaulted four times by Allied troops, the last involving twenty divisions attacking along a twenty-mile front.
The German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but at a high cost. The Allied landings in Italy in September by two Allied armies, following shortly after the Allied landings in Sicily in July, commanded by General Sir Harold Alexander , the Commander-in-Chief C-in-C of the 15th Army Group later retitled the Allied Armies in Italy , were followed by an advance northward on two fronts, one on each side of the central mountain range forming the "spine" of Italy.
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.
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 Winter Line defensive positions south of the Italian capital of Rome.
The original estimates that Rome would fall by October proved far too optimistic. Although in the east the German defensive line had been breached on Montgomery's Eighth Army Adriatic front and Ortona was captured , 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 Appian Way followed along the west coast but south of Rome ran into the Pontine Marshes , which the Germans had flooded.
Highway 6 ran through the Liri valley, dominated at its south entrance by the rugged mass of Monte Cassino above the town of Cassino.
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.
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  and across the entrance to the Liri valley.
There the Liri river joined the Gari to form the Garigliano 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 Benedictine abbey's historical significance, the German C-in-C 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.
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 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 main central thrust by the U. II Corps would commence on 20 January with the U. 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 attack on Anzio codenamed Operation Shingle where the U.
VI Corps British 1st and U. Lucas , was 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 the Alban Hills , which 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. 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 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 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.
Responding to Senger's concerns, Kesselring ordered the 29th and 90th Panzergrenadier Divisions from the Rome area to provide reinforcement.
There is some speculation as to what might have been if X Corps had had the reserves available to exploit their success and make a decisive breakthrough.
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, casualties during the period of the first battle. The central thrust by the U.
Walker , commenced three hours after sunset on 20 January. 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 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.
The southern group was forced back across the river by mid-morning of 21 January. Major General Keyes, commanding the U.
Once again the two regiments attacked but with no more success against the well dug-in 15th Panzergrenadier Division: The st 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 st Infantry Regiment had virtually ceased to exist; only 40 men made it back to the Allied lines.
Rick Atkinson described the intense German resistance:. Artillery and Nebelwerfer drumfire methodically searched both bridgeheads , while 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,  men killed, wounded and missing in 48 hours.
As a result, the army's conduct of this battle became the subject of a Congressional inquiry after the war. The next attack was launched on 24 January.
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.
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 Franek's 44th Infantry Division to establish a foothold in the mountains.
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.
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.
The two Moroccan-French divisions sustained 2, 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: Digging foxholes 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 gorse 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. 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 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.
On 11 February, after a final unsuccessful 3-day assault on Monastery Hill and Cassino town, the Americans were withdrawn.
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.
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.
During the battle there had been occasions when, with more astute use of reserves, promising positions might have been turned into decisive moves.
Some historians suggest this failure to capitalize on initial success could be put down to Clark's lack of experience.
However, it is more likely that he just had too much to do, being responsible for both the Cassino and Anzio offensives. 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. This was evidenced in the writing of Maj. Howard Kippenberger , commander of New Zealand 2nd Division, after the war,.
Poor Dimoline Brigadier Dimoline , acting commander of 4th Indian Division was having a dreadful time getting his division into position.
I never really appreciated the difficulties until I went over the ground after the war. Freyberg's plan was a continuation of the first battle: 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.
Increasingly, the opinions of certain Allied officers were fixed on the great abbey of Monte Cassino: The British press and C. Sulzberger of The New York Times frequently and convincingly and in often manufactured detail wrote of German observation posts and artillery positions inside the abbey.
Eaker accompanied by Lieutenant General Jacob L. 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.
When informed of others' claims of having seen enemy troops there, he stated: Major General 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.
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 profiles 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 unbombed. Major General Francis Tuker , whose 4th Indian Division would have the task of attacking Monastery Hill, had made his own appreciation of the situation.
In the absence of detailed intelligence at Fifth Army HQ, he had found a book dated in a Naples bookshop giving details of the construction of the abbey.
In 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 foot 45 m high walls made of masonry at least 10 feet 3 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, pound bombs would be "next to useless".
On 11 February , the acting commander of 4th Indian Division, Brigadier Harry Dimoline , requested a bombing raid. Tuker reiterated again his case from a hospital bed in Caserta, where he was suffering a severe attack of a recurrent tropical fever.
Freyberg transmitted his request on 12 February. The request, however, was greatly expanded by 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. Clark of Fifth Army and his chief of staff Major General Alfred Gruenther remained unconvinced of the "military necessity".
When handing over the U. Butler, deputy commander of U. All the fire has been from the slopes of the hill below the wall". In all they dropped 1, 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. 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 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.
It is certain from every investigation that followed since the event that the only people killed in the monastery by the bombing were Italian civilians seeking refuge in the abbey.
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 unintended.
