78 years ago today the 2nd Polish Corps launched their attach on Monte Cassino. Groups like the Polish and French are often forgotten or over looked after 1940 but they were much more active than most people realize. Below is a facebook article from WW2colourisedphotos who post a ton of this type of content and is very much worth a follow or a check in on as there is always something interesting.
2nd Polish Corps on the battlefield at Monte Cassino
11 – 18 May 1944.
With victory secured by the Allies on 18 May 1944, the Battle of Monte Cassino, one of the toughest and bloodiest battles of World War II, takes a special place in Polish history.
In April 1944, the 2nd Polish Corps in Italy numbered about 48,000 soldiers and was part of the British 8th Army. After landing in the Apennine Peninsula.
Polish troops were given orders to defend the Sangro-Volturno river line, including front positions in the Mainarde Mountains. They would then fight in the fourth Battle of Monte Cassino on a patch of land fiercely defended by elite German units. Since January 1944, the Allies had unsuccessfully tried to break the Gustav Line, suffering heavy causalities. The bombing of the abbey and town of Cassino by (mainly U.S.) air forces in February and March turned them into ruins and made them hard to capture. The five-month-long Battle of Cassino was fought by soldiers from all continents: Europe, Africa, Asia, America and Oceania.
On the night of 11 May 1944, after long and difficult preparations, the decisive fourth battle began to break the Gustav Line by carrying out two operations which involved the encirclement of the monastery hill at Monte Cassino. The Polish advance was aimed at capturing the mountain massif of Monte Cassino-Monte Cairo. Despite fierce fighting and heavy causalities, the first attack on 12 May did not create the intended breakthrough, yet the operational objective was reached. The second attack began on the evening of 16 May. On 18 May at 9.45 am, a patrol of the 12th Podolski Lancers Regiment reached the ruins of the monastery at Monte Cassino. Soon after that, the Polish flag was raised there followed a little later by the British Union Jack next to it.
(Color by Mikołaj Kaczmarek)
There are more photos over on his page. I didn’t want to snag the whole thing so go check them out. They’re worth it don’t worry.