During the Italian campaign, Crown Prince Umberto di Savoia often visited the front and on the eve of the Battle of Monte Lungo (7 December 1943) volunteered for a dangerous air reconnaissance mission. The American Commander nominated him for the Bronze Star Medal, which was not awarded for political expediency.
In the Second World War Umberto di Savoia, son of King Vittorio Emanuele III, was the Crown Prince of Italy. According to dynasty’s tradition, he was excluded from any role in the State’s affairs and followed a military career in the army. Umberto and the Italian dictator Mussolini disliked each other and Mussolini considered excluding him from the succession.
During the war, he commanded Army Group West in the campaign against France. In 1942 he received the rank of Field-Marshal but was given no other command. On the proclamation of the armistice on 8 September 1943, the Royal Family and the Government left Rome for Brindisi to avoid capture by German forces. Umberto wanted to go to Rome to organize resistance in the capital, but the King forbade this.
During the Italian campaign Umberto often visited the front line. On the eve of the first Battle of Monte Lungo (8 December 1943), he volunteered for a dangerous air reconnaissance mission, flying with an American pilot over the German defence lines under heavy fire from their anti-aircraft artillery.
Edwin Walker, commander of the Third Regiment of the First Special Service Force, nominated Umberto for the American Bronze Star Medal, but this was not awarded for political reasons. When his father, King Victor Emmanuel III, abdicated, Umberto reigned for 34 days, from 9 May to 12 June 1946. When Italy became a republic, Umberto left Italy and lived and died in exile in Cascais in Portugal.
The military shrine at Mignano Monte Lungo is located at the site of the first battle between the Italian Royal Army and the German army. The cemetery houses the graves of 974 Italian soldiers that fell during the Italian Campaign after Italy joined the Allies in September 1943.
Rome was the first capital to be liberated from Nazi German occupation on 4 June 1944. Rome had been declared an open city which meant that it could be captured without any fighting. This was a welcome relieve after the heavy fought campaign of Cassino.
The Museum of the Liberation in Via Tasso, Rome, is the symbolic place of the Nazi occupation of the Italian capital. The museum occupies an entire building which was used as a prison by the Sicherheitspolizei, the Nazi Security Police
On 13 October 1943 the Kingdom of Italy declared war on Germany and was recognized as a cobelligerent by the Allies. The Battle of Monte Lungo, that took place between 8 and 16 December 1943, was the first engagement of the Royal Army fighting alongside the Allied forces in Italy.
The Allied campaign of Monte Cassino was fought in four phases between January and May 1944. The town of Cassino was a key stronghold on the Gustav Line, the German defence line in Central Italy designed to prevent Allied advance towards Rome. The Allies suffered about 55,000 casualties, the Germans 20,000.