January 17, 2019 @ 11:30AM — 12:00PM
A special 75th anniversary ceremony to mark one of the longest and bloodiest engagements of the Italian campaign during World War II.
On Thursday, January 17th at 11:30 a.m., the Friends of the National World War II Memorial will hold a brief ceremony and wreath presentation to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino, a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the "Winter Line" in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II.
The 123-day Battle of Monte Cassino, from January 17 – May 18, 1944, was one of the longest and bloodiest engagements of the Italian campaign as the Allies aimed to breakthrough to Rome.
At the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans holding the Rapido-Gari, Liri and Garigliano valleys and some of the surrounding peaks and ridges. Together, these features formed the Gustav Line. Monte Cassino, a historic hilltop Roman Catholic abbey, dominated the nearby town of Cassino and the entrances to the Liri and Rapido valleys. Lying in a protected historic zone, it had been left unoccupied by the Germans, although they manned some positions set into the steep slopes below the abbey's walls.
Repeated pinpoint artillery attacks on Allied assault troops caused their leaders to conclude the abbey was being used by the Germans as an observation post. Fears escalated along with casualties and the abbey was marked for destruction.
Between January 17th and May 18th, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were assaulted four times by Allied troops, the last involving twenty divisions attacking along a twenty-mile front. The German defenders were finally driven from their positions and the Gustav Line finally collapsed when the Second Polish Corps succeeded in capturing the abbey.
But, the cost was high. The capture of Monte Cassino resulted in 55,000 Allied casualties.
During the January 17th ceremony at the World War II Memorial, WWII veterans and representatives our our Allied Nations will present wreaths at the Atlantic Arch of the Memorial in honor of the 240,000 Allies who served and in remembrance of the 55,000 Allies killed or wounded during the Battle of Monte Cassino.
If you are a World War II veteran, or know of one, who would like to participate in the
Battle of Monte Cassino 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the Memorial,
please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
We hope you'll join us on January 17th at the WWII Memorial!
The Friends of the National World War II Memorial's WWII 75th Anniversary Commemoration is generously sponsored by AT&T.
Generous support has also been provided by the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation and Worthington Industries.
You can support us by making a donation!
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