The German paratroopers were the first to be employed in unit sized operations and their bravery was unchallenged. When the situation made it impossible to function as an attack unit their units were equipped with ground force equipment to engage the enemy. On of the most outstanding operations was the defense of Monte Casino when the German Fallsschirjaeger Division stopped General Mark Clarks Army's attack up the Italian peninsula. Despite the assurances of German General Kesselring (Left)that the monastery would not be used as part of the German Defenses the Allies bombed it to rubble.
On 15 February the monastery, high on a peak overlooking the town of Cassino, was destroyed by 1,400 tons of bombs dropped by American bombers. The bombing was based on the fear that the abbey was being used as a lookout post for the German defenders.Two days after the bombing, German paratroopers from the 1st Fallschirjaeger Division poured into the ruins; ironically, the destruction caused by the bombing and the resulting jagged wasteland of rubble gave these ground troops improved protection from air and artillery attack making it a more viable defensive position. The Allies paid dearly making for separate attacks to win the Cassino