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View Poll Results: Is it really a German Tactical Victory?

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  • Yes, it is. They won by Military Victory.

    3 50.00%
  • No. The Allies won it Politically and in Military.

    3 50.00%
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Thread: Battle of Monte Cassino -a German Tactical Victory?

  1. #16
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    Default Re: Battle of Monte Cassino -a German Tactical Victory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    The Allies, or more specifically Gen. Lucas, recognized that they could have easily broken through the German defenses at the outset of the Anzio operation and attempted a sortie towards Rome. They may well have gotten much farther than the "bitchhead" ended up being, but they would have probably been cut-off and even annihilated. The Allies in fact did not "underestimate" the Heer manpower so much as they failed to anticipate the rapidity of the German reaction and that the Wehrmacht's command-and-control in Italy tended to be more efficient as Gen. Mark Clark would later admit. Nobody anticipated the German reaction, not even the commanders like Kesselring who only wanted to cut off and isolate the beachhead. It was direct orders that the Wehrmacht plan to drive the Allies into the sea, Operation Fishfang, was commenced begrudgingly and while the Allies did suffer severe losses, the Germans perhaps suffered more because they could not make good their losses whereas the Allies had almost boundless production and manpower reserves. It is claimed by some German sources that the Heer had proportionally the largest concentration of equipment per square kilometer than almost anywhere else in WWII save some battles on the Eastern Front such as Sevastopol--only to achieve a bloody Pyrrhic stalemate...

    The U.S. Army's loss of the Ranger battalions was more a case of the typical bungling of the use of special operations units in WWII and the failure to adequately understand their role and employ them than underestimating of the Heer. And it's debatable as to whether bombing the Cassino was a "war-crime," but it certainly was terrible judgment both militarily and culturally. But the overall failure of the Allies there had more to do (in the second battle) with the poor tactical planning and sheer bad luck of NZ General Freyberg (who lobbied incessantly to bomb the monastery against the wishes of many including Clark and Juin) as he merely pretty much did exactly the same things that resulted in the earlier failure of the American 36th and 34th Infantry Divisions. It also should be noted that attacking an entrenched, skilled enemy that was under the excellent leadership of Gen. Spender was always going to be extremely difficult no matter what as the Italian campaign was always going to be an afterthought to the coming Normandy Landings...
    In NZ, particularly during the late 1960's, Freyberg had become (very much against his own wishes, it is said, this info from a man who knew Freyberg personally, and had done, for years) somewhat deified.
    However, Nick, I agree completely with what you've said here.
    In a sense, one could say that Monte Cassino was one of the rare occasions in a mostly brilliant career where Freyberg was tactically defeated.

    Expressed another way: I've always seen, as I said in My earlier posts here, that Cassino was very close to being a failure on the Allied side, mainly for the reasons you've given.
    That Anzio was supposed to relieve the pressure on Cassino is not in debate, as far as I'm concerned,
    but even then, that too became a very closely run thing, again for the reasons your posting cites.
    Anzio may well be one of the few occasions in the Italian campaign wherein the German CCI was completely demonstrated as being better than that of the Allies.

    EDIT:
    One thing our discussion has not touched upon is the overwhelming presence of Allied airpower in the Italian theater.
    Expressed at its' simplest: Allied Airforces, both Tactical and Strategic, by the time of Cassino could pretty-much operate at will, anywhere, any time. The Luftwaffe could not. And did not, apart from one or two scattered occasions where a brief aerial battle occurred. Likewise, the same can be said in regard to the remnants of the Regia Aeronautica, and/or the ARSI fighter units that fought alongside the Germans.
    To the extent that the Allies did have overwhelming airpower, it has to be said that fact alone had an extreme influence on the outcome of events at Cassino, as it did in the Falaise region, for much the same reasons.


    Kind and Respectful Regards Nick, Uyraell.
    Last edited by Uyraell; 08-09-2010 at 06:44 AM. Reason: Edit added.

    "Honi-Soit Qui Mal'Y Pense." :
    "Ill unto he who ill of it thinks."
    Edward III, Rex Britania, AD1348.

    "Wenn Schon, denn schon."
    "Be It Done, Best be It Be Done Well."
    Known German adage.

    "Until you have looked into a veteran's eyes and actually seen it,
    you'll never fully understand."
    ^Uyraell^

    "Aligaes : Amore vel Ira." :
    "^Winged Ones^ : Love or Wrath."

  2. #17
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    Default Re: Battle of Monte Cassino -a German Tactical Victory?

    Germany could not have a 'tactical' victory pretty much anywhere.

    Why? Cuase the allies could always make good on their losses, but Germany, like Japan and Italy, could not.

    The Allies could trade one-to-one or even two-to-one and still replace losses.

    No, Monte Cassino was no victory for Germany, cause Germany, like the Rebels in the American Civil War, were bound to be bled to death. And as time went on the Allies got better and better generals, better and better equipment, and always more soldiers who became quite good warriors.

    Deaf
    “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality” Ayn Rand

  3. #18
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    Default Re: Battle of Monte Cassino -a German Tactical Victory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Uyraell View Post
    In NZ, particularly during the late 1960's, Freyberg had become (very much against his own wishes, it is said, this info from a man who knew Freyberg personally, and had done, for years) somewhat deified.
    However, Nick, I agree completely with what you've said here.
    In a sense, one could say that Monte Cassino was one of the rare occasions in a mostly brilliant career where Freyberg was tactically defeated.

