Today we are paying tribute to Polish soldiers who fought for freedom in the Battle of Monte Cassino on 17/18 May 1944.
The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome.
After failed attempts by other ally nations, the soldiers from the Polish 2nd Corps under the command of general Władysław Anders were successful in gaining control of the hilltops of Monte Cassino during the World War II battle. Nearly 1,000 Polish service members are buried at the site.
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.”
You can listen to the song CZERWONE MAKI NA MONTE CASSINO on youtube.
Melody and two opening stanzas were written in the night 17/18 May 1944 during the memorable battle on Monte Cassino, the third stanza was added after the victorious ending of that battle.
The text author was Feliks Konarski, soldier of the 2nd Corps of the Polish Armed Forces in the West.
Glory to the Heroes!
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