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. 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. On the nights of February 15 and 16, troops from the Royal Sussex Regiment attacked positions in the hills behind Cassino with little success. On May 15, the British 78th Division passed through the bridgehead and began a turning movement to cut off the town from the Liri Valley. Take the roundabout and take the third exit and follow the road signs to Cassino. Pope Pius XII was silent after the bombing; however, his Cardinal Secretary of State, Luigi Maglione, bluntly stated to the senior U.S. diplomat to the Vatican, Harold Tittmann, that the bombing was "a colossal blunder … a piece of a gross stupidity". Allied efforts were slowed by poor weather, rough terrain, and a tenacious German defense. With his right-wing wavering, Kesselring began pulling back to the Hitler Line, approximately eight miles to the rear. Poor Dimoline (acting commander of 4th Indian Division) was having a dreadful time getting his division into position. The Germans had had three months to prepare their defensive positions using dynamite and to stockpile ammunition and stores. This view is supported by the inability of Major General Lucian Truscott, commanding the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, as related below, to get hold of him for discussions at a vital juncture of the Anzio breakout at the time of the fourth Cassino battle. Having some success, X Corps' efforts forced Kesselring to send the 29th and 90th Panzer Grenadier Divisions south from Rome to stabilize the front. 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.[53]. The German positions on Point 593 above and behind the monastery were untouched.[37]. Kennedy Hickman is a historian, museum director, and curator who specializes in military and naval history. 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. During the battle there had been occasions when, with more astute use of reserves, promising positions might have been turned into decisive moves. This was evidenced in the writing of Maj. Gen. Howard Kippenberger, commander of New Zealand 2nd Division, after the war. 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. Cassino War Cemetery lies in the Commune of Cassino, Province of Frosinone, 139 kilometres south-east of Rome. With this failure, Allied forces consolidated their lines and Alexander began devising a new plan for breaking the Gustav Line. Alexander's strategy in Italy was to "force the enemy to commit the maximum number of divisions in Italy at the time the cross-channel invasion [of Normandy] is launched". The assertion that the German use of the abbey was "irrefutable" was removed from the record in 1961 by the Office of the Chief of Military History. It was St. Benedict of Nursia who established this very first Benedictine monastery around the year 529. To bypass that line, the Allies landed some 50,000 seaborne troops, with 5,000 vehicles, at Anzio, only 33 miles south of Rome, on January 22, 1944. It became the task of the U.S. 34th Division (joined temporarily by the 142nd Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division, which had been held in reserve and unused during the Rapido crossing) to fight southward along the linked hilltops towards the intersecting ridge on the south end of which was Monastery Hill. [57] In their time on the Cassino front line the 4th Indian Division had lost 3,000 men and the 2nd New Zealand Division 1,600 men killed, missing and wounded. 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. Take the roundabout and take the third exit and follow the road signs to Cassino. Juin's French Expeditionary Corps consisted of the Commandement des Goums Marocains ("Command of Moroccan Goumiers"; CGM) (with the 1st, 3rd and 4th GTM) of General Augustin Guillaume[66] totalling some 7,800 fighting men,[67] broadly the same infantry strength as a division, and four more conventional divisions: the 2nd Moroccan Infantry Division (2 DIM), the 3rd Algerian Infantry Division (3 DIA), the 4th Moroccan Mountain Division (4 DMM) and the 1st Free French Division (1 DM).[66]. The next assault on the line commenced on 23 May with Polish II Corps attacking Piedimonte San Germano (defended by the redoubtable German 1st Parachute Division) on the right and 1st Canadian Infantry Division (fresh from Eighth Army reserve) in the centre. By Professor Richard Holmes Last updated 2011-02-17. A range of opinions were expressed as to the possibility of victory but it was evident that the New Zealand and Indian Divisions were exhausted. Battle honours were awarded to some units for their roles at Cassino. Early 1944, Italy: the Allied armies had been fought to a standstill by the Germans beneath the gaze of the shattered Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino. Though many, including Clark, believed the abbey to be vacant, increasing pressure ultimately led Alexander to controversially order the building to be bombed. 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. Cassino War Cemetery lies in the Commune of Cassino, Province of Frosinone, 139 kilometres south-east of Rome. There was no natural shelter and the weather was wet and freezing cold. 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. 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). The German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but at a high cost. On the night following the bombing, a company of the 1st Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (one of the British elements in 4th Indian Division) serving in 7th Indian Infantry Brigade attacked the key point 593 from their position 70 yards (64 m) away on Snakeshead Ridge. Crucially, the engineers of Dudley Russell's 8th Indian Division had by the morning succeeded in bridging the river enabling the armour of 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade to cross and provide the vital element (so missed by the Americans in the first battle and New Zealanders in the second battle) to beat off the inevitable counter-attacks from German tanks that would come. [48][49] They were ordered to pull back to the river when it became clear to headquarters that both the attempts to break through (in the mountains and along the causeway) would not succeed. On 24 May, the Canadians had breached the line and 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division poured through the gap. Responding to Senger's concerns, Kesselring ordered the 29th and 90th Panzergrenadier Divisions from the Rome area to provide reinforcement. A Polish bugler plays the Hejnał mariacki, announcing the victory, Ruins of the town of Cassino after the battle. [65], By the afternoon of 12 May, the Gari bridgeheads were increasing despite furious counter-attacks whilst the attrition on the coast and in the mountains continued. "[69] A patrol of Polish 12th Podolian Cavalry Regiment finally made it to the heights and raised a Polish flag over the ruins. 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