The German Side of Cassino and Monte Cassino in pictures – PART 1

The crew of a Mark V "Panther" tank, presumed in the town of Cassino.

The crew of a Mark V "Panther" tank, presumed in the town of Cassino.
The crew of a Mark V “Panther” tank, presumed in the town of Cassino.

We will be looking at the German side of the battles for Cassino and the abbey on top of Monte Cassino in an amazing collection of German War Photographer images relating to this epic battle.

In February and March of 1944 a bitter fight took place to take the town of Cassino and the abbey at the top of the mountain. Only after the allies launched yet another major offensive on May 22nd 1944 was the abbey taken and the German Front pierced. The road to Rome was finally open and the city fell on June 5th, one day before the allied invasion of Normandy.

All pictures come from the Bundesarchiv / wikimedia:

The Commanders / Prelude to the battle

The commander of Paratrooper regiment 3,  Oberst Sebastian Ludwig Heilmann (left).  On his right Generalmajor Richard Heidrich commanding the 1st Paratrooper division.
The commander of Paratrooper regiment 3, Oberst Sebastian Ludwig Heilmann (left). On his right Generalmajor Richard Heidrich commanding the 1st Paratrooper division. They are in charge of defending the town and abbey.
Fieldmarshal Albert Kesselring visits the front at Cassino and talks to an artillery officer who is in charge of providing indirect fire.
Fieldmarshal Albert Kesselring visits the front at Cassino and talks to an artillery officer who is in charge of providing indirect fire.
A German paratrooper overlooking the valley of Cassino.
A German paratrooper overlooking the valley of Cassino.
A paratrooper looking at the battlefield through a periscope.
A paratrooper looking at the battlefield through a periscope.
German and Italian troops pose in front of a Sturmgeschütz (tank) in the not yet destroyed town of Cassino.
German and Italian troops pose in front of a Sturmgeschütz (self propelled gun) in the not yet destroyed town of Cassino.
Near Cassino, a crew of a camouflaged Mark V "Panther" tank load ammunition.
Near Cassino, a crew of a camouflaged Mark V “Panther” tank load ammunition.
German and Italian soldiers are fed out of the back of a lorry.
German and Italian soldiers are fed out of the back of a lorry.
German and Italian soldiers talking in a wood near Cassino
German and Italian soldiers talking in a wood near Cassino
The same soldiers as above in a different picture.
The same soldiers as above in a different picture.

The town of Cassino

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Destroyed buildings in the town of Cassino.
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In the hell of Cassino, German Paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger) fight for every house, street, alley and corner.
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German Paratrooper Medics go out in the streets to retrieve wounded soldiers during a 10 minute cease fire.
German paratroopers in a destroyed building in Monte Cassino. Sitting without a hat or helmet is Hauptmann Rudolf Rennecke. On the right a   Sturmgeschütz; PK Fs. AOK
German paratroopers in a destroyed building in Monte Cassino. Sitting without a hat or helmet is Hauptmann Rudolf Rennecke. On the right a Sturmgeschütz; PK Fs. AOK
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Paratroopers in a destroyed building in the town of Cassino, Sturmgeschïtz (tank). Sitting without a hat or helmet is Hauptmann Rudolf Rennecke
German Paratroopers take cover in a building during the fighting.
German Paratroopers take cover in a building during the fighting.
A German tank recovery crew tries to get a disabled tank moving again.
A German tank recovery crew tries to get a disabled tank moving again.
A German paratrooper puts his MG-42 heavy machine gun on a mount.
A German paratrooper puts his MG-42 heavy machine gun on a mount.
German Paratroopers turn every ruin in Cassino into a fortress. Defending it with MG-42 machine guns, mortars and even tanks.
German Paratroopers turn every ruin in Cassino into a fortress. Defending it with MG-42 machine guns, mortars and even tanks.
Another picture of the same Machine Gun crew.
Another picture of the same Machine Gun crew.
German paratroopers in a basement in Cassino.
German paratroopers in a basement in Cassino.
The German caption states: "a German paratrooper has made his hole into a living-bunker.  It's cramped but warm and cosy. A far better location than being outside on the streets".
The German caption states: “a German paratrooper has made his hole into a living-bunker. It’s cramped but warm and cosy. A far better location than being outside on the streets”.
German Paratroopers with a heavy mortar.
German Paratroopers with a heavy mortar.

Continue to Part 2!