Euro 2006



28 July 2006

Click on the pics for a full screen version if you want to have closer look


Monte Cassino?

To most South Africans it's the name of a hideously kitsch Cassino complex
in rampantly overdeveloping Fourways in north west Gauteng
the sort of development that make me ashamed to be a Joburger.

It was whilst driving up north in Italy last year that we saw the sign to Cassino
it jarred the memory of classic b&w film on WWII battle that I saw some time ago
back home I picked up Matthew Parker's book "Monte Cassio" (Headline Books, 2004)

This really educates one of the scale of this horrific battle
when the Allies started moving up Italy in 1943, the Germans dug in here
and used the strategic location to their advantage
Allies troops were slaughtered in four epic battles
before the Germans finally capitulated
and moved up the next defensive line.

Conditions were much like The Great War
trench warfare in wretched conditions
troops being sent en-mass to certain death
by Generals who cared little for human attrition rates
even less for the psychological post-trauma casualties

The Allies threw everything the had
after theAmericans and the Brits go slaughtered
then came Kiwis and Canadians
the Indians and the Gurkhas
the French and the Moroccans
the South Africans, the Poles

A day trip from Rome on scorching hot day
just to see the lay of the land
and pay some respect to those who fell so mercilessly.

In the 'Horrors of War" ratings
this is definitely up there is a big five.















The rebuilt Monastery still dominates the landscape















The original 1300 year old Benedictine Monastery
was destroyed by the Allies in a massive raids
since they believed it would break the hold that the Germans had
Truth is it didn't change much and the Germans weren't even in it
the destruction of the historic Monastery was tragic.




























The Polish troops were the ones who eventually victorious
and the Polish Cemetery is one of many in the area



















After the battle there was nothing left of the ancient town of Cassino









































The Wikipedia entry on the Battle of Monte Cassino






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Pics © Bruce Gillespie 2006