|HEADQUARTERS 106th INFANTRY DIVISION
Office of the Surgeon
APO 443, U. S. Army
ANNUAL REPORT OF MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVIIES 1945
|The new year 1945, found the 106th Infantry Division
in rest and rehabilitation, and in the process of re-equipment in
Belgium. The severity of the enemy action in the latter part of
December 1944 resulted in the loss of two regiments, two field artillery
battalions, the division reconnaissance troop and one collecting
company, all of whom were considered MIA. Early in January the
remainder of the Division, the 424th Combat Team went into action.
The inclement weather and the terrain added to the difficulties that the
troops had to encounter. The temperature hovered round zero and
the snow was deep - frequently the troops went through snow up to their
hips. Sleds had been improvised for the evacuation of litter
casualties, but these were found to be too difficult to maneuver through
the snow and through the forest. The battalion surgeons were
having difficulties with the administration of the plasma. In
several instances when the plasma was reconstituted, an insoluble gummy
residue remained which clogged the small filter of the plasma set.
This finally was remedied by the substitution of a long needle for the
short needle in the outlet tube. The long needle then passed above
the residue and did not interfere with the free flow of the plasma.
The quarter ton truck served as the best means of transporting the
During the first month, approximately 10,000 patients were treated in the Division medical installations, and the Clearing Station admitted 1,135 patients for treatment. When the 424th Combat Team went into the attack, the medical battalion headquarters and the clearing company moved from Esneux, Belbium to Niveze, Belgium and then to Cour, Belgium in close support of the troops. Company A of the Medical Battalion remained at Niveze, Belgium as a holding station where patients with minor wounds could be returned to duty within a period of 10 days. Company C of the Medical Battalion was in close support of its troops. The road net that the ambulances had to traverse was under constant observed enemy artillery fire. The ambulances frequently ran the gauntlet of fire.
A high incidence of frost-bite and allied foot conditions continued during this month. A through study of the conditions was made by the Surgeon's Office, stressing both incidence and cause. It was ascertained that about 80% of the men admitted to the Clearing Station were fully conversant with and understood the consequences of improper care of the feet; and many did everything within their limited means to attempt to prevent the occurrence of frost-bite. The individual soldier on the line could not possibly work out his own salvation in the matter. Troop leaders had to insist that all their men have overshoes and wear them; the men had to have dry socks and dry shoes available continuously.
It has been the policy of the Surgeon's Office to extract pertinent information, both medical and administrative, so that all the medical officers could be as well informed as possible. Enclosures No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are representativeof this policy. Enclosure #6 is the monthly medical bulletin written for the line officers who were aided materially in presenting to them the picture of the medical service for the month with the recommendations that they could enforce - thus further insuring better health of the Command.
Early in February the division was billeted in the vicinity of Houchenee, Belgium where reorganization, rehabilitation and training was in progress. Regimental medical installations operated in each battalion and Special Troops area conducting sick call and rendering medical care. The problem of frostbite and trench foot received much attention and foot inspections by medical officers were repeatedly conducted. Sanitation was stressed as a result a marked drop in diarrhea was noted. The Medical Battalion Headquarters and Clearing Station were located at Esneux. A cadre for Company "B" was selected and efforts to bring its T/E and T/O to normal were made. Training was conducted in technical subjects in all units.
Two medical conferences were held under the direction of the Surgeon's Office. The first was a conference-critique on problems encountered by the Regimental Medical Services and followed by a conference on "Treatment of Wounds of the Chest". The second was a conference-critique on problems encountered by the Division Medical Service followed by a conference on "Trench Foot and Allied Conditions". Much practical and useful information was obtained at these conferences.
On 5 February, the 424th Combat Team was attached to the 99th Infantry Division and placed in V Corps reserve vicinity of Amel. By 0600, 9 Feb, the division combat team had replaced the 394th Combat Team on the line vicinity Losheimergraben and reverted to division control. The Division Headquarters and Division Special Troops had meanwhile moved to vicinity of Hunningen.
