Over a thousand weapons are used in the offensive against all the
known German targets on 11 May 1944, at 11.00 pm. That is the
fourth and final battle of Cassino, which leads to the break of the
Gustav line in a few days. Although the monastery is conquered by
the Polish soldiers from the 2nd Army Corps of General Wladyslaw
Anders the morning of May 18, the clashes are far from over.
The Germans are settled on the Hitler-Senger Line, few kilometers
north of Cassino. Their purpose is to screen the retreat of the bulk of
the troops. A second front is now open from Monte Cairo to the
Tyrrhenian. It covers the strongholds of Piedimonte San Germano,
Aquino, and Pontecorvo and slows down the advance on Rome. The
Germans have realized a defensive system along this track, whose
characteristics are still unknown to the Allies. It includes reinforced
concrete bunkers where automatic and anti-tank weapons are stored
and a dense network of trenches and ditches structured to block heavy
Canadian and British contingents create a breach in the Senger Line
that falls under the pressure of the Allied powers’ vehicles and men on
23 May 1944.
After the crossing of the Melfa River around Roccasecca, the last
Germans leave Mount Cairo’s slopes on 25 May 1944. It’s the end of
the battles that affected the Cassinate region for more than five
Peace breaks out without fuss in a mortified Valle del Liri, where the
smell and colors of a shy spring vegetation evoke the old beauty of the
past. Emaciated and incredulous civilians start coming out of their
shelters and welcome the liberators who, from village to village — or
in what remains of them — chase after the retreating enemies.
Nevertheless, the recovery of the population will be slow and hard due
to diseases and the many bombs that infest the lands.
The Anglo-American troops enter Rome on 4 June 1944 sanctioning
the end of the fightings in Central Italy. A year will pass before the fall
of the Reich, and the fallen will be tens of thousands.