The battle of Monte Cassino and dreams of white plume

The battle of Monte Cassino and dreams of white plume

Lieutenant General Vladislav Anders


Vigorously opened in September 1943, the Italian front, after fleeting victories, came across an obstacle built on two lines of defense: the Gustav line and the Hitler line - fortified areas created under the able guidance of Field Marshal Albert Kesselring. The main strategic goal of the Allies was the capture of Rome, but the direct road to the Eternal City was blocked by strong German positions with the ancient Benedictine Abbey dominating them on Monte Cassino. Commander of the 15th Army Group, gene. Harold Alexander, decided to take it in the forehead, although the commander of the French Expeditionary Force, gene. Alphonse Jun, suggested flanking enemy positions from the flank, through the Aurunchi massif.

After three unsuccessful bloody assaults of Monte Cassino by the forces of the American II Corps and the New Zealand II Corps and the failure of the auxiliary landing operation under Anzio gene. Oliver Liz, commander of the British 8th Army, whose operational subordination was II Polish Corps, suggested the gene. Vladislav Anders to carry out the fourth assault on the abbey. General Anders made this fraught decision without agreement with his supreme commander, gene. Casimir Sosnkovsky. Later, he explained his behavior by the desire to resist Soviet propaganda, which, due to the aggravation of relations, spread the assertion that after leaving the Soviet Union, the Poles did not want to fight the Germans; he also believed that victory will give courage to the resistance movement in Poland and will glorify Polish weapon.

However, the gene. Sosnkovsky was horrified, especially from the plan to attack directly in the forehead the well-fortified German position, which the British staff planned with criminal neglect of the fundamental principles of military art. This led to a dramatic skirmish between two Polish generals. Sosnkovsky was at that time the most experienced Polish senior officer, and Anders, before the war the commander of the cavalry brigade, had practically no operational experience.

Historians rarely happen to verify the circumstances of such dramatic events by comparing opposing opinions. In this case, however, both opponents left notes about the conflict on the pages of their memoirs. Gene. Anders limited himself to a few general phrases, reducing the argument to differences in tactical issues. He wrote that, in the opinion of the supreme commander, despite the huge losses, Monte Cassino will not be taken. Sosnkovsky is the same as the gene. Jun, saw the possibility of success in flanking the enemy on the left.

Gene. Sosnkovsky was not so mysterious. In his memoirs, he accused the commander of the II Corps of pursuing his personal ambitions:

It is true that I said to General Anders the words he quoted as saying “you dream of a white plume”. But I told him much more: first of all, I stated that I consider his arbitrariness a violation of military discipline, and very dangerous and harmful in exile; I further told him that to control Polish blood in a difficult political struggle for the future and the rights of our people is the business of the highest authorities of the Commonwealth and that ignoring these bodies for the sake of foreign political forces allows the latter to win private ambitions in the name of their own interests, which may after all, to go against our own national interests, as the Tehran conference and Churchill’s speech in the parliament of February 22 proved.

Although under normal conditions for such behavior, the corps commander should be removed from office, gene. Sosnkovsky did not go on disciplinary sanctions knowing that such a scandal would only provoke contention in the Polish camp and unpredictable consequences in international relations. Worse, it was too late to change the decision itself, all the more so since the gene had become impudent from impunity. Anders openly sided with the generals Alexander and Lisa.


General Kazimir Sosnkovsky

So, the poorly planned Polish offensive began on May 12, 1944. After six days of stubborn battles with replenished parts of the Alpine riflemen, the selected 1st Parachute Division (Gen. Leyt. Richard Heidrich), which won and failed to defeat, patrols 12 The ulan regiment was finally occupied by the ruins of the abbey. They occupied, but did not, because the Germans had left them the day before.

The heroism of soldiers fighting in difficult conditions with an experienced and well-trained opponent is not in doubt. However, the question of the professional level of command is open. Major Ludwik Domogne, commander of the 18th battalion of the 5th Infantry Division, assessed the course of the battle briefly but critically, emphasizing the lack of coordination of operations as a result of inept command at all levels, especially at the corps level: The only supreme commander who (...) knew what was happening on the battlefield and led the battle, there was a deputy commander of the 5th Armored Infantry Division, Colonel Clemens Rudnitsky. The conclusion of his conclusions is derogatory: the battle for Monte Cassino was won by our heroic soldier to the level of battalion commander, and that’s the point.


