Exactly, the route further north across the fordable portion of the Rapido at Monte Villa had its own problems. If anything, German observation of the crossing points was even better than for those of the 36th Division. For another, once across, the division was presented with the massif of Monte Castellone to its front and Abbey Hill to its left. Given the difficult mountain battles of November and December, Clark's decision to make the main effort up the Liri Valley makes sense - a successful penetration there would compromise the entire Gustav line. However that being said, Clark did little to ensure the operation would actually succeed or to make it in terms of combat power his true main effort. Aside from having most of II Corps artillery in support, there was little to ensure the 36th Division attack had the strength required for what was very obviously a dangerous job. Although many Chemical units were available, smoke operations were perfunctory. Although many Engineer units were available, only a single Engineer Combat Regiment, with two battalions, a Separate Engineer Combat Battalion, and two companies of the 16th Armored Engineer Battalion were attached to the 36th Division, but NO BRIDGING UNITS or equipment (other than the materiel for two Class 40 Bailey bridges... hardly stuff appropriate for an "assault" crossing) were made available! It seems hard to believe, but there was no assault bridging materiel provided to the division...the infantry footbridges employed (planned for four, but only enough materiel was found for two) were all IMPROVISED! In contrast, the 5th Infantry Division's crossing of the Mosselle at Arnaville in September 1944, arguably as difficult on operation, was supported by extensive smoke operations, an entire Chemical company was attached to the division, and engineer support included the attachment of an entire Engineer Combat Group with three Combat and one Heavy Ponton battalion, along with a Treadway Bridge and a Light Ponton company. While difficult, the operation there succeeded. Just as bad, the practice runs were done on the Volturno River, in conditions very different from those at the Rapido. Even worse than that, while the 142d and 143d Infantry were chosen to do the dry runs at the Volturno each married up with a support battalion of the 19th Engineers, General Walker changed his mind at the last moment and selected the 141st and 143d Infantry for the actual assault. I suspect by this time General Walker, the 36th ID commander, was burning out, while an excellent commander up to that time, he failed badly at the Rapido. He dealt only perfunctorily with the problematic engineer plan and instead complained the support given him by Fifth Army was inadequate, but then failed to do anything about it. If anyone other than Clark is to "blame" for what happened on the Rapido, it is Walker.