Gunners at Monte Casino

Discussion in 'Gunners' started by solo73, Jul 26, 2005.

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  1. I have been asked (!?!) to organise a Battlefield Tour to Monte Cassino and Anzio in 06. Been scouting around the net and local libraries but having trouble finding much Gunner related stuff on Monte Cassino. Have got all the normal books and some good stuff off the net but cant seem to find much on the RA contribution. Are there any decent guidebooks? Holts do D Day and Arnhem, but no-one seems to have done much in depth on Cassino. Any ideas for decent mapping of the area as well would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks in advance
  2. solo73

    I met a chap the other day, he commissioned in 1939 and served in the 8th Army, 78th Battleaxe Division, they were the lads who fought under Monty through Africa and all the way to Monthe Cassino, he was an incredibly interesting old chap, I have his contact details if you want. He was a 19 year old Zimbabwean volunteer and commissioned into the Royal Corps of Signals.... I listened for nearly 6 hours as he told me all the awesome tales (I needed a sandbag). Anyway he did mention a how the Gunners had a right go at Monet Cassino and how each night the two sides bombed the hell out of each other for 5 months....

    He is going back to Monte Cassino in Oct for the 60 year anniversary, so maybe try looking for tours going there as there is one every week I believe....

    Hope it helps...
  3. Got to visit Cassino a few years ago. Well worth a visit, don't forget to go to the commonwealth war cemetery if nothing else it serves as a good reminder that people from every corner of the empire fought and died in Italy. The Polish memorial is quite moving too as is the German cemetery.

    Just a thought, if you're doing Cassino and Anzio why not do Salerno too if you have time?

    If you're after detailed accounts and maps of the gunners part in the battles then i'd imagine the library at the firepower museum would be a good bet.
  4. The Def Att office at the Brit Embassy in Rome can be helpful, too. Another suggestion: if you are planning on doing Anzio and Monte Cassino (just over 2h drive between the two) you should consider going to the Piana delle Orme museum just outside Latina (website is - warning, the English translation is not brilliant but understandable.) The museum has three individual pavilions dedicated to Cassino, the Anzio landings and aftermath, and 1940 - 43, up to the landings at Salerno and the fall of Facism. The Salerno pavilion has the world's only Sherman DD in running order. The final element of the Cassino pavilion has a wonderful reconstruction of the sight that greeted the 12th Podulski Lancers who were the first to enter the monastery when it eventually fell.
    PM me for more details as I live in the area.
  5. Easy solution. Contact Will Townsend. He is a member of the Guild of Battlefiel Guides and Sec of the RA HS. He will know if there are canned tours yolu could plagarise.(or see if you can borrow him as a guide). hit the "Meet the members" link and see Will's details.

    OR -do the job yourself :) It really isn't that difficult and you will get more from it. Read the histories. Shelford Bidwell (an gunner) wroite the historu of the Italy Campaign. Visit Larkhill or Woolwich and look at the RA histories. From memory these can include fireplans panoramas all sorts of good stuff. Lord Carver edited a good book on the Italian cvampaign with lots of soldiers narratives. John Ellis' book on Cassino is one of the best. The RA Journal will have articles on iot somehwere.

    I went around Monte Casino myself last year. My problem was finding a decent map. (I guess you shoudl be able to get a decent 1: 50,000/25,000 map from the Italian military). If you want to run a good tour you really ought to do some kind of recce first, even if its arriving a couple of days before the tour and hiring a car.

    Or you can pay me to do some research..... ;) I am on the GBG website too.