Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On This Day...



In 1944, Allied troops finally succeeded in driving Axis soldiers from the ruins of Monte Cassino Abbey and the defensive lines (the Gustav Line) in the hills and mountains around it. The German and Italian defenders had repulsed a series of attacks that had begun four months earlier. The Allies suffered terrible losses as they struggled to attack and resupply along the exposed slopes and ridges.

The musician and comedian Spike Milligan was with the Royal Artillery at Monte Cassino where he was wounded and suffered from shell shock. There are over 20,000 names listed in the German cemetery at Monte Cassino, and it is estimated that around 54,000 Allied soldiers lost their lives in the battles around the Monastery.

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