(10/11) Battlefield II The Battle for Monte Cassino Ep13 World War II
CASSINO, Italy — We can climb to the top from here," said Rick Atkinson, not that it seemed we had much choice.
The road ahead, a narrowing dirt path, became impassable.
The mad dog that had trailed us halfway up Monte Trocchio fortunately seemed to have lost interest in us and our front tires.
We cautiously got out, then clambered over rocks and loose dirt, crunching across bone-dry olive groves planted in steep ranks.
The air smelled of smoke.
It was silent and warm.
Above monte casino ww2 line of olive trees, we trudged the last few yards to the top and from there had a view, the same one beleaguered Allied scouts had in 1944, of the abbey of Monte Cassino and the valley below.
The bookish son of a military officer, Atkinson had come to meet here at what was one of the deadliest battlefields in World War II, among other reasons because it is, as he agreed, such an casino in lagrange metaphor for the war today.
The second volume of Atkinson's trilogy on the liberation of Europe hits bookstores this week.
A longtime correspondent and editor for The Washington Post, the 54-year-old Atkinson won his second Pulitzer for the trilogy's opening volume, describing the North African campaign, an often disastrous endeavor that nonetheless helped whip the Allied armies into shape.
His second volume, "The Day of Battle," picks up with the murky story of the campaign in Sicily and Italy, about which there is still angry debate as to whether, unlike Normandy, it was even worth fighting.
Advertisement Much of the argument centers on this poor, mountainous stretch of towns and farms off the autostrada between Naples and Rome, with its limestone and conifer hills and its Fiat factory, a modern glass anomaly overlooking the cemetery for British soldiers.
Atkinson surveyed the panorama from Monte Trocchio.
He pointed toward Cassino, the hardscrabble city at the base of Monte Cassino, about two miles north.
For the Germans, Cassino became the impregnable center of the heavily fortified Gustav Line.
For the Allies, fighting their way up the monte casino ww2, it was the obstacle on the road to Rome.
After the battle ended it would be left uninhabitable for years, demolished by Allied bombs, beset by malaria.
Above it is Monte Cassino, with the abbey on top, like a fortress: "an unblinking eye," Atkinson called it.
One of the holiest sites in Christendom, founded by St.
Benedict in the sixth century, a shrine of Western civilization, it was a center of art and culture dating back nearly to the Roman Empire.
The Germans, Atkinson said, fired artillery shells from the far side of Monte Cassino.
They landed on Trocchio and on Allied troops.
The situation summons to mind classic westerns in which narrow mountain passes make sitting ducks of cowboys for ingenious Apaches.
Along the way a pitched struggle unfolded at San Pietro, an 11th-century cobblestone mountain village nestled among wild figs and cactus.
That fighting inspired "San Pietro," a documentary with some restaged sequences directed by John Huston, and a dispatch by the American war correspondent Ernie Pyle, which became a kind of modern-day Song of Roland.
As a result, this God-forsaken blip on the map was once the most notorious place in Europe.
We scrambled back down to the car, slipping and sliding, to give it a look.
Several miles away, the road forked and deposited us in San Pietro's piazza.
It was an astonishing sight.
An antiaircraft gun rusted in the quiet near where the tailor shop used to be.
The place was a ghost town, abandoned and forgotten, a Pompeii of World War II, now partly overtaken by vines and lime trees.
Winding steps rose steeply to the Church of the Archangel Michael, still bullet-ridden, an echoing shell, its porch shattered, the dead seeming to have just departed.
Past the decomposing carcass of a sheep we finally found the caves, miserable holes clinging to a cliff, where San Pietrans were forced by Germans to live.
The corpses of villagers who died from starvation or cold were left below the cliffs because the survivors link no place to bury them.
Just up the hill, Atkinson said, a 25-year-old captain from Texas named Henry Waskow was killed.
His company had been heading toward the village when he was cut down by German shell fire.
Pyle's famous dispatch recounted Waskow's body being carried by mule and laid down in the shadow of a low stone wall.
Atkinson called it "the finest expository writing to come from World War II.
Like San Pietro it was demolished during the war, but it has been rebuilt.
It overlooks the Rapido River, which close up seems hardly wider than a creek but was fast, deep and fully exposed to German forces above.
In January 1944, General Mark Clark, the Allied operational commander here, ordered the attack on that town, which the German 15th Panzer Grenadier Division occupied.
The hope was to forge a path to the west around Monte Cassino, through the Liri Valley.
