New film about the Battle of Monte Cassino

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by 25pdr, Aug 7, 2012.

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  1. Directed by John Irvin
    "Haunted me" You poor dear! Must be dreadful for you.

    With an eye to the US box office.

    Wonder if due regard will be given to the Polish troops who took a large part in the operation?

    The D-Day Dodgers
    Tune: Lili Marlene
    (Just a few verses from one of several versions)

    We're the D-Day dodgers
    Here in Italy
    Drinking all the vino,
    Always on a spree.
    Eighth Army scroungers and their tanks,
    We go to war in ties like swanks.
    We are the D-Day Dodgers,
    Way out in Italy

    We landed in Salerno,
    A holiday with pay,
    The Jerries brought the band out
    To greet us on the way.
    Showed us the sights and gave us tea,
    We all sang songs, the beer was free
    To welcome D-Day Dodgers,
    To sunny Italy.

    Salerno and Cassino
    We're takin' in our stride
    We didn't go to fight there,
    We went there for the ride
    Anzio and Sanzio were just names,
    We only went to look for dames,
    The artful D-Day Dodgers,
    Out here in Italy.

    Look around the mountains
    In the mud and rain
    You'll find scattered crosses,
    Some which bear no name.
    Heart break and toil and suffering gone
    The boys beneath them slumber on,
    For they're the D-Day Dodgers,
    Who stayed in Italy.
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  2. My father, who was at Monte Cassino, used to sing this song on long car journeys - no radio in the car let alone entertainment centre. I remember a verse that referred to, I think, Lady Astor who coined the phrase "D-Day Dodgers" in a speech in Parliament.

    I believe the Poles were the first to break in. I might be wrong. There was a Polish European Voluntary Worker (EVW) in the Mess at Donnington who won the Polish equivalent of the VC at Cassino.
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  3. The decision to bomb the Abbey was wrong, only because it seems to have provided the Germans with an instant fortified defensive post.

    Sven Hassel's excellent book 'Monte Casino' covers it in detail and accuracy which Beevor can only aspire to.
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  4. The Germans weren't actually in the Abbey, and only moved in after the bombing when, as you say, an instant fortified defensive post was created. Having said that, the feature, not just the Abbey, dominated the region for miles around and my father said you couldn't move without attacting fire even miles away.
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  5. I would imagine the dominance of the feature meant the Abbey was doomed sooner or later; when I visited Vimy Ridge, which is low enough that even a Q-bloke could get to the top without raising too much of a sweat, it gave me a graphic demonstration of the advantage even a small elevation gives, something the height of Monte Cassino, well!

    I believe that the artillery devised half charges for the 25 pounder, to allow for firing from elevations that varied so much that full charges couldn't cope. They were later revived for Korea. Thank you Ian V Hogg.
  6. I'm sure that the noble, saintly, Germans would have kept out of the Abbey grounds, even though it was vital ground and the lynch-pin of their line....
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  7. :)

  8. "The adviser on the film is Dr Peter Caddick-Adams, a professional military historian and author of the recently-published Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell."

    I knew Peter C-A some years ago - he will most likely stick to the history, unless the director simply points out who is paying his wages and does want he wants anyway.

    The film tells the true story of two survivors of the battle, a wounded American soldier and the Italian nurse who cared for him.

    This means it will be romantic shite for the US market, no doubt making out that the Americans won the battle. IIRC most of the fighting around the abbey was done by British, Polish and Commonwealth troops.

    • Like Like x 2
  9. Did the Italian campaign as a battlefield tour a few years back with 4X. Very interesting and we even had access to the Polish Cemetary.
  10. My grandfather went through Dunkirk, El Alamein and the landings in Italy. He said Monte Cassino was just sheer hell. He was a very tough character but it haunted him all through his life.
    I have not read a book on the subject yet that comes near to his "selective" descriptions and suspect this film will just be a total piece of cack.
  11. I do wonder how they'll treat Gen. Mark W. Clark? He does deserve a proper celluloid kicking.
  12. Will the Brits get a decent mention in this film? And will the Germans be using T-55's with crosses painted on the sides or will they actually make the effort to be historically accurate?
  13. The German commander was Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin, a Benedictine lay brother (cassino was a Benedictine monastery). IIRC he swore that no German soldiers had set up positions in the monastery until after the bombing and was backed up by the Head Brothers testimony. He had though with some HG Div officers convinced the Vatican and Wehrmach the neccessity of evacuating the treasures of the monastery ahead of time.
  14. Is that a different Polish Cemetry to the one at the back of the hill? As that one is open all the time.
  15. I can't imagine a film about cigars being very exciting. Besides, Cohibas are nicer to smoke.