The goal of the Battle of Monte Cassino was to break through this line to Rome. The Germans had around 20,000 killed and wounded by the end of the struggle. The fourth battle was called Operation Diadem. Pushed into planning a new assault to relieve pressure on the Anzio beachhead, Freyberg intended to continue the attack through mountains north of Cassino as well as advance up the railroad from the southeast. Around this time, Montgomery departed for Britain to aid in planning the invasion of Normandy and was replaced by Lieutenant General Oliver Leese. With the arrival of the spring weather, it would be possible to use large groups of troops and armour. Some Allied aircraft saw German troops in the Abbey. March 19 was planned for the attack on the town and on the Abbey. Because the old Benedictine Abbey was important to history, German units did not put defensive positions in the Abbey.[8][9]. Pressing up the Liri Valley, the British Eighth Army immediately attempted to break through the Hitler Line but was turned back. Among the issues faced by Allied forces were large areas of exposed ground and rocky terrain that precluded digging foxholes. Hampering Allied efforts was the fact Clark's forces were tired and battered after fighting their way north from Naples. For the third battle, it was decided to launch two attacks from the north. On the night of February 17 the main attack was done. Driving north, his troops occupied the city on June 4. The third battle began March 15. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, World War II: Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander, World War II Europe: Fighting in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, World War II: Battle of the Falaise Pocket, World War II: Operation Cobra and Breakout from Normandy, World War II: Second Battle of El Alamein, Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Montgomery, M.S., Information and Library Science, Drexel University, B.A., History and Political Science, Pennsylvania State University. On March 19, Freyberg hoped to turn the tide with the introduction of the 20th Armoured Brigade. Moving forward on March 15, Freyberg's men advanced behind a creeping bombardment. The following night the Sussex Regiment was ordered to attack with a whole battalion at midnight. This would support the main attack by U.S. II Corps on their right. The Battle of Monte Cassino was a long campaign that stopped the advvance of the Allies up the "boot" of Italy. To the southeast, 28th (Māori) Battalion succeeded in crossing the Rapido and captured the Cassino railroad station. The main thrust for Monte Cassino started on February 2 nd 1944 when the US 135 th and 168 th Infantry Regiments started their attacks. This saw the transfer of the British Eighth Army across the mountains. It was split into two phases as the first phase petered out and the Allies had to alter their tactics. Though the German line had held, the Allies had come close to a breakthrough which concerned the commander of the German Tenth Army, Colonel General Heinrich von Vietinghoff, who oversaw the Gustav Line. Recognizing the defensive value of the terrain, the Germans built the Gustav Line section of the Winter Line through the area. Between 17 January and 18 May, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were attacked four times by Allied troops. One interesting detail about the Battle of Monte Cassino is how everyone fighting for it perceived it. The U.S. 34th Division had to fight southward. For the fourth battle, Alexander desired II Corps to push up Route 7 towards Rome while the French attacked across the Garigliano and into the Aurunci Mountains on the west side of the Liri Valley. Following its destruction, paratroopers of the German 1st Parachute Division occupied the ruins of the abbey. It was believed that German observers and artillery spotters were using the abbey for protection. He has appeared on The History Channel as a featured expert. American bombers dropped 1,400 tons of bombs onto the Cassino Abbey. The south entrance to this valley was Cassino. Near the coast, British X Corps crossed the Garigliano. To the north, XIII Corps made two crossings of the Rapido. They dropped 1,150 tons of bombs on the abbey. 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. On March 23, with his men exhausted, Freyberg halted the offensive. The 29th and 90th Panzer Grenadier Divisions were sent to him. The plan was that U.S. II Corps on the left would attack up the coast. Together, these valleys and mountains were … 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. As planning moved forward, a debate began among the Allied high command regarding the abbey of Monte Cassino. It was a series of four attacks by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by the Germans and Italians. The 34th Division pushed back General Franek's 44th Infantry Division. [17] The German positions above and behind the monastery were untouched. The two Moroccan-French divisions had 2,500 casualties in their battles around Monte Belvedere.[13]. 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