Polish soldiers are fighting for Monte Cassino

Contrary to the legend that arose in the West with considerable help from the gene. Anders, who did not disdain even the falsification of documents, the efforts of the II Corps did not play a decisive role in the battle for Rome. The Germans' departure from Monte Cassino was predetermined not by a bloody, but useless attack on the forehead, but by a regular evasion of their defensive positions by a gene corps. Jun, who was ultimately given freedom of action. Anders' thesis that the sacrifice of his soldiers will have political significance, attracting the attention of world public opinion to the Polish question, has not been confirmed either. The media honored Polish soldiers for only a few days. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill barely gave them a mean line in his memoirs: They were very distinguished in this first major battle in Italy.. There remained soldierly (but not generalist) glory, but outside of Poland only military historians remember it.

As a result, the victim of Corps II on Monte Cassino served only what Sosnkovsky was so afraid of: strengthening political influence and the false legend of his commander.

Used sources:

Wł. An Army in Exile: The Story of the Second Polish Corps. Macmillan, 1949.
K. Sosnkowski, Materiały historyczne. Gryf Publications, 1966.
L. Domoń, Ocena udziału polskiego w bitwie o Monte Cassino, In: Wojskowy przegla̜d historyczny, Volume 34, Issues 1-2. Wojskowy Instytut Historyczny, 1989.
U.S. Churchill. The Second World War. Military Publishing House, 1991.
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  1. bessmertniy 23 February 2020 06: 08 New
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    The British command demanded victims from the Poles. lol This is in the spirit of the Anglo-Saxons, who always did not give a damn about how many Slavs would die because of them. negative
    1. Host Tavern 23 February 2020 08: 00 New
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      Happy holiday men! bully
    2. antivirus 23 February 2020 11: 27 New
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      But the “FRENCH” cat left the flank ---- were Arays from the fr colonies?
      Expeditionary building in pampas.
      THE BLOOD SHOULD BE SILLED MUCH MORE THAN THE Poles — THERE WOULD BE PAY FOR YOUR IMAGE POLAND. without the Bolsheviks.
      Anders wept (spilled the blood of the Poles) only on the coalition government. cat IVS kicked out in the late 40s.
      "but freedom is not achieved by silver ..."
      1. 16329 25 February 2020 01: 56 New
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        Moroccans from the specified French corps are still remembered in those places, according to the local population, they noted mass rape of everything that moved and breathed, while showing particular interest in Italian youths
    3. bubalik 23 February 2020 16: 12 New
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      The British command demanded victims from the Poles
      ,,, the Poles were used at the final stage, the allies laid more than 50 thousand people in this operation, not counting the Indians and Gurkhas.
  2. bionik 23 February 2020 06: 14 New
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    Monte Cassino Before and After.

  3. mr.ZinGer 23 February 2020 07: 13 New
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    About that Ivan Ivanovich quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich.
    One of the key battles in Italy, the author reduced the conflict of two generals.
    1. Lamata 23 February 2020 07: 38 New
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      why is it key?
      1. mr.ZinGer 23 February 2020 07: 43 New
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        Gustav's line was broken and Rome was busy.
    2. Former naval person 23 February 2020 14: 30 New
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      so write an article reflecting your vision. weak?
      1. mr.ZinGer 23 February 2020 14: 37 New
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        This is what, like an artist, everyone can offend. If you do not write articles, then sit and be silent.
        I understand the author’s resentment, but you would more reasonably express your disagreement with my assessment.
        1. Former naval person 23 February 2020 14: 45 New
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          What I had in mind is what I wrote. Everyone understands to the extent of their education. (c) Vladimir Vysotsky
  4. Slavutich 23 February 2020 07: 31 New
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    The generals' ambitions have existed at all times, but among Poles this trait has been reduced to absurdity: I recall the hussars who died at the crossing, in front of Napoleon, about which L.N. Tolstoy.
    1. mr.ZinGer 23 February 2020 07: 41 New
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      In the Russian language, the Polish word fanaberia, arrogance, arrogance, has taken root.
  5. Lamata 23 February 2020 07: 39 New
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    The ambitions of one general Pshek and a lot of lives of Polish salvages.
  6. Snail N9 23 February 2020 07: 49 New
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    The Battle of Monte Cassino is much more fully covered in interesting, documentary investigative films: "Battle Fields. Battle of Monte Cassino" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaYIu48y87w
    and "The Echo of War. / Italy. The Battle of Monte Cassino" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dRQXCppV2k
  7. andrewkor 23 February 2020 07: 49 New
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    From the Anders army in Tashkent there was an unfinished church to the very Mustallik (Independence) of Uzbekistan.
    A commemorative sign (stone) with the corresponding inscription is installed.
    The cathedral was restored in 1992-2000 and is operating. A bright sight of Tashkent. He visited it at music concerts.
    1. Former naval person 23 February 2020 14: 34 New
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      and what does it have to do with it?
  8. Nikolai Miracles 23 February 2020 08: 39 New
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    Swedish Sabaton "Union"
  9. Olddetractor 23 February 2020 10: 33 New
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    Remember only the tops
    yes blooming poppies
    what's on Monte Cassino
    it was the poles
    1. Alf
      Alf 23 February 2020 19: 58 New
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      Quote: Olddetractor
      Remember only the tops
      yes blooming poppies
      what's on Monte Cassino
      it was the poles

