Visiting Monte Leuci Museum
During the IIWW Monte Leuci was a strategical strongpoint on the Liri Valley. It was on the German Defensive Line called "Senger-Riegel" Line, or better known as the Hitler Line. The position of this high hill on the main road between Pontecorvo and Pico was a dangerous obstacle for the Alleid advancing to north. But it was difficult also for the French Expeditionary Corps and its Genaral De Goislard de Monsabert. He has the important task to attack the Germans on the left side, and he was successful in attacking Monte Leuci even if it was very difficult and it lasted only few hours. On 21st May 1944 the 26th German Volksgrenadier Division of General Luettwitz launched a counterattack and threw off the French from the top oh the hill. During the fighting the Canadian artillery located on the other side of the Liri Valley, helped the French Army sending a great number of air strikes on the area where the German tanks were. The French attacked the area 4 times during that day. they lost men and time during the first three attacks, but during the last one they were successful, and they allowed the advance of the Allied until Pico. The 26th German division could not take Monte Leuci back again, and Kesserling showed his big disappointment to General Luttwitz. The attack to Monte Leuci, was reported in many French and Italian newspapers.
The report of the battle is remembered also by the Marechal Juin in this book called "Momoires, Alger, Tunis, Rome":
Semblable au perroquet, qui ne gravit un degre qu'apres s'etre solidement installe sur le precedent, manoeuvrant habilment et dejouant toutes les contre-attaques, il enleve Pico le 22 mai apres un combat acharne, alors que les Canadiens, ancore loin derriere, ne forceront la ligne Hitler a Pontecorvo que deux jours apres .(page 318)
The museum was opened in 2004, during the celebrations for the 60th Anniversary of the liberation of Pontecorvo, in an old little church on the top of Monte Leuci Hill. This little museum has a little collection of munitions, bonbebs, and weapons used during the different attacks in this area. There are also a lot of pictures, and original newspapers of that period. In the Plastico in the middle of the entrance are showed two soldiers, a German and a Canadian, rapresenting the hundreds of young people fighting here and dying in this area.
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Dr. Anna Maria Priora Ph.D
WW2 Monte Cassino Battlefield expert, researcher and tour guide