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January 17, 1944: The Battle of Monte Cassino Begins

In January 1944, one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Italian Campaign of WWII began at Monte Cassino. Monte Cassino was an ancient Benedictine abbey that towered over the city of Cassino. Sometimes referred to as the Battle of Rome, the Battle of Monte Cassino consisted of a series of four assaults by Allied forces against the defensive German Gustav Line. Before German troops retreated, the conflict claimed the lives of 55,000 Allied soldiers and destroyed the cultural treasure of Monte Cassino.

Allied forces landed in the Italian peninsula in September 1943. The Apennine Mountains divided the peninsula and Allied troops split and advanced on both sides. They took control of Naples and continued the push towards Rome.

Monte Cassino was the gateway to Rome, about 80 miles away. It provided unobstructed views of the area. German troops occupied lookouts on the hillside but agreed to stay out of the abbey because of its historical importance. The precious manuscripts and antiquities housed in the abbey had been removed to Vatican City for safekeeping (although some works of art were stolen by German troops and transported north).

The first phase of the operation began on January 17th with an Allied attack on German positions. Thomas E. McCall, a farm boy from Indiana, found himself in the crosshairs of the battle. On January 22, 1944, during heavy fighting, he was accidentally struck by friendly fire. Presumed dead, McCall was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Unbeknownst to his unit, McCall was alive but wounded. He became a German POW and spent the next 18 months in makeshift hospitals. “They didn’t even have an aspirin to give you,” he said. “There were no pain-killing drugs for either the Germans or us. The surgeon had a handful of tools and two or three other guys would hold you down while he operated on you.” McCall was eventually liberated and earned the distinction of being one of the few posthumous Medal of Honor recipients that lived to tell about it.

By early February, Allies reached a hill just below the abbey. Some reports suggested Germany might be using the abbey as an artillery observation point, resulting in a controversial decision to destroy the abbey. On February 15th, 1,150 tons of bombs rained down on the abbey reducing it to rubble. German forces quickly took up position in the ruins, utilizing its vantage point to prevent Allies from advancing.

A third offensive began in March with heavy attacks in the town of Cassino, but tenacious German forces held their position. The fourth and final assault, known as Operation Diadem, began on May 11th and included attacks from US troops with help from British, French, and Polish Allies. On May 18th, Polish forces captured Monte Cassino. Soon after, on June 4, 1944, Allied forces liberated Rome.

If you would like to learn more about the Battle of Monte Cassino and see more photographs, search our archives on Fold3.com.

152 Comments

  1. As usual, VERY interesting. My brother-in-law’s father (the husband of my wife’s sister’s husband) fought in this Battle of Monte Cassino.
    Thank you

    • Interesting relationship you have there! A husband of a person’s husband? LOL Perhaps you meant a father of that husband?

  2. My dad was there as an US ARMY MEDIC; General Alexander decided the Abbey had to be bombed over Gen Clarks objection, bad move on the British part!! The destroyed Abbey made perfect protection for the Germans and thousands of Indian, Australian, and British soldiers died. Dad and all the American Medics were offered field Commissions By Gen Alexander if they would rescue the Brits as all their Medics were dead or wounded. General Clark intervened, and would not allow the US Medics to be slaughtered. Thank God.

    • Sadly, ALL War is HELL! God Bless our brave men!!! God Bless your dad, his name please? Our “boys” were amazing in what they accomplished against all odds! We also HONOR all those who stayed behind. The price too high but the winning of the war meant freedom! There is a 48 Star American Flag on our hearth as well!
      MY dad/T/Sgt Edward C Ennis, 321st BG, B-25 Mitchell medium Bombers over Italy, he flew Missions over the Monte Cassino. It was tragic indeed.

    • My father, William Arballo, also served as an US army medic at Monte Cassino. Years later my sister, my husband and I visited the rebuilt cathedral and large military cemetery. Lovely countryside but old photos in a restaurant we stopped at showed the absolute destruction of the area after the battle.

  3. PS: Several weeks later he was assigned to a hospital Ship as the Pharmacy Tech; next assignment NORMANDY. I never knew he was there until they had the 50th anniversary on TV, and he started crying.

    • The MEN were mostly able to hide the horror and make their stories truthful enough to tell without the actual truth and reality of War!

    • Normandy had to have been AWFUL. My husband’s brother Cleatus Connolly arrived D-Day +6 and died in the Battle for St. LO on 16 July 1944. A “medic” stayed with him (and others) the day that he lived. God Bless your dad for his service!

