It became clear that the attack had failed and on 18 February Dimoline and Freyberg called off the attacks on Monastery Hill. Whilst the task of crossing the river would be easier in that the Rapido upstream of Cassino was fordable, the flooding made movement on the approaches each side very difficult. Once again the fighting was brutal, but no progress was made and casualties heavy. [by whom?] March 2020 At the height of the battle in the first days of February von Senger und Etterlin had moved the 90th Division from the Garigliano front to north of Cassino and had been so alarmed at the rate of attrition, he had "...mustered all the weight of my authority to request that the Battle of Cassino should be broken off and that we should occupy a quite new line. The route to Rome from the east using Route 5 was thus excluded as a viable option leaving the routes from Naples to Rome, highways 6 and 7, as the only possibilities; Highway 7 (the old Roman Appian Way) followed along the west coast but south of Rome ran into the Pontine Marshes, which the Germans had flooded. [82] The first trucks, carrying paintings by Italian old masters, were ready to go less than a week from the day Becker and Schlegel independently first came to Monte Cassino. Later, an imposing Polish cemetery was laid out; this is prominently visible to anybody surveying the area from the restored monastery. Lying in a protected historic zone, it had been left unoccupied by the Germans, although they manned some positions set into the steep slopes below the abbey's walls. A single armoured division, the 26th Panzer, was in transit from north of the Italian capital of Rome where it had been held anticipating the non-existent seaborne landing the Allies had faked and so was unavailable to fight. The original estimates that Rome would fall by October 1943 proved far too optimistic. But now the fighting has swept closer and closer to its sacred precincts. Polish II Corps lost 281 officers and 3,503 other ranks in assaults on Oberst Ludwig Heilmann's 4th Parachute Regiment, until the attacks were called off. Smashed by bombing it was a jagged heap of broken masonry and debris open to effective fire from guns, mortars and strafing planes as well as being a death trap if bombed again. The Battle of Monte Cassino was fought January 17 to May 18, 1944, during World War II and saw the Allies win after four bloody engagements. The intention was to take a perimeter that would allow engineers to build a causeway for armoured support. Once again the two regiments attacked but with no more success against the well dug-in 15th Panzergrenadier Division: the 143rd Infantry Regiment got the equivalent of two battalions across, but, once again, there was no armoured support and they were devastated when daylight came the next day. In early February the U.S. Thirty-fourth Infantry Division failed to capture the western anchor of the Gustav Line, and one of the holiest shrines of Roman Catholicism, the abbey of Monte Cassino. [7] Following this Allied victory, the German Senger Line collapsed on 25 May. [84] The task was completed in the first days of November 1943. "[36] Clark and Gruenther refused to be on the scene and stayed at their headquarters. The French Corps had captured Monte Maio and were now in a position to give material flank assistance to the Eighth Army in the Liri valley against whom Kesselring had thrown every available reserve in order to buy time to switch to his second prepared defensive position, the Hitler Line, some 8 miles (13 km) to the rear. General Juin was convinced that Cassino could be bypassed and the German defences unhinged by this northerly route but his request for reserves to maintain the momentum of his advance was refused and the one available reserve regiment (from 36th Division) was sent to reinforce 34th Division. The German positions on Point 593 above and behind the monastery were untouched.[37]. The assault failed, with the company sustaining 50 per cent casualties. With U.S. VI Corps under heavy threat at Anzio, Freyberg was under equal pressure to launch a relieving action at Cassino. [24] The commander in chief of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker accompanied by Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers (deputy to General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, the Supreme Allied Commander of the Mediterranean Theater) personally observed during a fly-over "a radio mast [...] German uniforms hanging on a clothesline in the abbey courtyard; [and] machine gun emplacements 50 yards (46 m) from the abbey walls. For the thousands of Allied soldiers who had fought and suffered for so long in the shadow of the abbey of Monte Cassino, Tuesday morning, February 15, 1944, was a time of joy and celebration. The deception was successful. The capture of Monte Cassino resulted in … The Commonwealth War Graves cemetery on the western outskirts of Cassino is a burial place of British, New Zealand, Canadian, Indian, Gurkha, Australian and South African casualties. The next 48 hours on the French front were decisive. [61] Within an hour and a half the attack was in motion in all four sectors. 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