During the II battle of Cassino with the arrive of the Kiwi forces, also other strange fashoned soldiers arrived in the Liri Valley. They were the Indians, sent by Churchill to help the British troops. The 20% of them were Sikh, coming from the norther areas of the country and wearing their turbants instead of the British Helmets. They arrived to Cassino first on Febbruary 1944 and it was easy to recognise them, from their insigna, rappresenting a Red Eagle. Speaking about the British troops is not possible without speaking about the Red Eagles, because they had British officers, and they were organized in division, and every division had a brigade formed by British soldiers. So the Kiwi and the Indian part of Monte Cassino History is closely related with the British. That's why with the Rajputane, the Punjabe and the Gurkha soldiers we remembers also the actions of several UK battalion, like the Royal Sussex, the Cameron Highlanders and the Esses. The General that was in charge of all of them was Fryberg. During the second battle of Montecassino Fryberg asked to the soldiers of the Royal Sussex to join the Snake's Head Ridge and point 593, to take over the 34th Division exausted after days of bloody fighting. Only few days after the take over in the Abbey area, Tuker had to leave the battlefields to join the hospital in Caserta and Demoline became the temporary General in charge.
After the Bombing of the Abbey Freyberg belived that the best way to join the Abbey was attacking Castle hill and resist there 9 days long with some soldiers of the Essex reggiment. After many days of fighting without being victorious, on 23rd March Freyberg asked to the 4th Indian Division to retreat.
Some weeks later during the last Battle of Monte Cassino Uk General Oliver Leese asked to the 78th Division to attach the Liri Valley and to cross the Rapido River. It was not easy for the soldiers to cross it again, and the 78th was successful only in the night between the 14th and the 15th May.
Learn about Cassino on the eve of the battles and about the events that led the area into the war!
The "Monte Cassino Battlefield tour for British" (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 British most meaningful sites of Cassino:
- Monte Trocchio slopes
- Amazon Bridge and Rapido River Crossing
- 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
Dr. Anna Maria Priora Ph.D
WW2 Monte Cassino Battlefield expert, researcher and tour guide