The struggle to capture Monte Cassino, the impregnable heights barring the Allied advance on Rome in 1944, was the longest land battle fought in Western Europe in World War II and among the most costly; in four separate assaults over the course of the grim six-month epic over 105,000 men from the Allied armies and at least 80,000 Germans became casualties and, between the attacks, the armies of both sides endured conditions of appalling privation. To fight at Monte Cassino was to participate in a grim epic that can be compared only to such modern Armageddons as Verdun, Passchendaele, Iwo Jima and Stalingrad. Cassino was the most important battle of the Italian campaign and the culmination of the long struggle between Churchill and Roosevelt as to whether the assault on Europe should be launched through Italy or France. The fact that the Germans were able to hold the Allied armies south of Rome for those vital six months ensured that the Italian campaign would never be decisive. The course of the battle, on the Allied side, was all too often dictated by disagreements and misunderstandings between the commanders of the various national contingents - uniquely, the Allied forces at Cassino included divisions from seven countries: America, Britain, Canada, France, India, Poland and New Zealand - and in John Ellis' classic account of the battle few of the Allied commanders (except for the Free French General Juin) emerge with credit. But the author has nothing but admiration and compassion for the courage and endurance of the common soldiers whose experiences he vividly recreates in the pages of this narrative.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.