The German Side of Cassino and Monte Cassino in pictures – PART 2

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The Abbey of Cassino after being bombed
The Abbey of Cassino after being bombed

In this second part we will be looking at the German side of the battles 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.

Click here for Part 1, the battle for Cassino.

All pictures, unless stated otherwise, come from the Bundesarchiv / wikimedia:

The Abbey – Saving the treasures

Abbot of Montecassino Abbey (left, with Pectoral Cross) supervises the packing of artworks from the Abbey about to be transferred to more secure places. The transfer was organized by the German Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Julius Schlegel (a roman catholic from Wien), Division "Hermann Göring" (right, in field uniform).
Abbot of Montecassino Abbey (left, with Pectoral Cross) supervises the packing of artworks from the Abbey about to be transferred to more secure places. The transfer was organized by the German Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Julius Schlegel (a roman catholic from Wien), Division “Hermann Göring” (right, in field uniform).
Montecassino Abbey, Italy, 1943. Bishop Gregorio Vito Diamare, Abbot of Montecassino Abbey looks at a map during the packing of artworks from the Abbey about to be transferred to more secure places. The transfer was organized by the German Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Julius Schlegel (a roman catholic from Wien), Division "Hermann Göring" (background, in field uniform).
Bishop Gregorio Vito Diamare, Abbot of Montecassino Abbey looks at a map during the packing of artworks from the Abbey about to be transferred to more secure places. The transfer was organized by the German Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Julius Schlegel (a roman catholic from Wien), Division “Hermann Göring” (background, in field uniform).
An Italian priest is helped into a car during the evacuation of the Abbey. On the right with his hand on the car door is General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin with a Ritterkreuz.
An Italian priest is helped into a car during the evacuation of the Abbey. On the right with his hand on the car door is General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin with a Ritterkreuz.
Works of art are being loaded into waiting trucks by soldiers of the Hermann Goring division.
Works of art are being loaded into waiting trucks by soldiers of the Hermann Goring division.
Division Hermann Göring troops are loading art treasures from the abbey into trucks.
Division Hermann Göring troops are loading art treasures from the abbey into trucks.
A German Soldier showing one of the artifacts being evacuated from the Abbey.
A German Soldier showing one of the artifacts being evacuated from the Abbey.

The Abbey – Destruction and Ruin

A B-17 Flying Fortress over Monte Cassino, 15 February 1944
A B-17 Flying Fortress over Monte Cassino, 15 February 1944
The abbey under attack
The abbey under attack
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83 American bombers dropped their loads on the Abbey on February 15th. The bombing of the Abbey has remained a controversy as it is not clear if the Germans had occupied the Abbey.
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A destroyed part of the Abbey, first by Allied bombs and the by artillery fire the abbey was reduced to rubble. Note the word PAX on the walls, Latin for Peace.
In the destroyed abbey a German soldier stands guard over nomansland.
In the destroyed abbey a German soldier stands guard over nomansland.
A German mortar crew, photo presumed taken in the ruins of the Abbey
A German mortar crew, photo presumed taken in the ruins of the Abbey

The End

German troops captured by the New Zealanders at Cassino being held beside a Sherman tank.
German troops captured by the New Zealanders at Cassino being held beside a Sherman tank.
The_ruins_of_Cassino,_May_1944-_a_wrecked_Sherman_tank_and_Bailey_bridge_in_the_foreground,_with_Monastery_Ridge_and_Castle_Hill_in_the_background._TR1799
A knocked out Sherman tank by a Bailey bridge in the foreground with Monastery Ridge and Castle Hill in the background shortly after capture
A Polish bugler plays the Hejnał mariacki, announcing the victory
A Polish bugler plays the Hejnał mariacki, announcing the victory
East-Surrey-Regiment-in-the-ruins-of-Monte-Cassino
East Surrey Regiment in the ruins of Monte Cassino

 

Empty charge cases at Cassino show the intensity of shellfire, March 1944.
Empty charge cases at Cassino show the intensity of shellfire, March 1944.