A gripping day-to-day account of the Allied plan to capture Rome which led to a four-month-long blood bath. In early 1944 two Allied Armies were ready to launch a massive assault against German forces in central Italy so they could then march northwards to Rome. There were three routes available to get there. The fastest one passed through the Liri valley. The entrance to the valley however, was blocked by the rugged Monte Cassino massif with its hilltop medieval monastery and the town below, which controlled the battlefield. In front of them ran the “Gustav” Line, the most formidably constructed defensive line the Western Allies would ever come up against. The second possible route would be to outflank the Gustav Line to reach the valley but in this case they would also have to capture the innumerable rough peaks and ridges along the massif, on a treacherous terrain that only favoured the defenders. The third and last option would be to breach the Gustav line directly in front of the Cassino town. But then they would have to engage in costly house-to-house fighting, until they would have dug out the very last of the stubborn German paratroopers lurking beneath the rubble. They decided to try all three routes. None of those was easy and they all proved deadly.
MONTE CASSINO January- May 1944: The Legend of the Green Devils
The Allied attempts to break through th German defences on the rocky hill of Monte Cassino ended up as one of the longest and deadliest engagements ever fought on European soil. Mansolas offers expert analysis on the four main stages of the battle.
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Hardback, 272 pp, 150 photographs, 45 in colour