  4. As a continuation of the above, Dad enlisted in the Army 1942, basic Ft Ogalthorp Ga. advanced training Medic @ Ft Sam Houston; then Pharmacy Tech school. Not bad for a man with an 8th grade education. 29 years later, I was sent to Ft Sam as a medic, and a Pharmacy Tech Instructor. Note of interest, we were both assigned to the same barracks during training .

  5. Wasn’t Senator Bob Dole a part of the assault on Monte Casino? I have some diminished capacity but I think he was seriously wounded and left for dead by the medics in the confusion of battle. Graves registration found him still alive after some da
    ys, the severe cold slowing his body functions thus keeping him going.. Almost like an induced coma. Years in VA hospitals and can’t quit determination gave him a functioning body to go with a tremendous intellect to become one of our most respected politicians. If my memory serves he should be recognized.

    • I believe Senator Dole was a patient at Percy Jones Hospital at the same time my father was there. It was mid summer 45 thru fall if 1946. My father was injured in a train accident in Austria May 7 1945. His left leg was amputated mid May at First General Hospital ,Paris France. He was air flighted to Mitchell Field N.Y. before going to P.J. G H.. pfc Donald Kaiser Co. E 2bn 318th inf 80th div.

  6. The damage to Monte Cassino was such that seven years after the war ended, it was still in ruins. My Papa was assigned to Rome while a US -Navy Lieutenant 1952-1954.

  7. My wife’s uncle, Immanuel Lutzer, who was in the German Army, was killed in 1944 at Monte Cassino. The horrors of war came to both sides.

    • Wrong uncle. Immanual was killed near Stalingrad. Her uncle Albert Steinbring was killed at Monte Cassino.

    • We could care less about the Germans killed. They were the cause of Millions of deaths.

    • Jake,

      There were thousands of dead among the German forces who were not Nazis but actually fought for their country believing they were right.
      There were actually German-Americans who fought against relatives in the opposing forces.
      The dead can’t speak for themselves and don’t need to be denigrated by anyone.

    • I care, Robert.

      My aunt’s husband was a German American who had grown up on a farm in Texas. When he died in the Battle of Rapido River, he was in line to be promoted to Major. He had been able to use his German language skills to aid the Allies.

      Back home in Texas, his two-year-old son went along with his mother one day when she visited friends who worked at the local prisoner of war camp. When he got out of the car, he saw some German POWs working and he ran up to them and said, “Hi!” Those men took great delight in playing and sharing their candy with the little blond toddler who must have reminded them so much of their own children at home.

      Wars–it’s the governments, not the people.

    • Johann Lechner, 20 years old, GBJ regiment. Mögen sie alle in Frieden ruhen.

  8. Bob Dole was wounded in Northern Italy, about a month before the end of the war.

    • Wikipedia: In April 1945, while engaged in combat near Castel d’Aiano in the Apennine mountains southwest of Bologna, Italy, Dole was badly wounded by German machine gun fire, being hit in his upper back and right arm. As Lee Sandlin describes, when fellow soldiers saw the extent of his injuries, all they thought they could do was to “give him the largest dose of morphine they dared and write an ‘M’ for ‘morphine’ on his forehead in his own blood, so that nobody else who found him would give him a second, fatal dose.”

  9. My brother’s father in law was in the 36th Division, which I knew was at Cassino, so when I saw a videotape about the battle I bought it and gave it to him. Then next time I saw him, he thanked me very profusely, not for the main film, but for the included film about the Battle of San Pietro, which cleared the starting positions for Cassino. He said most of it was his unit, and although he was not in any of the footage, he remembered the film crew shooting, and many of his friends had been in it. He said the next day, half of them were dead. It was not the most brilliant example of American generalship. Clark did not want to bomb the abbey, true, but he did not want to take the responsibility for the decision and kicked it upstairs to Alexander. So he is basically responsible for the bombing anyway.

    • My aunt’s husband was also in the 36th. He died in the Battle of Rapido River. Can you tell me the name of that video and where you found it? Thanks!

    • My father was at Monte Cassino. Would love to have the title and source or the video. Thanks!

  10. I was born the day before this operation started.
    Vietnam Veteran 1966

  11. I believe Canadian Army Forces were also part of the Allied Italian military Campaign. My Uncle was an Officer in the Canadian Arillary Engineers and his Artillary unit was atached at one time or another to the British and American Armies heading the Italian battles.

