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. 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.
A German paratrooper overlooking the valley of Cassino.
A paratrooper looking at the battlefield through a periscope.
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.
German and Italian soldiers are fed out of the back of a lorry.
German and Italian soldiers talking in a wood near Cassino
The same soldiers as above in a different picture. The town of Cassino
Destroyed buildings in the town of Cassino.
In the hell of Cassino, German Paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger) fight for every house, street, alley and corner.
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
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.
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.
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.
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”.
German Paratroopers with a heavy mortar.
Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.