Expertly fortified and stubbornly defended by some of Germany's finest troops, the Cassino massif and the devastated town at its foot defied assault by British, American, French, Indian, New Zealand and Polish troops from January until May 1944. When the Gustav and Hitler Line defences were finally swept aside by Field Marshal Alexander's great Operation "Diadem" in May, General Mark Clark's controversial decision to drive on Rome itself rather than cutting off the retreating German Tenth Army cast into question the prize actually gained by those five months of bloodletting. The grim story of the Four Battles of Cassino is told here in detail, supported by appendices, over 100 photographs and maps and illustrated by a portfolio of specially commissioned colour plates of troops of eight of the armies involved.
Ken Ford trained as a telecommunications engineer, but a fascination with military history led ultimately to a career change. He has a long-standing interest in the history of the Second World War and is the author of several books on the subject. Mike Chappell spent 22 years in infantry soldiering. Since beginning to paint military subjects in 1968 he has gained world-wide popularity as a military illustrator.