In the afternoon, the second target was the "Scalo del Littorio" on the northern side of Rome. Her soldiers were fighting alongside the British in North Africa. Who Bombed the Vatican? The topography of the land meant that shells fired at 575 had to pass very low over Snakeshead Ridge and in the event some fell among the gathering assault companies. With the aid of a near constant smoke screen laid down by Allied artillery that obscured their location to the German batteries on Monastery Hill, the Māori were able to hold their positions for much of the day. 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. Some of these units were accused of committing atrocities against the Italian peasant communities in the region. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome. 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[9]) and across the entrance to the Liri valley. On 23 March Alexander met with his commanders. By the end of 17 March the Gurkhas held Hangman's Hill (point 435), 250 yards (230 m) from the monastery, in battalion strength (although their lines of supply were compromised by the German positions at point 236 and in the northern part of the town) and whilst the town was still fiercely defended, New Zealand units and armour had got through the bottleneck and captured the station. 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. [20] In return they sustained losses of about 80 per cent in the Infantry battalions, some 2,200 casualties.[19]. [29] Tuker said he could not be induced to attack unless "the garrison was reduced to helpless lunacy by sheer unending pounding for days and nights by air and artillery". 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. U.S. 36th Division was sent on amphibious assault training and road signposts and dummy radio signal traffic were created to give the impression that a seaborne landing was being planned for north of Rome. The way was clear for the advance northwards on Rome and beyond. In addition, subsidiary battle honours were given to some units which participated in specific engagements during the first part. The assault failed, with the company sustaining 50 per cent casualties. 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. 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. [12], The 12th USAAF bombed the Littorio and Tiburtino marshalling yards, but bombs fell also on the city, killing 200 civilians. Monte Cassino, a historic hilltop abbey founded in AD 529 by Benedict of Nursia, dominated the nearby town of Cassino and the entrances to the Liri and Rapido valleys. 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. Simultaneously the French Expeditionary Corps (CEF), under General Alphonse Juin would continue its "right hook" move towards Monte Cairo, the hinge to the Gustav and Hitler defensive lines. Once again the two regiments attacked but with no more success against the well dug-in 15th Panzergrenadier Division: the 143rd Infantry Regiment got the equivalent of two battalions across, but, once again, there was no armoured support and they were devastated when daylight came the next day. World War II in Rome is a complicated subject, with complex personalities including the dictator Benito Mussolini, Pope Pius XII, and King Victor Emmanuel III. [8], Ciampino was attacked again, this time by 35 bombers. Three weeks later, on August 13, 1943, 310 Allied bombers again bombed the city, targeting San Lorenzo and Scalo del Littorio. In the confusion of the fight, a company of the 1/9th Gurkha Rifles had taken a track avoiding point 236 and captured point 435 whilst the assault on point 236 by the 1/6th Rajputana Rifles had been repelled. Over the two nights, the Royal Sussex Regiment lost 12 out of 15 officers and 162 out of 313 men who took part in the attack.[46]. A Polish bugler plays the Hejnał mariacki, announcing the victory, Ruins of the town of Cassino after the battle. "[69] A patrol of Polish 12th Podolian Cavalry Regiment finally made it to the heights and raised a Polish flag over the ruins. Poor Dimoline (acting commander of 4th Indian Division) was having a dreadful time getting his division into position. On the 26th the order was put into effect. The original estimates that Rome would fall by October 1943 proved far too optimistic. 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. An immediate follow-up assault failed and Eighth Army then decided to take some time to reorganize. Rome was eventually declared an open city on August 14, 1943 (a day after the last Allied bombing) by the defending forces. The ‘bulge’ refers to the wedge that the Germans drove into the Allied lines during their ultimately unsuccessful attempt … 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. [54] In the town the attackers made little progress and overall the initiative was passing to the Germans whose positions close to Castle Hill, which was the gateway to the position on Monastery Hill, crippled any prospects of early success. [83] Each vehicle carried monks to Rome as escorts; in more than 100 truckloads the convoys saved the abbey’s monastic community. Montini (the future Pope Paul VI), travelled to the Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls, which had been badly damaged, and distributed 2 million lire to the crowds. 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.S. II Corps, under Major General Geoffrey Keyes, on their right. 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. As the Canadians and Poles launched their attack on 23 May, Major General Lucian Truscott, who had replaced Lucas as commander of the U.S. VI Corps in February, launched a two pronged attack using five (three U.S. and two British) of the seven divisions in the beachhead at Anzio. [55] The Allied commanders felt they were on the brink of success as grim fighting continued through 21 March. The Joint Allied Forces Headquarters was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre and it planned and led the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, followed in September by the invasion of the Italian mainland and the … [31] Clark and his chief of staff Major General Alfred Gruenther remained unconvinced of the "military necessity". (ed.) Reasons for Clark's decision are unclear and controversy surrounds the issue. Once again, therefore, the battle commenced without the attackers being fully prepared. While the U.S. military ignored the suggestion at first it was later adopted after Churchill talked to President Roosevelt.The plan was for the US Fifth Army to attack the Gustav Line and in doing so draw the opposing forces south while the VI Crops land at Anzio. 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