      Scarlet Poppies Monte Cassino
      Instead of water they drank Polish blood.
  10. Constanty 23 February 2020 10: 36 New
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    Both “debuts” of the Polish troops - both described in Monte Cassino and October 12, 1943 in Lenino, turned out to be very bloody. May the earth rest in peace for fallen soldiers.
    1. Former naval person 23 February 2020 14: 37 New
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      in absolute numbers, under Lenin, losses were half that of Monte Cassino, and one third less killed.
      1. Constanty 23 February 2020 15: 10 New
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        During the hostilities in Lenino, 1DP suffered heavy losses - 510 killed, 1776 wounded and 776 were taken prisoner or missing, then there are about 25% of all soldiers

        Monte Cassino killed 923 soldiers, 2931 were injured and 345 were found missing, of which 251 returned to the troops after the fighting.
        1. Former naval person 23 February 2020 15: 53 New
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          interesting arithmetic among the liberals: 510 more than 923, 1776 more than 2931 ... Jenmin is stupid. and over 1,000 soldiers were buried in the Polish cemetery in Cassino many wounded also died after the battle.
          1. Constanty 23 February 2020 16: 11 New
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            Where i wrote that
            510 more than 923, 1776 more than 2931 ...
            ?
            I wrote that both “debuts” of the Polish troops were very bloody. And it is true
            I could rather say that
            in absolute numbers, under Lenin, losses were half that of Monte Cassino, and one third less killed.
            not true

            in absolute numbers, under Lenino 3062, Monte Cassino 3948.
            Given the fact that the former relate to the losses of the division, and the latter to the entire corps, Lenino was relatively bloody.
            And there and there they died fighting for Poland
            1. Former naval person 23 February 2020 16: 51 New
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              and yet yes, liberal arithmetic differs from normal in that it is disingenuous even when you can refer to sources.
              Firstly, on Monte Cassino, the total losses amounted to 4,199 people.
              secondly, 1072 soldiers were buried in the Polish cemetery in Kassino the wounded also died after the battle.
              thirdly, one infantry division, formed by the states of the Soviet guard infantry division, and one tank regiment fought under Lenin; even the machine gunners of the commandant company went into battle; artillery support and rear provided by Soviet troops.
              On Monte Cassino, two divisions fought, formed by the states of the British light infantry division, from the army corps, which had an artillery group and various other services that did not take direct part in the battle. so either take off your panties, pan constants, or put on a cross - or we take into account losses from the total composition of 1 Polish army (four divisions, a tank brigade, artillery brigade) and then the Polish losses under Lenin should be considered less than 25%, or we only take into account parts involved in the battles and then the Polish losses at Monte Cassino - suddenly (?) - account for 28% of the personnel, including 100% of sappers.
              the only thing you see, Kostya, is that even for such superficial analytics you need knowledge of the issue, not retelling of Wikipedia with an emphasis on emotional pitfalls.
              1. Constanty 23 February 2020 17: 41 New
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                The number of people buried in the Monte Cassino cemetery (1054 or 1072) does not necessarily indicate the death toll in this battle. After the battle there were also buried those who were killed later, as well as those who died after the war, such as General Anders, General Duch.

