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In an attempt to distract the Germans from the battles around Anzio, on the 15th February the Allied Commanders ordered a massive offensive at Cassino, where there were several hours of indiscriminate bombardments by the US and British Air Forces. 1,150 tons of high explosives and incendiary bombs were dropped on both the town and the mountain causing widespread devastation..
The Allies launched yet another attack on Cassino and finally the Gustav Line was breached. This resulted in Montecassino being taken on 18th May, and Rome liberated from the Germans on 4 June 1944.
At Anzio, all in all, the battle had raged for a total of 125 days and had resembled the trench warfare of World War I. Many of the troops suffered from shellshock and trench foot.
The long, drawn out bloody battle for Anzio resulted in terrible loss of life of many soldiers and Italian civilians.
However the Germans ordered yet more reinforcements and on the 16th February the Germans attacked near Anzio, and due to the heavy number of casualties the Allies had no option other than to withdraw. The Germans kept up their advance, despite Allied planes being ordered to attack the Anzio area to hamper the German’s progress.
The battles on the Pontine Plain was hard and prolonged, with repeated attacks and counter attacks. However despite being unable to push further and gain territory towards Rome, the Allies held on in muddy trenches. The deadlock lasted for several months, frustratingly Rome was located just thirty miles away.
Churchill was highly critical of the stalemate, situation stating, ‘‘I had hoped we were hurling a wildcat on the shore, but all we got was a stranded whale.’’
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