    Expressed another way: I've always seen, as I said in My earlier posts here, that Cassino was very close to being a failure on the Allied side, mainly for the reasons you've given.
    That Anzio was supposed to relieve the pressure on Cassino is not in debate, as far as I'm concerned,
    but even then, that too became a very closely run thing, again for the reasons your posting cites.
    Anzio may well be one of the few occasions in the Italian campaign wherein the German CCI was completely demonstrated as being better than that of the Allies.


    Gen. Freyberg was the typical example of "promotion to the level of incompetence." He was said to have been a fine divisional commander, but when promoted to lead a corp, his "lack of imagination" began to show and he seemed unable to control all of the facets of battle around Monte Cassino. To be fair however, he was put in a very difficult position and may well have done better if he had more experience at a senior command level, Cassino was no place for a recently promoted beginner...

    EDIT:
    One thing our discussion has not touched upon is the overwhelming presence of Allied airpower in the Italian theater.
    Expressed at its' simplest: Allied Airforces, both Tactical and Strategic, by the time of Cassino could pretty-much operate at will, anywhere, any time. The Luftwaffe could not. And did not, apart from one or two scattered occasions where a brief aerial battle occurred. Likewise, the same can be said in regard to the remnants of the Regia Aeronautica, and/or the ARSI fighter units that fought alongside the Germans.
    To the extent that the Allies did have overwhelming airpower, it has to be said that fact alone had an extreme influence on the outcome of events at Cassino, as it did in the Falaise region, for much the same reasons.


    Kind and Respectful Regards Nick, Uyraell.
    Certainly by the beginning of 1944, the weight of Allied numbers was telling when it came to the airwar. But it should be stated that the Italian Campaign was the Luftwaffe's last hurrah in the West as a force that could impact the battle. The Luftwaffe was conducting strikes well into the Anzio siege on shipping. But yes, the Allies could eventually answer every German bomb with scores of their own.

    I would also add that the Allies had a massive advantage in artillery. One of the U.S. Army's strong suits had traditionally been its artillery arm in training and displacement. Halfway through the War, we could add the huge advantages of mass production and proximity fuses to that. By the end of Anzio, it wasn't only the numbers of tube artillery, but of the availability of ammunition resulting from production that was telling. I think the ratio was something like the Allies could fire ten shells out of the Anzio "Bitchhead" for every incoming German one towards the end...

  4. #19
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    Default Re: Battle of Monte Cassino -a German Tactical Victory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    Gen. Freyberg was the typical example of "promotion to the level of incompetence." He was said to have been a fine divisional commander, but when promoted to lead a corp, his "lack of imagination" began to show and he seemed unable to control all of the facets of battle around Monte Cassino. To be fair however, he was put in a very difficult position and may well have done better if he had more experience at a senior command level, Cassino was no place for a recently promoted beginner...



    Certainly by the beginning of 1944, the weight of Allied numbers was telling when it came to the airwar. But it should be stated that the Italian Campaign was the Luftwaffe's last hurrah in the West as a force that could impact the battle. The Luftwaffe was conducting strikes well into the Anzio siege on shipping. But yes, the Allies could eventually answer every German bomb with scores of their own.

    I would also add that the Allies had a massive advantage in artillery. One of the U.S. Army's strong suits had traditionally been its artillery arm in training and displacement. Halfway through the War, we could add the huge advantages of mass production and proximity fuses to that. By the end of Anzio, it wasn't only the numbers of tube artillery, but of the availability of ammunition resulting from production that was telling. I think the ratio was something like the Allies could fire ten shells out of the Anzio "Bitchhead" for every incoming German one towards the end...
    Regarding Freyberg: Agreed.
    The man seems to have done very well "one level below" the command level at which he found himself at Cassino.
    And yes, that he was a beginner at the level he was in, at Cassino, is near-enough the only mitigating factor which might be taken into account. Monte Cassino was most definitely not a time and place to be earning one's spurs at senior command level.

    I'm thankful you mentioned the artillery tubes and weight of shell available to the Allies at Anzio. The Allies don't seem to have done too well at provision of same at Cassino, which factor, iIrc, is one of the reasons Freyberg came to be in favour of bombing the monastery.

    Both of you, Nick and Deaf, make the point well: by that stage of the war Allied production of both troops and materiel was such that the Germans could not keep up, and in that context were certain to eventually lose the war.

    Kind and Respectful Regards Gentlemen, Uyraell.
    Last edited by Uyraell; 08-10-2010 at 10:23 PM. Reason: Typo.

    "Honi-Soit Qui Mal'Y Pense." :
    "Ill unto he who ill of it thinks."
    Edward III, Rex Britania, AD1348.

    "Wenn Schon, denn schon."
    "Be It Done, Best be It Be Done Well."
    Known German adage.

    "Until you have looked into a veteran's eyes and actually seen it,
    you'll never fully understand."
    ^Uyraell^

    "Aligaes : Amore vel Ira." :
    "^Winged Ones^ : Love or Wrath."

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