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Italy Volume I: The Sangro to Cassino

(c) Armour:

(c) Armour:

The following points made among many others in a report by 4 Armoured Brigade on operations between 7 February and 30 April 1944 reflect experience in Cassino:


If armour must be employed in street fighting, a few well-controlled tanks can do all that is necessary.


In reasonable going, enemy strongpoints in houses and basements can be destroyed by tanks and infantry kept in close touch by a No. 38 wireless set in the tanks.


Where passage must be made through a defended town, a quick thrust by armour in three waves has most chance of success–the first wave to pass through to prevent the enemy bringing up reinforcements and supplies, the second wave to take up positions in the town from which to engage strongpoints, snipers and grenadiers who might impede our infantry advance, and the third to move in with the infantry in close support.


Tank crews must be prepared to lay smoke and clear mines and should not rely on close infantry or engineer assistance in street fighting.


In street fighting strong forces of infantry are essential to mop up and occupy all strongpoints as they go through. An early force of infantry should push through rapidly to join up with the first wave of tanks.


‘Available air support [in street fighting] should be used to harass enemy artillery during the time our own artillery is engaged on preliminary barrage of the town. Heavy bombing of town area produces craters and masses of rubble which make tank movement difficult and may, as in Cassino, make all streets and routes impassable to tanks’.