Segment 5


Kassal recalls the 12th Tactical Air Command's headquarters were setup at Caserta, just north of Naples. They were stationed just north of the palace for only a few days before moving north to Venafroy and Cassino, a few miles from Montecassino, a strategic German stronghold. The only way the infantry could make it to Rome was through Monte Cassino. They had strict orders from President Roosevelt not to bomb Monte Cassino because of its religious importance. However, because the city was so strategically important, Roosevelt gave permission to bomb. Kassal was given the task of bombing targets operations, organizing heavy bombers to hit the abbey at Monte Cassino.After the bombing, Kassal remembers thinking to himself how lucky he was to participate in this attack, until he saw American bombers fly overhead and drop four bombs. He received some small lacerations on his knees. Kassal goes back to talk about his first meeting with General Clark [Annotator's Note: General Mark Clark, commander of the US Fifth Army] . He personally delivered intelligence to Clark. He also recalls meeting General Hap Arnold [Annotator's note: Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold], commander of the US Army Air Forces, and personally briefed him on the situation in Monte Cassino. A week before the bombing at Monte Cassino, three RAF [Annotator's Note: Royal Air Force] intelligence officers came to their headquarters. Kassal was assigned to show them the town and the German positions. They came under German artillery fire, one of the RAF officers was wounded and later died of his injuries.


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