The terrain occupied by the infantry was rugged, wooded, mined, hilly terrain - which did not have an adequate internal road net. The melting snow and rains had caused the few available trails to become impassable and ambulances and jeeps could not come within 2 miles of the troops. The battalion fronts were also greatly extended. Evacuations became an arduous problem. Each aid station set up a forward and a rear aid station. The forward station, operated by the surgeon, was in close proximity to the troops. A "Weasel" (tractor jeep) was able to negotiate to within 300 yards of the station, so evacuation was by litter to the aid station and after adequate treatment by litter carry to the Weasel - and then after a bruising 25 minutes, to the rear battalion medical installations where further medical care and ambulances were available. Out of the battalion area, the roads were somewhat better and evacuation progressed normally. A "Weasel" ride was in itself an adventure in rough riding. However, by betting the casualty in better shape by more plasma, sedation - firmer splints and dressings, no casualty was adversely affected by the length of tome or the roughness of terrain during evacuation. The Engineers were constructing roads toward the station and by months end, a toad to the aid station which could be traversed by ambulance and jeep was opened for medical evacuation.
The Collecting Station did maintain contact and worked closely throughout the month with its combat team. From its location at Hosnfeld, it could adequately support not only the infantry but also the artillery division troops in the sector.
The Clearing Station closed at Esneux and opened in Ligneuville at 1300 on 7 Feb and continued its efforts to find facilities closer to the troops. By 10 Feb the unit opened in Weverce and on the 15th opened in Butgebach which was considered a satisfactory supporting location. A holding station manned by a platoon of the Clearing Company was maintained at Weverce. It housed and cared for all cases which would be returned to duty within 5 to 6 days. The Butgenbach station because of limited holding facilities, indulged chiefly in triage. A minimum of patients were held there for observation; The condition of routes of evacuation was the chief problem of the ambulances service. The former adequate road net due to the mud, rain and extensive use became rutted mires. However, constant road reconnaissance, a high road priority rating, and extra reserve ambulances given to the operating collecting station, did not allow this service to bog down at any time.
Company "A" of the Medical Battalion continued training throughout the month. It did not operate as a station, however, a large proportion of its personnel were either on detached service with the 424th Inf Regt and/or supplementing the operating Collecting Company. The cadre for Company "B" continued its cadre training and continued to obtain and maintain T/E equipment.
Inclosure #7 is the medical bulleting for month of February put out by the Division Surgeon's Office.
Early in March the 424 CT remained on the line in the vicinity of Losheimergraben. The Division Headquarters and Division Troops remained in vicinity of Hunningen.
The terrain occupied by the infantry was wooded and hilly. The majority of battle casualties during this period continued to be those incurred from mines. Mines continued to be a menace and the principal agent causing battle casualties during this period, although much had been done to neutralize these. Engineers continued to improve the road net and made possible ambulance and jeep evacuations from the aid station to the Collecting Station. Forward of the Aid Station evacuations were still difficult since the battalion fronts remained extended as during the previous month. Each Aid Station, therefore, continued to operate forward and rear stations, and "Weasels" continued to be used between the forward and rear aid stations. Out of the battle area the roads were somewhat better and evacuation progressed normally.
The Collecting Station maintained contact and worked closely throughout this period with its combat team. From its location at Honsfeld, it continued to adequately support the Infantry, the artillery and the Division troops in the sector.
The clearing company continued to operate a forward station in Butgenbach and a holding station in Weverce. The forward station concerned itself with triage while the holding station cared for all cases which could be returned to duty within 5 to 10 days.
On the 8th of March the 424th CT was pinched out by elements of the 69th Inf Div driving S, and elements of the 87th Inf Div and the 6th Cav Gp driving E.
The Battalion Aid Stations advanced with their respective battalions and continued their close support.
The Collecting Station displaced one-half of its station forward in the vicinity of Losheimergraben in order to better support the forward units.
