Monte Cassino War Cemetery - History and Facts | History Hit

Monte Cassino War Cemetery

Cassino, Lazio, Italy

Monte Cassino War Cemetery is the biggest British and Commonwealth war cemetery from WW2 in Italy.

About Monte Cassino War Cemetery

The Monte Cassino War Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers who died during the Italian Campaign in World War Two. Also on the site stands a memorial to those soldiers whose graves are not known.

Monte Cassino War Cemetery history

The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle for Rome) was a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome.

The Allies landed in the Italian mainland on 9 September 1943, coinciding with the surrender of the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Allied objectives were to draw German troops from the Russian front and more particularly from France, where the Normandy offensive was planned for the following year. The Allies were to push northward on two fronts.

On the Western front, the US 5th Army moved northward from Naples while the British 8th Army, advanced up the Adriatic Coast. The invasion progressed rapidly through southern Italy despite stiff resistance, but, by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the Garigiliano and Rapido rivers on the west and on the Sangro river on the east side of the Italian peninsula.

On the eastern sector in Ortona and Orsagna the Canadians and New Zealanders suffered terrible casualties and the line stalled from December 1943. On the western side of the Gustav line, the German Army decided to hold their ground at the town of Cassino, in front of the Monastery. Hence, four battles for Monte Cassino raged from the 12 January 1944 until the final occupation on 18 May 1944. The US 5th Army’s quartermaster had assembled 600,000 shells for the operation.

The Allied commanders proposed to commence the engagement by breaching the German front at the foot of Monte Cassino with the largest concentration of artillery and air power ever employed in the Italian campaign.

Monte Cassino War Cemetery today

Today the Monte Cassino War Cemetery and Memorial remembers the British and Commonwealth servicemen who died in this costly battle.

Getting to Monte Cassino War Cemetery

Monte Cassino War Cemetery lies in the Commune of Cassino, Province of Frosinone, 139 kilometres south-east of Rome. If travelling by car, take the autostrada A1 from Rome to Naples and leave it at the Cassino exit. Take the roundabout and take the third exit and follow the road signs to Cassino. On this road you will find the first of six clearly visible signposts to the cemetery and memorial.

The cemetery is located approximately 1 kilometre from the railway station in Via Sant Angelo and visitors arriving by train are advised to take a taxi from the station.