Peter Caddick-Adams: Monte Cassino



The battles of Monte Cassino were part of the Allied march through Italy during WWII Often overshadowed by the reat invasion at Normandy these battles were both diversionary and essential in the Allied cause It is a work of meticulous preparation and research Indeed the last 30% of the book is devoted to exhaustive Footnotes Bibliography and IndexThe writing is chronological and is infused with uotations from survivors memoirs personal interviews and existing accounts It should be appreciated as a welcome addition to the small often forgotten theaters of WWII for its readability thoroughness and bibliographical content This is a must read for any history buff and especially those interested in WWIIThis was reviewed as an e book as a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review This is the second book I have read dedicated to Cassino and one of several on the combined CassinoAnzio campaign The book brings an uniue perspective to the battle by focusing on how the the various Armies were successful or not successful Of particular interest was the success of the French under Juin and the Polish Corps that finally took Monte Cassino Caddick Adams is much friendlier to British General Harold Alexander than most historians There is also a nice focus on the 8th Army s breakthrough up the Liri Valley We know that Churchill liked Alexander but the author considers him to have similar skills to Eisenhower as a diplomat Babys First Christmas (Christmas Is For Kids) (Christmas Is For Kids) (Harlequin American Romances, 754) general The author alsooes easy on American General Mark Clark s decision to take Rome and deliberately disobey orders by not cutting off the retreating German 10th Army Caddick Adams notes that there was no Ups, Kita Sudah Menikah? guarantee of trapping the 10th Army which seems to be a spurious argument for disobeying ordersInteresting FactsNearly 15000 mules were used during the campaign as they proved the only reliable means of bringing supplies up and the injured and dead down from the mountainsThe Germans would mount a revolving Panther turret called a Pantherturm to a concrete bunker in the Gustav line One killed 17 Allied tanks in 3 days the Pantherturm leader actually becoming a tank ace Because of such a lack of food in Naples it is estimated that 42000 women out of 150000 engaged in regular or part time prostitution I haven t yet read a lot of this type of history but I can t imagine there s a better example out there The author tells the story compellingly fairly and thoroughly without driving into minutiae when we needed to know which sub element of which force did what we also knew why he was telling us that This was areat look at the battles for Monte Cassino with some looks at the larger Italian campaign race for Rome with a few tidbits about Anzio for context It really is a focused look at Monte Cassino and it does a Catwoman great job at that Interestingly I found it really made me want to visit Monte Cassino and other areas associated with the campaignOther thoughts prompted by the book Americans maybe think of WW2 only in the context of Normandy and the race to Berlin HBO Band of Brothers the Italian campaign had not just Americans and British but also French North African Polish South Asian Subsaharan African Kiwi etc troops This was the first I d read in detail of their contributions Fascinating The Germans had an incredibly capable Army in Italy and werereat at implementing defensive positions and at least at first in strengthening those positions It seems we won such as we did. The five month Monte Cassino campaign in central Italy is one of the best known European land battles of World War Two alongside D Day and Stalingrad It has a particular resonance now because Cassino with its multitude of participating armies most notably the American 5th Army under the controversial General Mark Clark was perhaps the campaign of the Second World War that most closely anticipates the coalition operations of today with its ever shifting cast of players stuck in inhospitable mountainous terrain pursuing an objective set by unknowing politicians in distant capitals where victory is difficult to defineMonte Cassino was characterised by the destruction of its world famous Abbey in retrospect considered an unjustifiable act of cultural vandalism by the alliesThe audit trail of decision making to destroy an icon as well known then as the Eiffel Tower or Lincoln Memorial is a chilling reminder that similar decisions are still being made in Ira and Afghanistan and indeed Libya To this day reversing normal prejudice German troops are welcome in the abbey having rescued its treasures from allied destruction in February 1944Cassino was an unusual campaign for World War II in tha.

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E though he didn t talk about it much I know that he and his fellow soldiers were often so hungry they stole water melons from the fields and eggs from local farmers and that they were left alone for days wandering on the mountain side around Monte Cassino without instruction from the powers that be easy prey to a sniper s bullet The book doesn t dwell on the horrors though they re there in plenty It concentrates instead on facts and details and in particular the individual battles that led to the capture of Monte Cassino thus opening up the route to Rome for Allied forces It also highlights the horrendous conditions the troops suffered the constant shelling and the brutal nature of the fighting the bitter freezing cold and the wretched terrain over which the men were expected to operate It was an iconic battle but also a controversial one Baby Legacy (So Many Babies given it led to the bombing of the monastery above the town of Monte Cassino an act of war that Hitler turned into a propaganda triumphMy dad used to recount the tale of how he once sheltered from enemy fire in araveyard and that a rave nearby was hit by artillery fire As he looked up the fully dressed skeleton of an old man sailed across his head He used to laugh when he told us this but they were just young men at the time and would have to cultivate a black humour to cope with all they had to faceAll I have left of his time in the army is his commandos badge with its iconic little dagger enclosed by the words united we conuer I m lad I ve read the book and know now of exactly what he went through I wish he was still here so I could tell him how proud I am of him Peter Caddick Adams is a history of the Allied attempts to break out of the Neapolitan beachheads to penetrate the Gustav line in 1944 a wrenching and not oft told account of the Italian campaign that resulted on the one hand in the fall of Rome and on the other hand of the unnecessary destruction of Christendom s oldest and most revered monastery the Benedictine abbey that since AD 539 had sto The narrative of the battle is fine but this is a seriously lacking book For anyone Langlais correct pour les Nuls going to Cassino the only reason I slogged through it the lack of maps makes it a pooruide For any audience though the author s terrible analysis conjectures really about command decisions are unbearable Especially for an American audience Montgomery s incredible march from Calabria didn t save the Salerno landing reporters attached to Eighth Army Constantly Craving grew so frustrated at Monty slacial pace that they took off in jeeps ahead of the Eighth Army and reached the beachhead on their own The X Corps attack across the Galigiardo wasn t so successful that Clark could have reinforced it and cancelled all II Corps attacks on the Rapido And on and on Errors and faulty analysis abound This is a battle narrative not a piece of scholarship Perhaps that was my mistake not the author s but this was painful to slog through regardless Well documented as it reveals the physical hardships that often occur in times of war A richly detailed history that succeeds on many fronts mainly the one you can see in its title it puts the World in World War II describing the soldiers from many different nationalities I d read a book about the Gurkhas before but had not been so aware of the Polish effortThe description of the physical terrain and climate conditions was also essential There was also much insight into the enerals personalities and battle Of World War II There is no shortage of histories of the agonizingly drawn out debacle at Monte Cassino but this is certainly one of the best Kirkus Reviews starredCaddick Adams uses the events of the battle to tell the stories of the armies that bled out around Cassino His particular strength is his treatment of combat dynamics on both sides of the fighting line from division headuarters to foxholes This book is a learning experience for anyone interested in World War II on any level Dennis Showalter former President of the American Society for Military History and author of Tannenberg Clash of Empires 1914 Peter Caddick Adams has brought highly perceptive and much needed fresh analysis to this new account of the Cassino battles Both authoritative and compellingly written his immense knowledge and understanding of the Second World War exudes from every page It will unuestionably remain the standard text on this bloody episode of the war for many years to come James Holland author of Dam BustersPeter Caddick Adams has produced a thoughtful treatment of a crucial period of the Italian campaign It should be read by anyone with an interest in the Second World War Military History Monthl.