The forward and rear platoons of the Clearing Station remained in their respective locations. However, one platoon was in continuous alert for a possible move forward to a preddesignated site in Hunningen.
Casualties were extremely light and evacuation presented n unusual problems.
On the 8th of March, units of the Division were ordered to remain in their present location. The medical units, during the remainder of this period, busied themselves with the care of cleaning of equipment, resupply, and providing for the increased comfort of the men. Company "A" of the Medical Battalion, continued to train throughout the period of 1 March to 14 March. The cadre personnel of Co "B" busied itself with training and continued efforts to obtain and maintain T/E equipment.
On 14 March 1945, the Division was alerted for a move to St. Quentin, France. The Clearing Station closed at 1400, and all medical units made preparations for the move. A plan for medical service was developed and all subordinate units were familiarized with this plan. The move was made by train and motor. On 16 March the Division had closed in its new location at St. Quentin, France.
Troops were housed in warehouses, factories, and the like. All medical installations were in continuous operation. Sanitation was stressed and a rigid venereal disease control program was initiated. Inclosure No. 8 presents a detailed description of the venereal control program that was initiated. Each unit dispensary operated a prophylactic station, and additional stations ere installed within the city. Continued orientation was given all personnel on venereal disease.
All medical units continued training in technical subjects. Rest and comfort of the troops were provided for.
Inclosure No. 9 is the medical bulletin for month of March put out by the Division Surgeon's Office.
Early in April the medical units of the Division continued to be billeted at St. Quentin. The organic medical detachments of battalions, regiments, and special troops were operating dispensaries and prophylactic stations - both in troop areas and in centrally located sites in town. The prophylactic stations were well attended and functioned well. On 1 April the Medical Battalion (less "C" Company) were ordered to the vicinity of Rennes, France. The move was completed in two days. The remaining Collecting Company furnished ambulance service tot he Division dispensaries in St. Quentin.
On 4 April the Division Clearing Station opened and began to function for the troops in that area.
Between the 6th and 8th of April 1945, the Division moved by rail and motor to the vicinity of Rennes, France. Ambulance service was furnished by "C" Company of the Medical Battalion. No casualties were encountered enroute. At Rennes, the Medical Detachment of the 159th and 3rd Infantry Regiments, and the 401st and 627th Field Artillery Battalions became a part of the Division Medical family. The organic Medical Detachments were complete.
Reinforcements fo the reconstituted units began to flow in. Medical profiling (physical classification) teams under Division control, profiled and classified all the new men upon reception. A thorough complete dental survey of all reinforcements was completed. Those with disabling defects were hospitalized for sturdy and possible reclassification. Physically and mentally they were an exceptionally fine group of men.
Training in basic and technical subjects was begun for all medical personnel, with the exception for the reconstituted units who began training on 16 April. This Headquarters (Surg) conducted weekly training inspections of all units.
Sanitation in the Division bivouac area, because of the high water level, provided an interesting bit of study on the problem of waste disposal. The problem was satisfactorily solved by various methods, in the areas of the various organizations. Water was supplied by Engineer water units.
Com Z Medical Section informed this Headquarters (Surg) that venereal disease rate in the Rennes area was exceptionally high. Therefore, a vigorous venereal disease control program was instituted. Its results could not be judged - for the Division was preparing its next march order.
On 15 April the newly reconstituted units were attached to the 66th Infantry Division for training. The Surgeon of this Division was given a status of training report as well as factual and statistical information as to the health of the troops, status of immunization, dental health, etc.
Between the 21st and 30th of April 1945, the Division moved by motor and rail to the vicinity of Stromberg, Germany. Advance elements prepared plans for the Division's present mission - guarding POWs. By the month's end, four large PWTEs were being secured and administrated by troops of the Division. Plans for the medical service of the 100,000 POWs were prepared and issued. P. W. T. E. Memo No. 3 dated 30 April 1945 was put out by the Division Surgeon's Office and outlined the plan for medical service rendered the Prisoners of War. This is submitted as Inclosure No. 10. Medical personnel servicing PWTEs under Division control were doing excellent work in the organization and rendition of medical service. Sanitation is, in the estimation of this office, the biggest problem in the PWTE - and will soon become a large Engineer project.