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: 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 The old abbot was 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 the monastery of Sant'Anselmo. 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. 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 because of the proximity and risk of shelling friendly troops.
It was planned therefore to shell point which had been providing supporting fire to the defenders of point The topography of the land meant that shells fired at 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 determined 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 out of men who took part in the attack. On the night of 17 February the main assault took place.
This latter was across appalling terrain, but it was hoped that the Gurkhas , from the Himalayas 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.
The intention was to take a perimeter that would allow engineers to build a causeway for armoured support. 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.
It had been very close. The Germans had been very alarmed by the capture of the station and from a conversation on record between Kesselring and Tenth Army commander Gen.
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.
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: 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.
British 78th Infantry Division , which had arrived in late February and placed under the command of New Zealand Corps, would then cross the Rapido downstream of Cassino and start the push to Rome.
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. The third battle began 15 March.
After a bombardment of tons of 1,pound bombs with delayed action fuses,  starting at The bombing was not concentrated — only 50 per cent landed a mile or less from the target point and 8 per cent within 1, yards but between it and the shelling about half the paratroopers in the town had been killed.
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: 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 and as planned, elements of Indian 4th Infantry Division, now commanded by Major General Alexander Galloway , had passed through to attack point and thence to point , Hangman's Hill.
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.
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.
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 off the two routes between Castle Hill and Points and being used by the Germans to reinforce the defenders in the town.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. In and most of the ruined manors were bought by na challenger series Pomeranian magnate family of Przebendowski. Bingo zahlen von heute Honours of the Indian Army — This article is about the city Sopot in Poland. Zaloga 19 August He lottozahlen lost 'a wilful failure at the highest level to take due account of the terrible problems involved in mounting a concerted attack across such appalling terrain [which] were still being grossly underestimated a full month later'. On 11 February, after a final unsuccessful 3-day assault on Monastery Hill and Cassino town, the Americans were withdrawn. As a result, Indian troops on the Snake's Head stargames online casino de taken by surprise,  while the Join Megajacks Videopoker at Casino.com Canada Zealand Corps was two days away from being ready to launch their main assault. They had to be carried casino einsatz in small units to maintain secrecy and surprise. 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 bingo zahlen von heute technical business of an opposed river crossing lacked the necessary planning and rehearsal. Freyberg had online casino freispiele ohne anmeldung his superiors that he believed, given the circumstances, there was no better than a 50 per cent chance of success for the offensive.
There was so much pressure to take advantage of the changed situation, that the Allies landed in southern Italy in September without a clear strategic aim.
They even considered landing at airfields around Rome with Italian connivance. However, they wisely discarded this plan as too risky. The Germans reacted so swiftly when Italy surrendered that the Allies were actually able to gain little advantage.
Italian troops were disarmed and treated harshly if they fought against the Germans. Yet the Allies had secured Italian beachheads but the one at Salerno was only achieved with much difficulty in the face of fierce counter-attacks.
In Italy, the Allies now found themselves committed to a campaign which had possessed great political attractions but now offered manifest military disadvantages.
There was, for a start, no prospect of Italy ever becoming more than a subsidiary theatre. Plans for the invasion of France were well under way.
Amphibious resources would shortly be diverted for the Normandy invasion. These would have been a considerable advantage in Italy, for they would have given the Allies the potential to hook round German defensive lines.
Secondly, assertions that Italy was the 'soft underbelly' of Europe came easiest to those whose maps lacked contours. Italy's mountainous backbone sends rib-like ridges down to the coast to both east and west.
Rivers flow between the ridges. An attacker advancing from the south is confronted by a heartbreaking sequence.
Behind every ridge lurks another river, and behind that river lurks another ridge. Climate conspires with terrain to make Italy an unpleasant place to fight.
Summers are blazing hot, whilst winters are freezing cold. They destroyed bridges and cratered roads. They blew defensive positions out of the living rock, and turned stone-built villages into strongholds.
They also strewed great tracts of the landscape with mines. The German theatre commander, the tough Luftwaffe Field Marshal Kesselring, was a master practitioner of this sort of war.
He was nicknamed 'Smiling Albert' but you only crossed him once. So, while the application of brute force might take the Allies steadily northwards, it was unlikely that their advance would ever be quick or easy.
The best that they could hope for would be to tie down German troops who might be usefully engaged elsewhere. Keeping such an inherently attritional campaign on track would require careful thought in order to ensure that Allied strength was pitted against German weakness and that the fighting did not degenerate into a slogging-match reminiscent of parts of World War One.
The attackers' plight was complicated by the fact that this was indeed an Allied campaign. In overall command in Italy was General Sir Harold Alexander, a courteous British Guards officer with a distinguished fighting record, but a man who instinctively sought compromise and consensus, and was not temperamentally suited to gripping awkward subordinates.
He commanded two armies. There was the British 8th Army, initially under Montgomery and, when he was removed to prepare for the invasion of Normandy, in the more stolid hands of General Sir Oliver Leese.
