ANNA MARIA PRIORA

Via Tommaso Campanella 26 CASSINO (FR)
annamaria.priora@gmail.com

PHONE  +39 328 1965 002

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Commonwealth Cemetery
Commonwealth Cemetery

On 18th May Montecassino was fallen in Polish hands and the Canadians had already crossed the Rapido River, passed through Pignataro Interamna and arrived very close to Pontecorvo. But General Leese  took his time and decided to wait until 23th May  to attack the Senger Line, this time not with the help of the concentrated forces of the whole 8th Army, but simply sending a single division of the Canadian Corps.

At 6am on 23rd May the Canadian 1 Infantry Division advanced in the area between Pontecorvo and Aquino, called Le Valli di Aquino. With a lot of difficulty they could fight against the Germans hidden in their pillboxes and bunkers but they were able to reach first of all the road Pontecorvo-Aquino and then Pontecorvo was ad the end in their hands. The Senger line was formed by 19 bungersr, fowholes and pillboxes, and it was very difficulyt to see them and to destroy them. On 24th May the Canadians 5 Armoured division took over and reached the Melfa River very next to Roccasecca railway station and after a very bloody battle next to S. Vito church, they distroyed the German defences. With the help of the Poles that took Piedimonte on 25th May and the Indiand of the 8th Indian Division and the British 78th Division that were able to occupy the area all around, the Canadian Armoured Division could enter Ceprano and some days later Frosinone.

I will lead you through this unique experience to allow you to pay tribute to our liberators!

The "Monte Cassino and Liri Valley Battlefield tour for Canadians" tour (about  3 hours) includes:

1) pickup from your arrival at the railway station in Cassino everyday at 10.00am or 02.00pm (Main Square, near the Green Kiosk)

2) about 3h30 guided tour of the American most meaningful sites of Cassino:

  • A German pillboxes of the Hitler Line
  • The Plaque in the Valli D'Aquino area
  • San Vito Church next to the Melfa River crossing area
  • Aquino Monument dedicated to the Canadians
  • The Commonwealth war cemetery
  • Cassino town center
  • Caste Hill
  • The Panoramic point
  • The Germans' caves
  • The Abbey of Montecassino.

3) return to the railway station in Cassino at 01.30pm or 05.30pm

Informations and Booking Questo indirizzo email è protetto dagli spambots. È necessario abilitare JavaScript per vederlo. or Whatsapp 00393281965002

Dr. Anna Maria Priora Ph.D

WW2 Monte Cassino Battlefield expert, researcher and tour guide

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canadian canadian canadian
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Paying respect to the fallen
Paying respect to the fallen

After having seen how difficult it had been the British attack on Castelforte and the Minturno area and after having loose so many lifes on the Rapido River in the middle of the Liri Valley, Mark Clark  decided to ask to the II Corps of Keyes to send the 34th Red Bulls Division at the orders of Charles Ryder to try to cross the Rapido River norther than Cassino. The plan he had, was to ask to the 133rd regiment to attack and occupy the little village of Caira, what at the time was a former barrack and then to climb the hills. 

On the left side of the 133rd, the 135th had to cross the Rapido too, but in this case the goal was to attack Monte Cassino  from this side. Naturally the poor American soldiers didn't know that the Germans had already dug pillboxes and foxholles, they had already prepared barbed wire lines and minefilds to delay the Allies.

On 24th January they reached the barracks but the German fire pushed them back the night after, thanks to the help of the 100th Battalion, a group of American-Japaniese, the so called Nisei. They fought like lions and on 26th January they discovered that the battalion formed by 187 men, after 24 hours had only 28 of them left. The Red Bulls organised with the help of the tank battalion several attacks, but the mud was so difficult tor tanks and havy guns, but they had to wait until the 1st February when also the 142nd regiment of the 36th Division came to help, the 34th reached point 593 but only for few hours.

Even if the Times continued to write article about the luky attacks and how weak were now  the German defences aroud Cassino, the Germans had ask to their regiments all over Europe to Reach Cassino and join them. At the end on Febbruary Mark Clarck  and Keyes had to decide to retreat the 34th and the 36th. In few days of fighting the 34th Red Bulls Division lost 1/3 of its forces: 318 deaths, 1641 wounded, 392 lost.