The month of May found the medical units of the division stretched from Buderich in the north to Heilbronn in the South. Organic medical detachments operated dispensaries, prophylactic stations and rendered medical service to all troops assigned, attached and casual, all along the Rhine River. This, in addition to rendering great help in the organization of PWTEs, physical classification of all troops (profiling) and the multitude of other duties considered routine.
Administrative Memo No. 37 dated 5 May 1945, submitted as Inclosure No. 11, was information for the medical service to be rendered the organic troops of the Division.
The care of the sick and wounded PWs held in enclosures operated by division was the priority mission of the division medical services. Care of the sick resolved itself, not only in the treatment, evacuation, hospitalization and supply of medical items, but also in the feeding, sheltering and the controlling of sanitation within the enclosure. PWTEs containing up to 168,000 louse infected people, a high percentage of whom were either sick or wounded, cramped into spaces initially meant for 20 to 50 thousand was not a pleasant picture. The picture of each of the 100,000 PWs having more than one bowel movement (1 to4 thousand cases of dysentery in each enclosure) daily, did not comfort the medical officer. Compartmentation and construction of the enclosures seemed to come along slowly and the water supply at best was inadequate or minimal. Housing or shelter for the young or old was non-existent. Food was not plentiful. All this added up for more and more potential work for the medical service, and a maximum effort was obviously necessary.
During this period, 6 PWTEs were placed in operation by the division. Each enclosure was furnished one or more medical teams consisting of 3 officers and 12 enlisted men to organize, administer, and render medical service to the enclosures. The Medical Battalion was thoroughly exploited of its officer and enlisted personnel to form teams, and of its organic equipment to aid in the accomplishment of the mission. Additional medical teams were placed at our disposal by the Advance Section of Com Z. Each team before attachment to an enclosure, was given a blue print or basic plan of operation. Guide T/O's & T/E's for infirmaries, special medical center and administrative headquarters were furnished. This is submitted as Inclosure No. 12.
Hospitalization policies and plans for evacuation of personnel from enclosure to hospital ere issued. These are submitted ad Inclosure No. 13. Orientation talks were held and problems to be met and goals to reach were outlined, so that medical teams did enter their enclosures well oriented as to their mission and as to the means available in the accomplishment of its mission. It was not at all, therefore, surprising that the medical service was always the first to be thoroughly organized and functioning. This usually within the first 36 hours after the opening of the camp.
German POW medical officers and personnel were screened, secured and rapidly organized. Infirmaries were set up in compartments and in places where it was hoped compartments would be. Each infirmary was staffed by two or three German medical officers and 12 German enlisted medical personnel. The infirmary consisted of a dispensary and a small 25-bed hospital, and generally serviced some 5,000 POWs. Special medical centers (hospital of 100 to 500 beds) were set up to handle the more severe diarrheas or other special type cases. All possible medical service that could be rendered within the enclosure, within the means and capabilities of the staff, was accomplished. Adequate medical service was available. Cases which needed more extensive hospital care were, upon approval of an American medical officer, transferred to an adjoining hospital.
Sanitation within the enclosure was a first priority project. A plan for the control of sanitation was issued and placed into effect in many enclosures. This plan was issued 7 May 1945 as unnumbered memorandum and is Inclosure No. 14. Inclosure No. 15 was the monthly sanitary report that was to be submitted from the PWTEs. However high water tables, poor drainage, rainy weather, lack of shovels, latrine boxes and the ever present thousands of dysentery cases, were only part of the sanitation problem encountered. Lice and delousing was ever present. Delousing teams were trained and DDT, when available, was used. Delousing because of incomplete compartmentation of camps and lack of DDT made little progress in this period.
