Reblogged from WWII Colorised Photographs
A Sherman Tank and (what looks like) a Humber Armoured Car sit on a foggy hilltop road, waiting for the call to advance during the Final Battle for Monte Cassino. Cassino, Italy, 13th May, 1944.
Monte Cassino was a hilltop Abbey situated less than 2 kilometres to the west of the town of Cassino which dominated the entrance to the surrounding Liri valley.
The effectiveness and pinpoint accuracy of the artillery encountered by the advancing Allied forces lead them to believe that the German forces that occupied defensive positions along the steep hillsides surrounding the abbey’s walls were using the abbey as an observation post.
As the Allied death toll as a result of artillery strikes increased, so did the fear and suspicion that the abbey was in fact being utilised by the Germans. As a result, on the 15th February, 1944, American Bombers dropped 1,400 tons of HE bombs on Monte Cassino and the surrounding landscape.
It would come to light that the action of bombing the area worked against the Allied forces, the occupying Fallschirmjäger moved into the rubble, making use of the decimated landscape, crumbling structures and exposed cellars. From this newly created defensive position the Germans successfully defended the position for several months against numerous Allied assaults and bombardments.
The tenacity, skill and fearsome reputation gained by the Fallschirmjäger in their defence of the ruins won them the nickname of the ‘Green Devils’ amongst the allied troops.
After Four Battles and 123 days the fight for Monte Cassino was finally won but at a high cost.
The Allied forces suffered 55,000 causalities while the Axis suffered around 22,000.
(Photo source – © IWM (NA 14737)
No. 2 Army Film & Photographic Unit -Fox (Sgt)
(Colour and Text by Joshua Barrett from the UK)