During the advance on Monte Cassino in May 1944 by Polish troops, there was an armoured and infantry attack on a route through Albaneta Farm to the monastery. A number of Polish tanks were knocked out. After the war one was left as a memorial, and even sixty years later still remains on the Cassino battlefield.

It is now minus it's main gun and machine-guns which the After The Battle team reported were still there in the 1970s. However, it is generally in very good condition, with much of its original paint scheme intact. The wording on the memorial states that it commemorates the 4th Polish Armoured Regiment and it can be seen that the tanks track links have been welded to form a cross (see above). Damage to the tank suggests it was knocked out by mines and not by any anti-tank weapons.

To visit this memorial is not easy. You follow the same directions as for Albaneta Farm: namely, the only way to reach it is to drive to the Polish Cemetery. The Polish monument on Hill 593 is signposted here, but through a gate that is often locked. If the gate can be negotiated, either walk or drive, and where the road bends to go up to Hill 593, take a left hand fork going downhill. You will pass another Polish memorial, and then reach the area of Albaneta Farm. Continue on the track, going past the farm, and following the track as it passes below Snakeshead Ridge. After going through a scrub area, you will come to the tank. This is not a through road, so you will have to return via the same route. Walking, it would take more than an hour from the car park. In a car much less, although the road/track can be difficult in places - especially after or during poor weather conditions.

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General view of the memorial. Close up of the memorial panel. Sherman turret. Track and bogie damage from mines.


ŠPaul Reed 2005

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