And there was the US 5th Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Mark Clark, who was not always wrongly impatient of the British and their methods, and acutely conscious of his personal role as the standard-bearer of American arms in Europe.
To this already volatile mix were added Canadian troops, who were to distinguish themselves in the bloody battle for Ortona on the Adriatic coast; a French Expeditionary Corps, whose superb fighting quality is too often overlooked by Anglo-American historians; New Zealand and Indian divisions, both fighting bravely so far from home, and a Polish corps for which the struggle against the Germans was a matter of national honour.
The Allies enjoyed abundant air superiority. Indeed, one of the more valid motives for the invasion of Italy was the seizure of airfields in the south, from which strategic bombers could operate against Germany.
Although they were often to find its effects blunted by excellent German countermeasures, and by the combined effects of terrain and climate.
For much of its length the line ran along rivers, with the Garigliano, Gari and Rapido strengthening its southern sector. The entrance to the Liri valley was dominated, then as now, by the great bulk of Monte Cassino which is crowned by an ancient Benedictine monastery.
Behind the monastery, the ground rose even more steeply to form what the military historian John Ellis has called 'a vile tactical puzzle'.
In front of the hill stood the little town of Cassino, and the rivers Gari and Rapido. On the Allied side was Monte Trocchio which was known as 'million dollar hill' for the fields of view it offered to artillery observers.
The German right wing began to give way to Fifth Army. On 14 May Moroccan Goumiers , travelling 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 , the Goumiers were colonial troops formed into four Groups of Moroccan Tabors GTM , each consisting of three loosely organised Tabors roughly equivalent to a battalion specialised in mountain warfare.
Juin's French Expeditionary Corps consisted of the Command of Moroccan Goumiers CGM with the 1st, 3rd and 4th GTM of General Augustin Guillaume  totalling some 7, fighting men,  broadly the same infantry strength as a division and 4 more conventional divisions: The next 48 hours on the French front were decisive.
Cerasola , San Giorgio , Mt. For this performance, which was to be a key to the success of the entire drive on Rome , I shall always be a grateful admirer of General Juin and his magnificent FEC.
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.
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.
At the end of the war the Poles erected a Polish Cemetery at Monte Cassino on the slope of the mountain.
Units of the Eighth Army advanced up the Liri valley and Fifth Army up the coast to the Hitler defensive line renamed the Senger Line at Hitler 's insistence to minimise the significance if it was penetrated.
An immediate follow-up assault failed and Eighth Army then decided to take some time to reorganize. Getting 20, vehicles and 2, tanks through the broken Gustav Line was a major job taking several days.
On 24 May, the Canadians had breached the line and 5th Canadian Armoured Division 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. Lucas as commander of the U. VI Corps in February, launched a two pronged attack using five three U.
The German 14th Army , facing this thrust, was without any armoured divisions because Kesselring had sent his armour south to assist the German 10th Army in the Cassino action.
A single armoured division, the 26th Panzer , was 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 Valmontone on Route 6 to a northwesterly one directly towards Rome.
Reasons for Clark's decision are unclear and controversy surrounds the issue. Most commentators point to Clark's ambition to be the first to arrive in Rome although some suggest he was concerned to give a necessary respite to his tired troops notwithstanding the new direction of attack required his troops to make a frontal attack on the Germans' prepared defences on the Caesar C line.
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.
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.
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 Trasimene Line where they were able to link up with 14th Army and then make a fighting withdrawal to the formidable Gothic Line north of Florence.
Rome was captured on 4 June , just two days before the Normandy invasion. Battle honours were awarded to some units for their roles at Cassino.
In addition, subsidiary battle honours were given to some units which participated in specific engagements during the first part.
Units which participated in the later part of the battle were awarded the honour ' Cassino II'. The capture of Monte Cassino came at a high price.
The Allies suffered around 55, casualties in the Monte Cassino campaign. German casualty figures are estimated at around 20, killed and wounded.
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 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.
Among the treasures removed were Titians , an El Greco and two Goyas. The American writer Walter M. 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.
The book depicts a future order of monks living in the aftermath of a devastating nuclear war , and 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 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: The final change to the U.
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.
Some of these units were accused of committing atrocities against the Italian peasant communities in the region.
Immediately after the cessation of fighting at Monte Cassino, the Polish government in Exile in London created the Monte Cassino campaign cross to commemorate the Polish part in the capture of the strategic point.
Later, an imposing Polish cemetery was laid out; this is prominently visible to anybody surveying the area from the restored monastery. The German cemetery is approximately 2 miles 3.
In the s, 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.
In , a memorial was unveiled in Rome honouring the Allied forces that fought and died to capture the city. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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Battle of Monte Cassino order of battle January Battle of Rapido River. Second Battle of Monte Cassino order of battle February Operation Diadem order of battle.
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.
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