Freyberg’s dominion troops, he noted, were “very jealous of their prerogatives. “I want it bombed. Now the urgency felt by the Allies underwent a change in emphasis. Naval, ground, and air commanders have been so instructed and understand fully [the] importance of preventing unnecessary or avoidable damage.” General Mark Clark, who commanded the Fifth Army in Italy, directed his subordinates “to protect these properties, and intentional attacks will therefore be carefully avoided. Placing the abbey off limits and drawing a circle with its circumference about aoo yards from the walls, he forbade all troops to cross the line, stationed several military policemen at the abbey entrance to enforce the order, and assured the Abbot that no military installations of any sort would be constructed within the confines of the abbey — that is, within the circle he had traced. Polish troops then captured what was left of the abbey. In the Allied camp, a profound disappointment took hold. As well, Corps HQ did not fully appreciate the difficulty in getting 4th Indian Infantry Division into place in the mountains and supplying them on the ridges and valleys north of Cassino (using mules across 7 miles (11 km) of goat tracks over terrain in full view of the monastery, exposed to accurate artil… Almost immediately after the battlefront had swept past Monte Cassino, plans were made to rebuild the abbey. And this depended on getting across the Rapido River. Humanitarian, religious, and sentimental reasons, Clark said, also argued against bombing. That evening an officer flew the films to Berlin for processing. “Our air,” he wrote, “thoroughly demolished the monastery above Cassino. Except, of course, that this immunity “will not be allowed to interfere with military necessity.”. American Harold Bond, of the 36th Texan Division, remembered the texture of the ‘honey-coloured Travertine stone’ of the abbey that fine Tuesday morning, and how ‘the Germans seemed to sense that something important was about to happen for they were strangely quiet’. As Brigadier Kippenberger observed: ‘Whatever had been the position before, there was no doubt that the enemy was now entitled to garrison the ruins, the breaches in the fifteen-foot-thick walls were nowhere complete, and we wondered whether we had gained anything.’. They evacuated all the refugees still in the monastery except a handful too sick or infirm to be moved. According to one observer, they “soon reduced the entire top of Monte Cassino to a smoking mass of rubble.” The planes attacked in waves, dropping about 600 tons of high explosive. These men would come ashore at Anzio, about seventy-five miles ahead of the main Allied forces and only thirty miles below Rome. Site of the Roman town of Casinum, it is best known for its abbey, the first house of the Benedictine Order, having been established by Benedict of Nursia himself around 529. The division commander who is making the attack feels that it is an essential target, and I thoroughly agree.”. Aside from the destruction of the abbey, the bombardment blasted and burned off much of the vegetation on Monte Cassino. And the Americans doubted that enemy troops were using the building in any way. Early in December, the commander of the German Tenth Army in Italy, General Heinrich von Vietinghoff, requested help in solving a problem. Freyberg found himself in agreement with Tuker. To settle the question of whether German troops were actually inside the abbey, General Jacob Devers, Wilson’s American deputy, and General Ira Eaker, the American in command of the Mediterranean theatre air forces, flew over the German lines in two small observation planes. Now, accompanied by those who could walk, he wended his way down a mule path until he was picked up by Senger’s automobile, which had been solicitously dispatched to bring him to the German’s headquarters. For the time being, the military situation at Cassino remained unchanged. Crossing the flooded Rapido, the division moved into the hills behind the town and gained a foothold after eight days of heavy fighting. Mark Clark was responsible for operations at both Anzio and Cassino. They got part way up the mountain, but were unable to wrest it from German control. An American B17 bomber shortly after German troops demolished the abbey’s outlying buildings to create fields of fire for their weapons, and set up observation posts and emplacements for crew-served guns. His dual function was an oddity that sometimes embarrassed his colleagues. Crossing the flooded Rapido, the division moved into the hills behind the town and gained a foothold after eight days of heavy fighting. “I desire that I be given air support tomorrow,” Freyberg said, “in order to soften the enemy position in the Cassino area. The Abbot sent his secretary to a nearby German headquarters to make arrangements for the occupants to leave. Clark disagreed. Clark was pleased, too, with Freyberg’s energy and aggressiveness. On the 15th of February 1944, Allied planes bombed the abbey at Monte Cassino as part of an extended campaign against the Axis.