Medical men cannot work without medical supplies and therefore the medical supply problem was fundamental. During this period no medical supplies were delivered either to the division or the enclosure by any higher headquarters. All medical battalion trucks and all agencies of the surgeon's office were on a constant 24-hour medical supply hunt. All dumps and caches, true or rumored, were investigated. Kassel, Burg, Frankfort, Lever Kruesen, were ferreted. Camp medical supply officers were requested to and did join the hunt. A minimum of supplies was obtained. The hand to mouth supply existence continued. Sick calls varying from 1 to 10 thousand daily caused pressing needs. Though the cry for supplies was incessant and the deliveries spasmodic, the quantities delivered did furnish a bare minimum for a day to day basis. Cots, tentage, litters and basic instrument sets were the most critical of items; necessary expendable drugs less critcal.
During this period the personnel of the Surgeon's Office were augmented and office facilities enlarged. The reason for this was that more PWTEs came under our control; Hospital Units were attached; Medical supply points were placed i operation, and the evacuation service was completely re-organized.
Two additional PWTEs were placed in operation by the division. Teams of medical personnel, placed on detached service with the division by higher headquarters, aided our own medical personnel in rendering medical service to the PWs. The new teams were oriented and were further trained on the ground. They were then sent out to supervise in the new PWTEs. German medical personnel who were trained to assist the new organization of enclosures accompanied the new team to the new enclosures.
On the whole, the trained personnel handled the problem more efficiently than when the division was given the assignment. Medical service has been adequate. Because of the inclement weather, sick XXten were very high. The most common cause was dysentery, and upper respiratory infections were the next most prevalent.
During this period the Hospital Units supporting the PWTEs were attached to the division. XXXXX Memo No. 16, 24 May 1945, Inclosure No. 16(?), outlined the operation of the hospital units. Reports and personnel problems begun to filter in the Surgeon's Office en masse. Two officers, one Army Nurse, and enlisted men made up the Hospital Section which handled all matter pertaining to hospitalization. Thus, these matters were handled promptly and well coordinated. Each hospital unit, normally, is able to accommodate 150 patients. However it was found necessary to expand each. XXXXXX so that there would be accommodations up to 2,000 patients. The T/O & T/E on these units had to be increased. Supply depots issued the necessary tents, cots and medical supplies XXX XXX XXX. Early during this period it was quite a problem, but it was being eased toward the end of the period. To accommodate the increased number of patients in the units more German medical personnel was required. POWs in the enclosures were screened and assigned to the Hospital Units who needed them. The German medical personnel were under the supervision of the American medical personnel in addition to nurses obtained from PWTEs. In some cases, civilian nurses and nurse's aides obtained thru the German Red Cross, and local Burgomeisters, were utilized. By the end of this period there was sufficient German personnel to care efficiently for the sick POWs. Some Hospital Units were set up in buildings; others in tents; however, all the units were in close proximity to their respective PWTEs. Each hospital had an adequate water supply. Some of them have the water brought to the hospital and set up in 3,000 gallon containers; others obtain the water from local sources and re-chlorinate it. Laundry facilities for the hospitals during this period had presented a major problem. The most common cause of admission to the hospitals during this period was dysentery and the second most common was upper respiratory infection.
The Nursing Section was inspected and aided in the organization or the nursing service in hospitals. Nursing care given the POWs improved. The need for continued and increased effort to insure the maintenance of high standards of nursing care on the part of the German nurses was continually stressed.
Early in this period the evacuation service form the enclosure to the hospital units, and the hospital units to the XXXX holding hospital was not satisfactory, because of the increased number of patients requiring evacuation and the insufficient quantity of transportation. XXXXXX Memo No. 11, 13 May 1945, was distributed denoting the responsibility of the Group Commanders in the policy of evacuation. This is submitted as Inclosure No. 17. The inclement weather caused an increase in those requiring hospitalization. The 554th and 538th Ambulance Companies, as well as those of the 331st Medical Battalion were over-taxed, working 24 hours a day. At times it was necessary to utilize trucks to assist in this evacuation. The assignment of the 428th Medical Battalion (Headquarters and four Ambulance Companies) to the division gave us sufficient transportation to render more than adequate service. An ambulance company was available to each group and there were sufficient ambulances in reserve for any emergency. Ambulances of the 331st Medical Battalion were still in use, however, their primary mission was evacuation of organic troops.