    • You like the book by ? Mowat the title is And no bird sang. He was Canadian,a writer by profession and part of the invasion of Sicily and then mainland Italy fighting north to Rome. He was assigned to British and American forces. My dad’s Italian adventure was really similar so I loved it. Dad was wounded Oct 191943 so just short of Cassino.

  12. Does anyone have any information about a tank battle at Anzio, Italy? My husband’s uncle Pfc. Jack Herbert Driggs, US Army, was killed there on May 23, 1944. We cannot find any info concerning this. Any suggestions?

  13. The Abby was rebuilt. My husband and I did Italy Campaign tour. So very special, we flowed Allied Invasion to Rome. As usual, the US cemetery near Rome brought home the reality. Honor our Service Men and Women.

  14. I found this new Fold posting and discussion very interesting and humbling, having visited the Abby several years ago. While reviewing Wikipedia’s summary of the Abby and battle, I saw a reference to the Montecassino Society that some of you may be interested in. Although it is a British organization of veterans, their families and supporters, the society sponsors regular remembrance events in England plus annual visits to Monte Cassino each May. Their website is http://www.montecassinosociety.co.uk// although it seems to have had limited updates to its newsletter recently. But there’s also the society’s Facebook page that you can visit.

  15. I visited the remarkable Polish gravesite and General Władysław Anders grave in 1987at sunset all was calm and beautiful one could not imagine the slaughter there —on all sides in WW2.

  16. Hi,
    What do you mean the this battle started July 17, 1944.
    My uncle John Paton, who served in the British Army, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, fought this battle and died July 17, 1943.
    He is buried in Monte Cassino. I have done my research and have it documented.
    Please get your facts straight.
    The Brits were in the war earlier Sept 1939, , I know as I was born in Scotland , Sept 25 1939, just as the war started.
    So remember the so called Allied did not come in until much later.

    • Catherine,

      Is there something that has made you angry and a little bit nasty?

      1) Regarding facts, the campaign to take Monte Cassino did begin early in 1944 if that helps anyone interested in ‘getting facts straight’.

      2) Your comment about ‘so called Allied’ is confusing. Are you suggesting that because the US did not enter the war until 1941 that the US wasn’t really an ally?

      Perhaps if you reread your comments several times before submitting them, you might have phrased things differently, but then again, maybe not.

    • While appreciate your uncle’s service in defense of the free world during WWII, I’m afraid your dates may be mixed. Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, began on the night of 9–10 July 1943, and ended on 17 August. The Allies did not reach the Italian mainland until September of 1943 with the initial attacks in the Monte Cassino area not starting until Jan-Feb 1944. Your Uncle may well be buried at the Monte Cassino War Cemetery which is the burial site for thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers who died during the Italian Campaign in World War Two. However, if he died in summer of 1943 it was not at Monte Cassino.

    • David Acker, you are truly a ‘class act’! What an elegant response to Catherine Christie. Your style is one all should follow when writing to others.
      Thank you, Bill Byrnes

  17. My mothers younger brother won his MC at Cassino

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    This does not mean you should stuff articles with crucial.
    Set clear directions for each part and try to provide a sub-title also. http://fw-blog.de/rollex11casinoonlinedownload151135

  19. Yes: Harold Alexander AND Mark Clark must be left accountable for the
    destruction of Monte Casino. I’m not Catholic, but the Pope was more than
    justified in his remonstration.
    The Germans were NOT “occupying” Monte Casino, but in wartime the smallest
    detail can magnify into a tactical decision: If someone “saw” a German on a
    balcony of the Abby, then the Germans “were in the Abby” – got to get them all out – period. Generals aren’t positioned to respect antiquity. They are positioned to win battles. But that’s war.

  20. My uncle, Sgt. Honie W. Loggins was a medic and was at Monte Cassino. He and my father joined the army in August, 1940. Their younger brother, L.D. Loggins was too young to join but joined the Army Air Corp. with permission from my grandparents before the war ended. Both uncles were in Europe and went on to make the military their career. My uncle Honie as a medic with the 8th Army. My uncle L.D. with the USAF. My father, Kinney M. Loggins, was in maintenance and tore a kidney loose in Australia in Feb. 1944. I was born in March, 1944. My father eventually lost his kidney and received disability income of 60% for the remainder of his life. I am very interested in WWII and found this article very interesting. I would like to know more about the battle of Monte Casino.

  21. One of the US Pilots who bombed Monte Cassino was a Mr Germain Loeber. He would later be ordained a Benedict’s Priest at St John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Mn which became the largest Bennedictan Abbey in the world after Cassino. He was my Prefect at St John’s Prep School In 1957. An interesting twist for this story I might add.

