The Battle of Monte Cassino was a crucial and controversial engagement in the Italian theater in World War II. It was an attempt by the Allies to break through the Gustav Line and take multiple key cities eventually leading to Rome. The battle had a cloud of controversy surrounding it when the Allies feared a 6th-century monastery and town were being used by the German defenders.[N 1] The Allies came to the decision it was necessary to bomb the ancient monastery, but it was later found that no German troops were present in the village at the time. This bombing destroyed the town and monastery and caused multiple civilian casualties. The destroyed town was to later be used as a defensive position by the Germans as the rubble provided suitable cover from bombing and artillery.
More Info: Battle of Monte Cassino order of battle
Allied Plan of Attack
Towards the end of 1943, Allied command in the Mediterranean underwent some significant changes, namely its chief commanders, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bernard Montgomery leaving for England in preparation for their critical roles to come during the Invasion of Normandy. Replacing them would be General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson as head of Allied Mediterranean operations and Sir Oliver Leese as commander of the British Eighth Army with commanders Harold Alexander for the British and Mark Clark for the Americans remaining as subordinates.
- ↑ In fact, General Albert Kesselring had assured the Vatican on 11 December 1943 that no German forces would occupy the monestary. Despite this, most of the monestary's movable treasures were taken to Rome.