The attachment of the hospital units to the division placed an added huge burden on the supply section. P. W. T. E. Memo No. 14, 19 May 1945, Inclosure No. 18 outlines the medical supply policies for POWs. On 14 May ADSEC (?) set up three supply points at Rheinburg, Sinzig and Bingen. Each of these supply points stocked approximately two weeks of medical supplies and 48 to 72 hour service had been given on all requisitions. For the setup of these supply points the division medical supply dumps were dissolved as sources of supply for PWTEs. Each sector has a Division Supply Officer who controls not only POW medical supplies but also American Supplies for the organic troops.
Near the end of May, all sections were operating smoothly and efficiently. New PWTEs came under the control of the Division so that at the close of the month 17 enclosures were being operated. Two fo these enclosures contained respectively Russian and Czechoslovakian displaced personnel. The American and German teams have been operating very efficiently. Sanitation ahs improved markedly. The water supply for all the enclosures has bee improved but still presents a problem. Dysentery and upper respiratory infections have been on the decline.
Hospital units and medical units were operating efficiently in the enclosures. There has been a noted improvement in all phases of all activities. All classes of medical supplies were being obtained. Hospitals and enclosures were well stocked with medical supplies. Hospital expansion reached the desired capacity.
Inclosures No. 19 through 24 comprises letters and memorandums on medical records, DDT and fly control, delousing, movement of German medical personnel, as well as authorization for discharge of POWs from a medical stand-point.
During the first half of June personnel of the Medical Battalion and attached medical personnel continued to administer and render medical service to the POWs within the enclosures. Twenty thousand three hundred and fifty six (20,356) infirmary beds were in operation within the enclosures aside from 16,000 hospital beds operated by fifteen hospital units attached to the Division placed either within or adjacent to the enclosure and considered an integral part of that enclosure. POW medical personnel (doctors, nurses, and corps men) were organized to render the bulk of the medical service. Training schools for POW nurses and corps men were found necessary and this training was accomplished. Adequate and satisfactory medical service for the POW's was available throughout the organization.
During this period, adequate sanitary installations and facilities were nearing completion. With advent of cooking facilities and fuel, the enclosures were beginning ro serve more hot meals and as a result a better state of health was becoming manifest among the POW's. Facilities for cleaning of mess gear and cooking utensils were being made available. Marked improvement in installations for the disposal of both kitchen and human waste was noticed. During this phase, cases of typhoid fever were being admitted to hospital nits of two enclosures in the Blue Area. This expedited the previously recommended closure of one camp, which, because of the soil and high water table, was untenable from the sanitary point of view. An epidemiologic study of the cases in the other enclosures did pin point the source. Corrective action was taken and improvement noticed.
During this period the plans for and actual transfer of PWTE, medical facilities, and supplies in the Red or Northern Sector, were accomplished. All personnel and facilities attached to Division, by a rapid orientation of British in the PWTE project and by leaving them a well organized functioning medical service, caused the turnover to be accomplished on the planned target date. On 2400, 12 June, the British assumed control of northern enclosures with its approximately 200,000 POW's.
he discharge of POW's was instituted and by the end of the period, the POW population dropped from 665,068 to 347,724. This figure excludes the two PWTE's operated by the Artillery and includes the bulk transfer to the British. Consequently there was a marked decrease in the daily sick rate. However, since only the physically fit POW's were being discharged, the number of patients remaining in the Infirmary and Hospital beds was almost static. Only gradually did the medical burden recede.
Supply and evacuation facilities which were such major problems during May, ran smoothly and efficiently throughout all of June. There was no shortage of any major item of medical supply.
