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World War II History for May 18

May 18, 2009 Steve Terjeson 0 Comments

Today in WWII History

Audio Clips: Today we bring you a double-play!

Clip #2: is a BBC broadcast marking the fall of Monte Cassino to the allies.

World War II History for May 18

18 May 1942 – New York ended night baseball games for the duration of World War II.

18 May 1943 – Hitler gives the order for Operation Alaric

On this day in 1943, Adolf Hitler launches Operation Alaric, the German occupation of Italy in the event its Axis partner either surrendered or switched its allegiance.

This operation was considered so top secret that Hitler refused to issue a written order. Instead, he communicated verbally his desire that Field Marshal Erwin Rommel should assemble and ultimately command 11 divisions for the occupation of Italy to prevent an Allied foothold in the peninsula.[1]

18 May 1944 – Monte Cassino, Europe’s oldest Monastic house, was finally captured by the Allies in Italy.

On this day in 1944, the Polish Corps, part of a multinational Allied Eighth Army offensive in southern Italy, finally pushes into Monte Cassino as the battle to break German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring’s defensive Gustav Line nears its end.

The Allied push northward to Rome began in January with the landing of 50,000 seaborne troops at Anzio, 33 miles south of the Italian capital. Despite having met very little resistance, the Allies chose to consolidate their position rather than immediately battle north to Rome. Consequently, German forces under the command of Field Marshal Kesselring were able to create a defensive line that cut across the center of the peninsula. General Wladyslaw Anders, leader of the Polish troops who would raise their flag over the ruins of the famous Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino, commenting on the cost of the battle, said, “Corpses of German and Polish soldiers, sometimes entangled in a deathly embrace, lay everywhere, and the air was full of the stench of rotting bodies.”[1]

[1] “Hitler gives the order for Operation Alaric,” The History Channel website, (accessed May 18, 2009).

#1942#1943#1944#Audio#Baseball#Italy#Monte Cassino#New York#Operation Alaric#Podcast#USA

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