  22. My thanks to everyone who provided information and leads on finding out what took place at Anzio, Italy, WWII. It is a thing that has haunted my husband as he was nicknamed for his uncle PFC Jack Driggs who was killed there. This Christmas Uncle Jack’s metal toy cars from his train set were under our tree in remembrance of him. His ultimate gift of self and service, like so very many others, should never be forgotten. Thank you again. Best Regards, Cynthia Crosley

  23. Strange that yet again the part played by NZ groups is overlooked and not mentioned

    • Very good I Greenep – as usual many New Zealand achievements during both World Wars were labled as “British” when they were successful!

      My father fought in both World Wars in Europe and the Pacific and this was his opinion also.

  24. For excellent history of this and the Battles in North Africa, I recommend the trilogy by Author Rick Atkinson:
    “An Army at Dawn”
    “The Day of Battle”, The War in Sicily and Italy
    “The Guns at Last Light”
    My father was a member of the First Armored Division, saw action in North Africa, Kasserine Pass, Sicily and Monte Casino. These books tell the stories he would never tell.

  25. When my wife and I visited there, we couldn’t believe how beautifully it had been rebuilt. I’m saddened by the unnecessary destruction of the abbey as, what this article failed to mention, there were VERY few Germans actually there and then (as was mentioned) they were outside the abbey during the assault. The war had essentially been won, I feel that this attack was unwarranted and unfortunate for history. That said, in a war-weary state, I might have made the same decision. I hope not. In any case, it’s still worth seeing. Cassino is just a few miles from where my family is from, I’m glad we got a chance to see it!

  26. My father in law, William Kasser. U.S Army Signal Corps, fought this battle.

  27. A good friend of mine’s great uncle Otto Menges won the Knights cross fighting with the Fallschirmjager (paratroopers)……He fought there as a platoon leader and died there May 18, 1944 and I believe buried there. Read a lot about him quite a soldier…

  28. My father was there with the 757 tank battalion. It was his understanding that they waited for approval from the Vatican. Once they let loose he said he’d never seen so many planes dropping bombs.

  29. What a shame that you make no mention of the Canadian contribution. The Poles do in their own histories.

  30. Does anyone know what the contributions were of the Canadian war effort in the above mentioned battles? It would be interesting.
    My father, Charles Bond was with the 11th Field Ambulance RCAMC, CASF out of Guelph, Ontario. He was 19 when he volunteered in 1939. Not sure he stayed in this unit, one of my brothers thinks he might have moved to a different group. I’m just starting to get into searching this myself.
    The one story I heard that he was in the Netherlands clearing out Germans near the end of the war. He came face to face with a German in a house, he figured the lad was maybe 16 at the time. He persuaded the lad to lower his weapon and leave the house and go home and before he was shot by someone else. The war was at an end, he didn’t want to shoot this young boy if he didn’t have to.
    I believe my father and many of his friends suffered quietly with what they had done and saw while at war. Help was not very available for these men that came home in the mid 40’s.
    Very interesting stories above and glad to see that you all respect one another’s stories about family and history.
    Thank you all for each families lost in the war to support freedom for all.

  31. My father was at Cassino. He was a doctor and commander of the 109th medical battalion. He kept a diary during the war which I had published a few years ago. It is “Mud, Mountains and Medicine” and is available for $9.99 from Hellgate Press or $19.99 from Amazon. He was in charge of evacuating wounded and talked about how extremely difficult it was, due to the weather, terrain, and the mud.

  32. My father, Thomas Reed KSLI, always blamed Mark Clark for his capture at Anzio. He and others received no orders to retreat and woke up surrounded by Germans. He spent the rest of the war in Stalag VIIA, Moosberg

  33. MY COUSIN LT. JAMES BOYER DIED IN THAT BATTLE. HE IS BURIED IN THE NATIONAL CEMETERY CLOSE TO THE SITE.

  34. I spent a total of 5 weeks in 2015 working in Cassino. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the war cemeteries and recontructed Abby. About 1-1/2 hours drive south of Rome (also accessible by train), its a worth while trip when touring Italy. My father’s family’s roots are in Poland/Ukraine/Belarus and I’ll be sure to spend more time at the Monte Cassino Polish war cemetery if/when I return.