The "Monte Cassino 34th Division Battlefield Tour for Americans" (about 3 hours) includes:

1) pickup from your arrival at the railway station in Cassino everyday at 10.00am or 02.00pm (Main Square, near the Green Kiosk)

2) about 3h30 guided tour of the American most meaningful sites of Cassino:

  • Monte Trocchio slopes
  • Caira village the Rapido River and Rio Secco banks
  • The Barracs and the Caruso Road
  • German Cemetery
  • Cassino town center
  • Caste Hill
  • The Panoramic point
  • The Germans' caves
  • The Abbey of Montecassino.

3) return to the railway station in Cassino at 01.30pm or 05.30pm

Informations and Booking Questo indirizzo email è protetto dagli spambots. È necessario abilitare JavaScript per vederlo. or Whatsapp 00393281965002

34Th 34th 34th

Dr. Anna Maria Priora Ph.D

WW2 Monte Cassino Battlefield expert, researcher and tour guide

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Montecassino war tour visiting the museum
Montecassino war tour visiting the museum

I was at the "Museo Internazionale delle Guerre Mondiali" (this is the true Italian name of this Museum!) for the first time only some weeks ago, following an advice of a very good friend of mine!

I didn't know that to aspect. I was looking for a museum that could show to my customers some particular memorabilia, something difficult to find, something special. And I didn't find only a very particular and Unique Museum, but also very special and passionate new friends, Johnny and Filippo.

 Outside the Museum

It is an unequalled and matchless historic collection, that retraces the events of  1943 and 1944 exactly at the beginning of the conquest of Rome. Museum displays not only for adults but even for the younger generations, an understandable history that retraces the period leading up to the conquest of Rome , through the breaking of the Winter and the Gustav Line.

40 Years of research and passion, 10 years of hard work, have enable this Association of very brave people, to form this unique collection:  more that 3000 sqm of exposition, thousands and thousands pieces of memorabilia, including many vehiches, tanks, cannons, a plane, all combined in an original exibition which in unique in the Southern of Italy.

Some memorabilia are quite unique! If you want to see a North American Aviation T-6 Texan, a Bofors 40 mm gun, or M115 203 mm howitzer, just come and you will see them parked outside the museum just as a litle car...

Visiting the Museum

At the heart of the historic site of the Italian Battlefields , the Museo Internazionale delle Guerre Mondiali shows a special perspective of one of the greatest moments in the history of mankind.

The museum let us follow the Allied forces who partecipated to the Battles, but even the Italian and German soldiers in their daily life diuring the bloody battles that occurred in our area. Scenic recontructions of the major operations of the Battles, using uniforms, weaponsmannequin figures, and very precious memorabilia.

Visiting this museum will put you into history and back in time. 

Website: www.migm.it/

Dr. Anna Maria Priora Ph.D

WW2 Monte Cassino Battlefield expert, researcher and tour guide

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The Allies view from the top on Trocchio hill
The Allies view from the top on Trocchio hill

Studing the Four Battles of Montecassino, to be sure to deeply understand the different attacks, I visited with new eyes all the places I had seen for years. And the first place I reached was the top of Monte Trocchio. Let's remember what happened here 76 years ago.

On 9th January the battlefield moved to the slopes of Mount Trocchio, where the battle started on 10th January. The 168th Infantry Regiment 34th Red Bull Division started its attack from a small hill called il Gallo and the surrounding ridges, but only on 11th January it was able to attack Cervaro, this little montain town trasformed in a mass of rubbles. The 71st Panzer Grenadier Regiment  reinforced  in the nicht of 10/11 by soldiers of the Hermann Goering Panzer Division, was very well protected in the stone houses and cellars of Cervaro town centre.

Montecassino Abbey seen from Trocchio hill

Cervaro was taken on 12th January but there was no collapse of enemy resistance, and the Germans  retreated. The 168th reached Le Pastenelle and the Rapido plain. The other regiments of the 34th Division helped the 168th and on 13th January was ready to help to attack the Trocchio hill. The 135th reached point 189, between Cervaro and Trocchio hill, along Highway No.6, where the 2nd Hermann Goering Regiment had some dangerous pillboxes.

