FSSF Battlefield Tour

FSSF Battlefield Tour
Hill 720 FSSF plaque

In the first few days of December 1943, with a long match of about 30km from Presenzano to Mignano Montelungo, the men of the First Service Special Force Joined the Torrente Peccia, the starting point to reach the top of the Camino Mass. The Germans didn’t know that the FSSF was arrivong and they even didn’t notice that they were joining the battle line. A quite small group of the Forse was already arrived some days before to observe the Battlefield and to find a way to join the top of Mount La Defensa.

Storming Mount La Defensa: the north side

The best way to attack the top of Mount La Defensa was by hiling the North parte of the mount, where the Germans didn’t adpected to be attached.. on this side the Mountain was realy rocky and steel. The Germans believed that any Infantyy Division could hike the Camino Mass on that side and so they left in the area very few watchmen. The axis didnct know that the FSSF was not an Infantry Division, but a very special trainer group of brave men, that could do things that were impossible for any other.

FSSF memorial in Mignano Cityhall

The Attack to Mount la Defensa on 2nd December 1943

The Attack started on 2nd December After 3 hours of heavy Fire on the top of the Mass, the Second FSSF Regiment started to climb rocks even 80 Meter hight. Then menof the Second Regiment could reach the top thanks to Colonnel Tom William, Captain William Rothlin and tour simple soldiers called Van Ausdale, Antony Ross, Fenton and Joe Danphinais. these brave men left the Battle line before the others and they placed the ropes to help the rest of the men to hike the mountains.

Joining the top of Mount La Defensa

The first group of 75 men helped by the already placed ropes and the darkness, joined the top of La Defensa with light weapons, while the second group joined the first with machine guns. Every men was carrying about 50 kgof weapons and equipment, because they donct know if later they could be joined by any other supplies. The first group was successful because the Germans didn’t noticed that they were on the top of the mount. they penetrate quote deen in the enemies area, untill when probably the Germans heard a falled helmet, and Discovery that they were not alone on Mount La Defensa.

Ridge 368 FSSF plaque

The First Regiment fired on Ridge 368

At that point the sun was rising and the fighting started. Soon After that, while he was fighting bravely, Captain Rothlin was hit in the face by a MP40. In the early morning the top.of Mount La Dafensa had bern liberated. the Allies were very surprised. They believed that such a dangerous action would have taken more days. But the German answer was on his way. On the 3rd December the Germans started their counterattack, and the First Regiment was hit very badly on the slopes of Camino Mass on point 368.

Cleaning Mount Sammucro

Around the 15th of December 1943 the Allies were on Mount Cesime, Cannaville, Sammucro, Corno and Santa Croce.From these great points of view It was simple for them to.controll the area of Monte Majo and La Radicosa. For this reason After Mount la Defensa the FSSF were ask to liberate Hill 720 and the west side of Sammucro, very closed to the Casilina Road.

The Germans on Mount Sammucro

The Germans were on the top with 80 and 120mm machineguns and they could still hit San Pietro, the Casilina Road and the surrounding area. After a short rest periode in Venafro area, Colonell Frederick and the 5 Army started to plan a new assault : the 36th Division on the north side, with the men of the 504th Patashute Infantry Regiment and the Ranger.

FSSF Battlefield Tour: Hill 720

The First Regiment was chosen forcthis task while the 504th Parachute had to clean hill684, where the Germans had many machineguns pointed on 720 Hill. To join the top of Sammucro, the Forcemem had again in front of them very stereo cliffs, butvyhis time noone was hitting them. The fighting was then planned on the way down, to Hill 720. The attack started on 22nd December and It was planned to join Hill 720 on 23rd, but because the radio link was considered too bad, the Forcemem stopped for 24 hours in the area of Colle Masenardi, a well hidden field, where the men could create foxholes.

FSSF Battlefield Tour: fighting on Christmas day

During the first bombing the Germans started to.hit the top of Sammucro Mountain and the bivouc area. But the First Service Special Force was ready. The attack started on 25th December at sunrise. In the night between the 24th and the 25th some oatrols of the First Regiment started their way down to.hill 720. Some men met German oatrols but they were able not to be discovered. Having joined the Market very early on Christmas daythe attack started.

First Special Service Force on the Winter Line

On the south side of Hill 720 a MG 42 started to fire the Forcemem, but one of them was able to throw a granade and to kill all the Germans in the net. After few hours thanks to the help of the 504th, the FSSF liberated Hill 720. During this successful attack about 80 men were wounded or killed but the conjuntion between the 45th Division Thunderbird in Venafro area and the 36th Division in San Pietro area was now open

Conquering Mount Majo

The FSSF casualties from 1 December to 8 Dicember, 8 days in total, were very high: 73 dead, 429 wounded and 9 missing soldiers. On 4th Jannuary 1944 a very special War reporter was on the First Special Service Force’s Battlefield: Ropert Capa. He took many photos of the area and the soldiers. I Will share with you some of these wonderful pictures!

The “”FSSF Battlefield tour” (about 6 hours) includes:

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

2) about 6h guided tour of the most meaningful sites of the Winter Defensive Line:

  • Mignano gap and Mignano Montelungo Village
  • Mignano Montelungo Town hall and FSSF markers
  • FSSF marker on ridge 368
  • Venafro Cemetery

Break for a light lunch

  • Le Noci hamlet
  • Ceppagna Hamlet
  • Hill 720 FSSF plaque
  • La Radicosa hamlet and Robert Capa
  • Domenico Matteo story

3) return to the railway station in Cassino at about 05.00pm


TOUR DURATION: about 6 hours

DEPARTUR TIME: Daily at 10.00 am

MEETING POINT: Cassino Railway Station (Main Square, near the Green Kiosk)


  • Professional WW2 Guidance
  • Transportation
  • Donation to the monastery

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED: Lunch and dinner are not included

PRICE PER PERSON: 150 euros minimum 2 people


  • No advance payment
  • You can do the payment during the tour cash to your Guide
HMCS Prince David and HMCS Prince Henry supporting pre-invasion exercises for the Mediterranean Operation which took place off the coast of Italy, 22 Aug 1944. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3964045) picture found here
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FSSF Battlefield tour

First Special Service Force on Winter Line next to Montecassino Abbey. Mount la Defensa and Mount Sammucro

SKU del prodotto: fssf

Brand di prodotto: Monte Cassino War Tours

Valuta del prodotto: eur

Prezzo del prodotto: 150

Prezzo valido fino a: 01/12/2040

Prodotto in magazzino: InStock

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