Countdown to Cassino by Alex Bowlby

In the autumn of 1943 the German Bernhardt Line ran through Mignano Gap, 12 miles south-west of Cassino. XIV Panzer Korps was to make a stand there, holding up the advancing US 5th Army – two thirds American, one third British – whilst Cassino was being fortified. If the 5th Army broke through Mignano Gap before Cassino’s fortifications were really strong, Allied armour would smash its way through the town and go on to take Rome. Drawing on the memories of veterans who fought at Mignano Gap, and on extensive archive research, this book presents a wide-ranging account of this major battle, and describes how close the 5th Army came to making the crucial breakthrough. The author served with the Green Jackets in World War II and his 1969 publication, “The Recollections of Rifleman Bowlby”, was republished 20 years later.


  1. Robin HollambyRobin Hollamby

    This book is recommended by Kevin Sarginson who writes; My Dad 2623491 LJ Sarginson Grenadier Guards 6th Battalion was one of the few Survivors of this Battle His account of the battle can be read in Countdown to Cassino by Alex Bowlby.I am extremely proud of him as I am My regiment for I also was a Grenadier 24195840 K j Sarginson .

    1. Mike Sterling

      Kevin, we met briefly some years ago now at a Black Sunday meeting I used to write to your Dad and he sent me the full story of what he went through, my Uncle was the radio operator for No 2 Coy on point 819 sadly KIA on the 9th Nov and has no known grave. I have just returned from Monte Camino my 26th visit I also helped Alex with his book sadly he is no longer with us, drop me a line for a chat or any info you want about Camino

  2. James Smith

    Hi Mike, I am trying to find out more information on my grandfather Yonas Rumbutis who was in The Scots Guards and died on 9th November 1943 at Monte Camino. He is buried at Cassino Cemetery and I am planning to visit. I would be very grateful if you could drop me an email at to give me help on how best to plan a visit and more info on the battles for Cassino.
    Thank You
    James Smith

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