Retreat from Monte Cassino

German Heer 1935-1945.

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dsetzer
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Retreat from Monte Cassino

Post by dsetzer » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:30 am

At Monte Cassino the German army was ordered to hold the position at all costs.

When the unthinkable happened and they were finally forced to abandon the mountain in May of 1944, there was no real plan for that contingency.

What followed was a disorderly retreat over a very broad front that was very nearly a rout.

The retreat became a long and eventful Odyssey for two German soldiers with a truckload of ammunition as they rolled through the Italian countryside.

The soldier's own account of that turbulent episode gives us an interesting insight into the workings of the German army and to the attitudes of the common soldier. It also sheds light on the attitudes of the Italian people on the verge of liberation.

Their story can be found here under the title: “The Battle of Monte Cassino”

http://home.comcast.net/~dhsetzer/Mork/


..
--
Dan Setzer
Baltimore, MD USA
Memoirs of a German Private in WWII:
http://www.DanSetzer.us/Mork

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Benoit Douville
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Re: Retreat from Monte Cassino

Post by Benoit Douville » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:04 am

That's an interesting point of view but after the Battle of Monte Cassino and the retreat and later the capture of Rome, the Germans made a very strong resistance with the Gustav line.

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dsetzer
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Re: Retreat from Monte Cassino

Post by dsetzer » Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:11 pm

My understanding is that the Gustav Line or Winter Line ran from the mouth of the Garigliano River through Monte Cassino to a point just south of Ortona.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Line

The Canadians took Ortona in December of 1943 and the Allied offensive started from the Garigliano in mid-May 1944. Monte Cassino fell on May 18, 1944.

That would have pretty much finished off the Gustav Line by the end of May 1944.

The narrator states that frequent attempts were made to stand and hold a new defensive line, but such attempts were quickly overrun by the massive number of Allied ground and air forces thrown into the advance.

Perhaps you were thinking of the Caesar Line or the Rome Switch Line?
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Dan Setzer
Baltimore, MD USA
Memoirs of a German Private in WWII:
http://www.DanSetzer.us/Mork

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Benoit Douville
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Re: Retreat from Monte Cassino

Post by Benoit Douville » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:35 pm

I mean the Gothic line... My mistake.

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dsetzer
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Re: Retreat from Monte Cassino

Post by dsetzer » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:50 pm

Right.

Although it is not specifically mentioned in my translation of Mork's narrative, his part in the withdrawal from Cassino ended on June 24, 1944 near Florence when he suffered another particularly intense attack of malaria.

He was evacuated to Lake Garda. The Gothic Line, or Green Line, was being established at that time and was north of Florence, so he may not have been aware of its existence at that time.
--
Dan Setzer
Baltimore, MD USA
Memoirs of a German Private in WWII:
http://www.DanSetzer.us/Mork

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