Only because of our overwhelming numbers and materiel not because we were the stronger or smarter force The egos of the main Allied leaders really ot in the way of success Rushing to Rome I Aryan Idols got here first possibly cost the opportunity to capture a large part of the German army in Italy Also the inability to overcome ego then meant that instead of working together we pushed against the German forces in two uncoordinated thrusts instead of one joint action the Germans relatively easily handled the divided forces I am a huge fan of Caddick Adams prose and the depth to his works Monte Cassino is no different While I knew a feweneral details about the aura surrounding the Monte Cassino battle this was the first book I had read that details the four month struggle for the position This book left me uestioning the sensibility of continuing offensive action on the Italian front after June 1944 One has to uestion the leadership of Clark Alexander and Freyberg while lauding the efforts of Juin Senger and Kesselring The German effort on the Italian front must be lauded in essence it was they who held down the Allies not the other way around For those interested in the human story of the Forgotten Front of World War Two Caddick Adams does a brilliant job of canvassing all 10 armies deployed in that Mediterranean hell This is the first book I read about anything from the Italian Campaign and only my second about the German West Front Caddick Adams explains clearly how and why the Allies came to face the Germans on the Gustav Line and why they wanted to break through at Monte Cassino The writing blends eyewitness accounts with tactical considerations from both sidesWhat he says about Alexander s reat diplomatic skills can also be applied to himself He shows all the nationalities fighting on the Cassino Front as eually brave strong resilient and human under hellish conditions Bitter cold at the beginning bare rocks having to rely on mules for transport the summer heat dust He ives credit where it is due for example the title of chapter 10 Poland the Brave Likewise he doesn t convicts Clarck s decision of pushing for Rome in stead off driving to Valmonte in the hope of trapping the escaping German Tenth ArmyCentral of course is the bombing of the Cassino Abbey and a month later the Cassino Town Caddick Adams tells of both sides of the bombing discussion He continues with the capture of the abbey and breaching the Gustav Line and the pursuit through the Liri Valley Finally reaching Rome Where other auteurs are often distracted with writing pages that read like Meanwhile at the F hrerbunker Hitler is having a heated debate with Caddick Adams stick to the topic at hand and rarely talks above division levelsCaddick Adams could have said the same as this uote from Alexander No other troops in the world but German paratroops could have stood up to such an ordeal and then Bourdieus Secret Admirer in the Caucasus gone on fighting with such ferocityAlso important for a military history books are the maps I liked that all six are right at first pages of the book These maps are as clear as I find his writingiving enough information for one who starts reading about the Italian Cassino campaign without pushing towards unneccesary details I m not in the habit of reading military books but my dad fought at the Battle of Monte Cassino so when I came across this book in my local library I thought I ought to read it I know a little about his experiences of cours. T its outcome was not reliant on sweeping movements or the use of tanks or aircraft but by old fashioned boots in the mud whether capturing the town of Cassino after months of Something in Return grinding urban warfare a Stalingrad in miniature or scrambling up the steep mountain to seize the heights and the religious complex on top of Monte CassinoMonte Cassino Abbey was painstakingly rebuilt after the war its baroue chapel remains incomplete and is now a World Heritage site An hour south of Rome it is visited each year by up to one million tourists and pilgrims from around the worldReviewsPeter Caddick Adams's exceptional Monte Cassino Ten Armies in Hell is a study in the challenges and possibilities of coalition warfareFollowing the style of Richard Holmes and Max Hastings Monte Cassino includes lucid analyses of high level operational and strategic matters as well as choice uotes from the poor bloody infantry The Wall Street JournalComprehensive and very well researched Monte Cassino Ten Armies in Hell is an important addition to our understanding of thehastly campaign for central Italy in World War II Rick Atkinson author of the Liberation Trilogy A superb account of one of the bloodiest battles.

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Peter Caddick Adams is a lecturer in military history and current defense issues at the UK Defence Academy He is the author of Monte Cassino Ten Armies in Hell and Monty and Rommel Parallel Lives He holds the rank of major in the British Territorial Army and has served with US forces in Bosnia Ira and Afghanistan