It was a debacle.
We were standing in the town plaza, overlooking the river, from which the Germans had had a clear line of fire straight down on Allied soldiers, who suffered 2,000 casino in nottingham city centre in 48 hours.
The Germans repeatedly told the Allies they had no soldiers or weapons in the Abbey of Monte Cassino.
Julius Schlegel, a Nazi lieutenant colonel, had evacuated manuscripts and art treasures from it.
Fridolin von Senger article source Etterlin, the German commander of the Gustav Line — a former Rhodes scholar at Oxford and monte casino ww2 Italophile like most educated Germans, who used to stroll up Monte Cassino with his walking stick surveying the troops and chatting with peasants — had scrupulously followed orders to keep his soldiers far from the building.
Atkinson pulled the monte casino ww2 onto the side of the road that winds up the mountain, where the Gustav Line was located.
At 1,500 feet high, the mountain is a steep wall rising straight from the valley.
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We were standing where the Germans had hunkered on the slopes, below the abbey.
There were countless nooks in which to dig foxholes and bunkers and make oneself invisible.
It was obvious why the enemy hadn't needed to occupy the abbey on the top of the hill, where in fact they would be more exposed.
But German artillery and gunfire raining endlessly down from the mountain caused Allied troops to imagine that the monastery was the cause of their misery: it was the only thing they could clearly see.
One day two American generals flew a Piper Cub over it and believed they spotted Germans in the courtyard.
Another general flew by and saw nothing, and a French commander, General Alphonse Pierre Juin, pleaded with the Americans to spare the building, saying an attack was folly.
Those in charge didn't want to listen.
This monastery MUST be destroyed and everyone in it as there is no one in it casino everett ma location Germans.
There was a lot of bad intel floating around and a lot of cherry-picking of it.
He would spend much of the rest of his life defending this decision, one he had been reluctant to make.
He wasn't sure Germans did occupy the abbey, and instead of stopping them, he predicted, destroying it would only give them another place to hide.
But he was overruled.
Scores of refugees, mostly women and children who had sought shelter in the abbey, were slaughtered.
That's quite clear to history.
The Germans would quickly burrow into the smoking ruins after the bombers left, as Clark predicted, because the Allies did not follow up the attack with adequate troops to seize the initiative.
Where the enemy had in fact not been terrorizing Americans, now it had a fresh, formidable redoubt.
This bought the Nazis months of https://healthcareinsuranceplan.info/casino/casino-bars-london.html and bogged the Allies down.
Through the spring thousands of American, British, French, Polish and Italian soldiers, among others, would die fighting to make up for this shortsighted, misguided plan.
Bathed in sunshine, with burbling fountains, it was an oasis packed with tourists, the reverse of San Pietro.
Once the site of a temple to Apollo, the monastery had been visited by Charlemagne, sacked by Saracens and destroyed by an earthquake in 1349.
Broad stone steps, flanked by statues of St.
Scolastica, rise in surprise az the abbey's basilica, painstakingly reconstructed with ancient bronze doors from Constantinople.
A labyrinthine museum, testifying to the antiquity of the site, contained pictures by some of the artists, including Luca Giordano, whose great frescoes had been destroyed.
Atkinson recalled Machiavelli: "Wars begin where you will, but they do not end where you please.
Churchill cabled Clark's British superior, Harold Alexander: "What are you doing sitting down link nothing?
Under pressure, Alexander ordered the attack.
Clark shot back a memo: "It is too bad unnecessarily to destroy one of the art treasures of the world.
I remember in Vietnam the definition of alienation was fighting a war and hoping the other side wins.
Today monte casino ww2 have no sense in our country even of being at war.
The message from the government is 'Go shopping, don't worry about it.
But the Allies had a million forces in Italy, tied up themselves, which meant they weren't in Normandy.
There were 157 Nazi divisions to the east at the same time, 60 in the rest of Western Europe.
The 608-day Italian campaign cost 312,000 Allied casualties, 23,501 American lives.
In Baghdad, where monte casino ww2 has been reporting, Atkinson said, he heard military officials privately rationalize American casualties there based on their comparatively small number, but "you won't hear that argument made publicly because sacrifice must be believed to be in a cause widely deemed worthy of the sacrifice.
Normandy was still 13 months off.
Roosevelt was content to fight a war of attrition.
If not Italy, where?
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The Battle of Monte Cassino
75th Anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino also known as the. in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II.
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