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Excerpt: Montecassino, 1944
After the invasion of Sicily, people all over Italy felt the sudden menace of the troops and the bombs that would undoubtedly be coming their way. But Mars, whose actions are notoriously unpredictable, decreed this time that central Italy would suffer the worst. The Allied landings at Salerno, followed by the uprising of the people of Naples, occasioned a quick German withdrawal to the hastily built fortifications of the Gustav Line, which stretched from the River Sangro in the Abruzzo to southern Lazio. There it was anchored on the heights of Montecassino, a mountain that was crowned by the most famous monastery in Christendom.
When the Allies reached Montecassino, they could not count on simply getting around it. The landings at the Anzio beachhead were in a precarious state, and the Allies had to hit the Gustav Line hard to take pressure off the beleaguered troops further north. On 15 February 1944 the Americans sent B-17 Flying Fortresses to drop 287 tons of bombs on the monastery. ...click here to read the rest
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