  35. My father was with the British Army, and was in the Royal Signals and was at Monticassino. His name was John Fusco, he was of Italian descent, and his father before him was also in the Scots Guards in WW1, he did not say a lot about the war but had a special photo of the Polish Bear Wotjek with him. at the time I did not believe it was a REALbear till many years later. He survived North Africa and MonteCasino. After doing a lot of Genealogical digging into the Fusco Family, we found out that his ancestors actually came from Villa Latina, a small town not far from MonteCasino. He passed away in 1985 before we located actual proof that his Grand father was the Italian who left VillaLatina, and moved across the European Continent into England and finally settled in Edinburgh, Scotland. He died before we located the proof that he was so close to his grandfathers home town, when he was at MonteCasino.

  36. We are all proude of the men and women whom gave their lives and fought for freedom, and although there are many stories to tell, we must think of the stories that will never be told.
    Remember that all wars take the lives
    of our youth which in itself is terrible.

    Remember wars are fraught, but who really wins?

  37. My husband and just recently visited Itay. He was from Arpino Italy and his dad served in the Italian Army during WWII. The private tour of Montecassino was very enlightening. What a fantastic place and rich in historical insight. Highly recommend the trip! Please visit!

  38. My wife and I visited Monte Casino in May of 2017. The abbey was totally rebuilt after the war and it is splendid. The Polish army played a big part in the battle for Casino and there is a memorial to their fighters nearby. It is an interesting and beautiful area.

  39. I am extremely proud of Victor Lerman (one of my dad’s older brothers) who had served our country during the incredibly patriotic times known throughout history as WWII. Victor served in the Army’s infantry and had been wounded in the battle of Monte Casino and Anzio. Victor passed away almost two years ago at the age of 92 and was rightfully given a military sendoff. It was an honor to have received his flag.

    It’s a disgrace to our nation that too much of our history of the battles especially of those brave men and women of this great nation had sacrificed have slowly dwindled away from being recalled in our public education system and our colleges. It’s a shame that our colleges provide a safe room and coloring books to those that can’t handle the truth of this great country’s history. Our history should not be a “thing” that can be easily removed from our ancestry. Instead, knowing more of the facts involving our nation’s history should be strongly encouraged so that we can learn what it offers.

    • Ira,

      I give you a big AMEN on that. The educational system is erasing our history through omission.
      My dad served in the Aleutians.
      My step-father, Lowell Bergman and his brother were captured by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge. The interesting part of the story is that both of them fought the Nazis from Kasserine Pass in Africa until their capture in the Ardennes.
      They were German-Americans who spoke German at home in Iowa when they were growing up. When captured, they were asked why “good German boys were fighting for the enemy?”
      If you ask anyone who was actually in any war, what they think about war, the majority of them will say they hated it but, if needed, they would do it again.

  40. My uncle, Kenneth Hand, was a lieutenant in the combat engineers. He and his platoon built a bridge out of logs across a ravine at Monte Casino. I’ve seen his photographs of it. I think he was wounded in its construction but he never talked about that. He was in Naples when Vesuvius blew. He was later severely wounded in southern France while scouting in advance of the army for a river crossing. He came under heavy machine gun and mortar fire and was forced to retreat through a mine field. One of the mines got him. He sent his men on to complete the mission. My grandfather was told that he would have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor but for the fact that he stuck his 45 in the face of an army medic who refused to give morphine to a dying man. He was in fact saved by, of all things, a Red Cross doughnut wagon! They went after him having heard that he’d been abandoned, retrieved him from the mine field, cleared out their vehicle and performed emergency surgery on the spot and so he survived his “fatal” wound. The awards he did receive were the Silver Star with V for Valor and the French Croix de Guerre.

  41. The worse tactical mistake of the Cassino campaign was the Rapido River Crossing, the incompetent brain child of Ltg. Mark Clark, whom Eisenhower entrusted with the Corps command in Italy. Two regiments of the 36th Division were chewed up in an action with poor Corps level staff work while the third regiment, the 142nd was held in Corps reserve and not released to back up the rest of the division. Clark could not go to Texas afterwards due to an outstanding warrant for manslaughter for his incompetence.

  42. I am from Cassino. My mother’s home was on one of the small hills overlooking the valley of Cassino. Her home was used as an American headquaters, because of the clear view over the valley. This was one of the biggest mistakes made by the Allies and the carelessness of killing, both civilians and soldiers.

  43. My father, Albert Roberts, Robbie to his wartime mates, was a New Zealander who fought with the Allies at Monte Cassino. He never talked about it much which in itself says how horrific it was. Great to learn a little more about that time.

