Operation Michael (iii)

This was a German counterattack against Allied positions on Monte Cairo just before the start of the Allied attack in ‘Avenger’, otherwise the 2nd Battle of Cassino, in Italy (12 February 1944).

Early in the morning of 12 February, as an Indian brigade was grouping near Cairo, Generalleutnant Ernst-Günther Baade’s 90th Panzergrenadierdivision despatched two assault groups of its 200th Panzergrenadierregiment against Castellone under an unusually heavy artillery barrage. The height fell to the Germans and for a while the US defences were critically disorganised, but all possible manpower was rallied, and the devastating defensive fire of the artillery made the German reconquests quite untenable. By noon the danger was past. ‘Michael’ (iii) and the actions that developed simultaneously in the hills to the south cost the Germans something more than 300 casualties and won not an inch of ground.