Mount Trocchio, The German Barrier Monte Trocchio, 17 Gennaio 1944

Lt. Arthur M. Shelous, of Santa Monica, California, and S/Sgt Ray Chapman, Lyndhurst, New Jersey, examine a 57mm anti tank gun used by the Germans to cover route 6 near mount Trocchio. Cervaro, Italy. 17 January 1944
(NARA MM-5-152785)
Tank on point 189 Cervaro Aerial view taken fr. Amer. Piper Cub observation plane looking down on Route 6 which runs past German-held Mt. Porchia (bottom), around Mt. Trocchio (C) & on into Mt. Cassino (bkgd.) where the Germans are entrenched in its hilltop monastery.
(Photo by Margaret Bourke-White/Time Inc.)
Point 189 Cervaro The stubborn battle of Cassino and Monastery Hill: an Allied tank moving into position for attack, while in the background the devastated town at the foot of the Monastery burns fiercely.
(Photo: “The Illustrated London News”, April 1, 1944)

When the Germans were reached by the 168th on one side and the 34th on the other, they retreated. The Allied forces organized the attack: the 34th had to attack the norther flank of Mount Trocchio, the 168th from Le Pastenelle on the Highway no.6 side, and the 141st  Infantry 36th Texas Division from the south. But the Germans were already far away, and the Allied joined one of the best observation point they could have for the next 3 months: Trocchio hill and its castle were perfect to see everything on the Liri Valley.

Mount Trocchio seen from Monte Cassino

Thanks to Alessandro Pistilli and Giuseppe Giovini for the modern pictures of Trocchio hill and Thanks to the Facebook page called War Memories-Memorie di Guerra, for the old ones.

 

Dr. Anna Maria Priora Ph.D

WW2 Monte Cassino Battlefield expert, researcher and tour guide

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In Sant Angelo, looking southern...
In Sant Angelo, looking southern...

At the beginning of January 1944 the II Corps continued its effort along the Highway No.6 to join as soon as possible Rome. The Germans were regrouping to stop the Allied way to Rome, but because of the 29Th Panzer Grenadier  Division were too tired to continue fighting , the 44th Granadier Division took over their key positions from Mount Majo to Mount Porchia.

On the way to Cassino along Highway No.6 there were 3 isolated hills called Cedro Hill (the Smallest), Mount Porchia and then next to San Vittore village Mount La Chiaia. These three hills offered the enemy a good barrage againts the Allieds and a good observation point. Behind them one of  the keystones of the German defenses of Cassino , a hill called Mount Trocchio. 

 

Old map writen by a veteranThe opening attack of the Allied was plan as following  Mount la Chiaia had to be attacked by the 135th and 168th Infantry 34th Red Bull Division with the help of the 1st Special Service Force who had to clear Mount Majo  and the surrounding Peaks. 

Mount Porchia instead had to be attacked by the 6th Armoured Infantry and Cedro Hill had to be cleared by elements of British 10 Corps.

The Battle of Mount Porchio  started on 4th January  when the 1st Battalion of the 1st Armoured Infantry moved to Mount Porchio. The first difficulty was in crearing two small reses on either side of Highway No. 6 untill they arrived next to Mt Porchio. The second Battalion tried to move along the railway line, but had to withdraw. On 6th January the 1st and the 3rd were ready to join the attack with the 2nd Battalion  at 07.00am. Thanks to the smoke that covered the north flank of Mount Porchia , some soldiers of the 1st Battalion were able to reach the crest even if the loss of lives was huge. Even if the Germans organized a counterattack with the help of the Hermann Goering Panzer Division. But the 6th Armoured Infantry held its gains on 7th January the entire hill fell and the Germans withdraw during the night.

Mount Porchia seen from Google Earth

While  the 168th was fighting on the Porchio hill the 46th Division of the 10 Corps had the same problems on Cedro Hill. During the night of 4/5 January the 138th Brigade  reached the opposite banks of the Peccia River, but untill when the 168th was not able to take the crest of Porchio Hill , the poor soldiers of the 138th and 139th Brigade  were pushed back by the enemy mortars. When  the Germans retreated from Mount Porchio , they also abandoned Cedro Hill and they all meet on Mt Trocchio.

Dr. Anna Maria Priora Ph.D

WW2 Monte Cassino Battlefield expert, researcher and tour guide

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