Montecassino and The Gustav Line
How the Allies broke through German defences just a few miles south of Mortale
The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle for Rome and the Battle for Cassino) was a costly series of four battles during World War II, fought by the Allies against Germans with the intention of breaking through the Winter Line and seizing Rome.
With General Harold Alexander in supreme command, the 8th Army units advanced up the Liri valley and the 5th 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 8th Army then decided to take some time to re-organise. 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 May 23 with the Polish Corps attacking Piedimonte (defended by the redoubtable 1st Parachute Division) on the right and 1st Canadian Infantry Division (fresh from 8th Army reserve) in the centre. On May 24, the Canadians had breached the line, and 5th Canadian Armoured Division poured through the gap. On May 25 the Poles took Piedimonte, and the line collapsed. The way was clear for the advance northwards on Rome and beyond.
© 2011 Paul Forte
Ruins of Montecassino
nd Polish Corps lost 1500 men in three days
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