First Allied attacks on Monte Cassino. The battle raged from 12 January till 18 May with heavy Allied losses. Allied Forces resume attacks at the run aground Italian front. Cassino formed the focal point of the Gustav Line, the strongest German defences south of Rome. A natural fortress consisting of a town on the slopes of a high mountain crowned by Benedictine Monastery and skirted to the south by three rivers, Cassino had to be captured by the Allies in order to gain access to the Liri Valley, the so-called 'gateway to Rome.' The battle raged from 17 January until 18 May, often in appalling wet and cold weather with heavy Allied losses. Eventually, the Germans evacuated the town, and the monastery was finally stormed by Polish troops.