                1 Polish army (four divisions, a tank brigade, artillery brigade) and then the Polish losses under Lenin should be considered less than 25%, or we take into account only the parts involved in the battles and then the Polish losses at Monte Cassino - suddenly (?) - make up 28% of personnel, including 100% sappers

                The 1st Polish army in the USSR, which you indicated, was created six months after the battle of Lenin, it could not participate in it or "participate in losses"

                First of all, I do not see anything to argue. For me, the anniversary of the battle of Lenin was a celebration of the Polish army since childhood (and remains so), in the battle of Monte Cassino my brother, the tank driver, was wounded and awarded the order of my grandfather.
                Both of these battles are symbolic and important for Poland. Both have many myths.
                1. Former naval person 23 February 2020 19: 50 New
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                  1. Ballot boxes with the ashes and spirit ashes were transported after, after a special will of those interested, and as a sign of special honor. Anders is generally buried separately and is not listed among the victims of the battle in the archives of the memorial. just like his second wife buried with him.
                  2. 1 Polish army was in the process of formation. 1 division and 1 tank regiment were allocated from it for fighting on the western front - it is usually believed that for reasons of ideology and diplomacy, but this was also a practical component: 1 division was to serve as a forge of personnel for the rest of the Polish units
                  3. since you started using military history in the information war, but get the answer and don’t whine again that the Russians are not fighting according to the rules
                  1. Constanty 23 February 2020 20: 02 New
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                    Ad.2) Which does not mean that 1DP losses under Lenin should be counted against the state of the army, as you wrote
                    (four divisions, a tank brigade, artillery brigade) and then the Polish losses under Lenin should be considered less than 25%,
                    - It's buulshit.
                    Ad.3 Besides obvious nonsense, and not me, you are participating in an information war
                    with Poland - how does what you wrote should prove that the Russians are fighting according to the rules?
                    Nothing - especially since I didn’t write anything about how Russians are fighting - I wrote about the Poles under Lenin and Monte Cassino
                    1. Former naval person 23 February 2020 20: 16 New
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                      1. please do not poke me. the rules of decency, they are the rules on the Internet.
                      2. I personally think that it is necessary to take into account the loss of personnel of the units directly involved in the fighting, which gives 25% for Lenin and 28% for Monte Cassino.
                      3. only here the losses on Monte Cassino are correct, and under Lenin - wrong and the myths that you mentioned are aimed at the exaltation of the former and the belittling of the latter.
                      4. I considered and consider it wrong to divide the soldiers shedding their blood for their country into good and bad, but since you were poked with a nose into a well-known substance, is it not more correct to think about why you began to divide the Poles into good and bad?
                      after all, it is known that the Poles are not divided into kresovyh and the rest, but only smart and stupid. you do not know how to think prospectively.
                      1. Constanty 23 February 2020 20: 21 New
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                        Ad1.)
                        Sorry for that - I use a translator, and although I write "Pan" it comes out, how does it come out. In fact, disrespect - sorry
                        2) in the case of Lenino, this path is incorrect, because there were no other Polish troops there, and under Cassino even cooks were thrown until the last attacks.

                        Ad. 3 and 4 - I do not agree. For me they both fought for Poland - I don’t think
                        and I never thought that the Poles from Lenin were worse !!! I have respect and memory for these victims
                2. Former naval person 23 February 2020 20: 05 New
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                  for, I completely forgot - the Poles who died not at the Monte Cassino are not buried in the Cassino, but at the Polish cemetery in Naples.
                  1. Constanty 23 February 2020 20: 11 New
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                    List of people buried in the cemetery of Monte Cassino:
                    http://cmpi.fondazionemm2c.org/pl/pochowani-na-monte-cassino/carts/1.html

                    Already 3rd position: Adamczyk Stefan Monte Cassino strzelec 5 Batalion Strzelców
                    15.08.1916/XNUMX/XNUMX Baranów pow. Stopnica woj. Kieleckie date of death 03.03.1944 2-a 9

                    shows (this is just an example) that not only the victims of the battles for the monastery are buried here

                    ... Andrzejewski Władysław, Aungur Stanisław ... and this can be exchanged ...
  11. mmaxx 23 February 2020 10: 45 New
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    Let this "glorious" Polish army fight at least somewhere. Italy's climate is in every way better than the USSR. And 1944 is all better than 1941.
    I would also launch them in the most heroic alteration on the site of the British command. They provoked a war and then sat back in the rear to a victorious end.
    1. Alf
      Alf 23 February 2020 20: 01 New
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      Quote: mmaxx
      Provoked a war

      It was not the Poles who provoked the war, but the gentlemen from the Tin Islands, although the Psheks also rang strongly.
  12. Operator 23 February 2020 13: 26 New
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    The corps formed by the Poles under the command of Anders was only the 2nd infantry corps in the state of the British army operating in Italy. Therefore, General Sosnkovsky was just not tailing the mare’s tail to the British leadership for corps status.

    In general, the Poles under the command of Anders to Monte Cassino heroically sat in the rear of the Allies from the very moment of deserting from the Eastern Front in 1942.