The Battles for Cassino encompassed one of the few
truly international conflicts of the Second World War. A strategic town
on the road to Rome, the fighting lasted four months and cost the lives
of more than 14,000 men from eight nations. Between January and May
1944, forces from Britain, Canada, France, India, New Zealand, Poland
and the United States, fought a resolute German army in a series of
battles in which the advantage swung back and forth, from one side to
the other. From fire-fights in the mountains to tank attacks in the
valley; from river crossings to street fighting, the four battles of
Cassino encompass a series of individual operations unique in the
history of the Second World War.
Authors Jeff Plowman and Perry Rowe have spent
several years studying the conflict together and walking the battlefield
to take the hundreds of comparison photographs which are the raison
d’etre of all After the Battle publications. Photographs have been
selected from archives and private collections around the world to
present a balanced view, combined with maps, orders of battle, citations
and detailed captions.
The Cassino battles, epitomised by the controversial
bombing of the monastery which towers menacingly over the battlefield,
stand at the centre of the Italian campaign. The dogged defence by a
100,000 men of the German XIV. Panzerkorps under General Frido von
Senger und Etterlin, facing a greater multi-national force, was only
routed in the end by a gallant French flanking manoeuvre, with the Poles
marking the final victory by hoisting their national flag over the ruins
of the Monastery.
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