  44. The involvement of my family in WWII went no where close to Italy, but this article and your comments remind me of a book my Dad kept in the basement. I would look at it from time to time. It was titled (I think) “Up Front” and was by political cartoonist Bill Maulden. He was an Army private at the time, and followed the American troops throughout the Italian campaign as a cartoonist for Stars and Stripes. The book is something of a diary of that experience, peppered with his cartoons. He drew from the viewpoint of the infantry, and through his fictional characters Willy and Joe, gave voice to the opinions and gripes of the average GI. It’s been a while since I last read it, and I don’t remember if he was at or near Monte Cassino, but I think it’s mentioned in the book. He mailed the manuscript and drawings home and had it published during the war. Later he wrote a autobiography (title has something to do with merry-go-rounds and brass rings) that included a bit of his childhood and bootcamp experience, as well as the rest of the war after Italy. If you can get your hands on either of these books, it’s an enjoyable read. Not a history lesson, but rather a look at the “grunt’s”perspective.

  45. First, I’d like to clarify a statement made in the historical description of Monte Cassino. It says: “Monte Cassino was the gateway to Rome. It towered above the city and provided unobstructed views. ” While Monte Cassino was called the gateway to Rome, it does not tower over the city of Rome. The mountain that the abbey sits on towers over the Liri Valley, which is where the road to Rome passes through. Rome is still an hour away. The mountain where the abbey stood had been a strategic fortress since Roman times since you had to pass through the Liri valley below to get to Rome. Saint Benedict realized the value of the location and built the first Benedictine abbey on the site of an old pagan temple. My father was a young boy living in a town right outside of Cassino during the battle. By then Mussolini was ousted and the Italians in the south were led by General Badoglio who fought alongside the Allies. The Germans dug in along the Gustav line. They took all the food and livestock from the peasants in the area and occupied the caves in the mountain under the abbey of MC. The numbers of the civilian killed by war and starvation are seldom stated in the body count, but hundreds died in this area. Monte Cassino was one of the most tragic battles as many allied soldiers were lost and injured trying to take a mountain that was impossible to take in a frontal assault. As stated, the destruction of the abbey actually may have helped the Germans since they could then occupy the ruins. What really helped brake the German siege was the starving of the supply lines to the mountain. I had uncles in the US Army and family still living in Italy at the time. My father ultimately came to America and never looked back. He loved this country with all his heart.

  46. The blog is very interesting, my father was in the RAMC, and was with a CCS (casualty clearing station) at Monte Cassino. I can attest to the fact that the British medics were not All Dead, as some of your bloggers have been led to believe.
    They were, what the Americans would call a front line MASH unit, he was never able to watch the Alan Alda TV series, as he said it was too close to the truth, after accidentally catching one of the more serious scenes.
    He rarely spoke of his experiences, although he did get very upset when reading a book by one of the American General’s, who claimed the US had taken a town in North Africa.
    The Brits had already won the battle on the ground, Dad was taking a well earned break, when Yank planes attacked. They lost more soldiers then, than they had when taking the town, including Dad’s best friend! The friendly fire incident was never admitted.

  47. Orientation into the 36th ID, tells of the Mission of Destruction given to the division that allowed the Divarty S-3 to select their preferred weapon to accomplish the mission. The 8 inch Howitzer was their weapon of choice. Known for delivering rounds within 5 yards of each round strike and a killing radius of 10 meters. Many years later I was a Forward Observer for the Division and was amazed at the accuracy of the cannon. Later replaced by the Honest John Rocket. Only U.S. Naval gunfire can match the accuracy of the 8″ Howitzer.

  48. I just finished reading a new book by
    Peter Shelton Climb to Conquer. It tell all about 10 mountain division ski troops How they were formed It tell all battles that won the Italy mountain battles. It very good index all men that served

  49. My father would never talk about the war but what we have gleaned is that he was a Captain seconded from the British Army to the Indian army and fought at Monte Cassino. He died in 1968. His troops were Pathan or Pashtun men who these days are, interestingly, are commonly known as Taliban… the Russians and Americans have discovered how tough these people are as did the British before them.
    Recently my oldest brother told me that my father was haunted by the fact that the Germans had a “take no prisoners” policy for Blacks, Indians and Maori (New Zealand indigenous people). In retaliation, the soldiers under his command also took no prisoners.
    On his death bed he shared this with my brother and wondered if he could have done something to stop them.
    There are alot of terrible things that happen in war – it’s as simple as that – and there is alot of damage done to the brave men and women who fight. We should never judge them but only honour them.