Assault on Hangman’s Hill, Monte Cassino, 15th-23rd March 1944

Assault on Hangman’s Hill, Monte Cassino, 15th-23rd March 1944

Accession Number – 2011.02.01

Painting (Oil on Canvas)

Artist – Jason Askew

The fighting around the hilltop monastery of Monte Cassino in Italy was some of the fiercest seen during the Second World War. Between January and May 1944 four allied assaults were made against heavily defended German positions, entrenched within a series of peaks and valleys known as the Winter Line. Gurkha troops, of the 4th Indian Division (part of the Allied 8th Army) were heavily involved. The third of the fourth battles began on the 15th of March 1944, after heavy Allied bombing. C Company of 1st Battalion, 9th Gurkha Rifles, led by Captain M.R. Drinkhall DSO, managed to reach their objective against all odds, a high point known as Hangman’s Hill, south-west of the monastery itself. At this news all forces of the 4th Indian Division present were diverted to support this company with much of the rest of 1/9GR managing to fight their way up in support over the next two days. The Gurkhas held Hangman’s Hill for nine days against constant German attack, before a lack of ammunition and supplies forced them to withdraw.

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