Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell
The battle for Monte Cassino in 1944 is perhaps best known for the bombing of its famous Abbey by Allied forces, but the 129 days that made up these four battles was much more than that incident. It was a campaign where mules became more important than tanks: they could trudge through mud that would stop a jeep; they could climb up mountains with ammunition and trek down with dead soldiers. Stuck in mountainous trenches, soldiers were like zombies with lack of sleep and continual fighting.
Caddick-Adams compares the battles to the trench warfare of the First World War, detailing how every senior officer in the battle, German or Allied, had fought in it. Those experiences almost obsessed the commanders; they made constant reference in their letters to the battles of Verdun and Passchendaele.
While the four battles are covered in exhaustive detail, the political conflicts between Allied commanders are not neglected in what was a multinational affair with 14 different nationalities on the Allied side. This book is a real treat for military history enthusiasts.