The reconstituted units of the 106th Division, namely the 422d and 423d Infantry Regiments, the 589th and 590th Field Artillery Battalions, and the 106th Reconnaissance Troop were in training in the vicinity of Nachtsheim, Germany. Satisfactory medical service was rendered through the aid stations. They were supported by a platoon of ambulances from the 592d Ambulance Company and a Hospital Unit of the 64th Field Hospital. The 64th Field Hospital was relieved by a unit of the 53d on 7 June 1945.
A ten chair Dental Clinic was set up in the vicinity of Nachtsheim, to render dental service and to improve the dental health of the troops in this area. The staff was comprised of dental officers from the division as well as those that were placed on detached service from Hospital Units attached to the Division. In Bar Ems, Germany, A Division dental laboratory was established and rendered dental repaid service for all troops in the Division.
A Medical and Surgical Technician's school was conducted for reconstituted units. All Aid Men as well as Medical and Surgical Technicians attended and results of the school as attested for by examination was satisfactory.
During the latter half of June, sick rates in the POW enclosures continued to decrease with the discharge of POW's. Hospital and infirmary beds were very gradually becoming empty. By the month's end seven enclosures were completely evacuated. However, the hospital units of all enclosures except for those in the northern sector were still in operation. They gradually discharged patients to duty to the closest operating enclosure or were evacuated to the POW hospital center. However, on 20 June, the Division took over four empty enclosures East of the Rhine. On that date, all medical facilities were in place and trained cadres of POW medical personnel were either in the new enclosure or enroute. By 25 June when the first POW's arrived at the new enclosures, fully staffed medical facilities were completely set up, supplied and in operation. The hospital capacity was based on 3% of the enclosure population.
On 23 June, all attached medical personnel who helped comprise the teams servicing enclosures were relieved. A new plan of operation was instituted which provided the same standard of medical service but under the control of the Hospital Unit Commander. The revised plan was placed in effect and was operating smoothly by the 23d of June.
Typhoid Fever cropped up in two other enclosures in the Blue Sector. Epidemiologic study revealed that the water supply was the source. IT was corrected and by the month's end a very definite decrease in the occurrence of typhoid was noted. The relatively large amount of diphtheria occurring among the POW's responded to isolation techniques and to improvements in sanitation.
Laboratory facilities were troublesome. Because of deployment, all medical laboratories in this area were removed. However by the acquisition and utilization of much liberated German laboratory equipment augmented by scrounged American material an excellent complete medical laboratory was put in operation in the Division area. It now adequately services both organic units and POW installations.
At the conclusion of this period, the POW population, though reduced to a mere 192,000, still found the operating hospital units working at 75% capacity. Only two hospital units in the Blue Sector were able to close. The others receiving patients from these hospitals were kept busy. However, the decline in bed occupancy is still receding.
Among the organic medical troops redeployment was taking its toll. Approximately 700 medical soldiers were sent to other division. The medical service, however, was not affected.
Medical training in Mayen area progressed satisfactorily. This headquarters conducted a Status of Training examination on 23 June in which all medical troops were tested by a group of 12 officers. Training was found to be satisfactory. The deficiencies noted were recorded and forwarded to the Unit Surgeons for correction. The training section from this headquarters, by close supervision and guidance of training, has been helpful to the under-officered medical detachments. The Collecting Companies of the Medical Battalion during the week of 25 June ran a Medical and Surgical Technician's School.
Medical service in the Division Rest Centers at Namur and Eupen had been operating smoothly.
The Status of the dental health of the command was markedly improved by the efforts of the dental clinic, dental laboratory, aided by the 92nd Mobile Dental Laboratory.
Enclosures No. 25, 26, 27 and 28 are memorandums and changes put out by the Division Surgeon's Office during the month of June.
Early in July the medical units of the Division were stretched from Sinzig, Germany in the north, to Heilbronn, Germany in the south. The organic medical detachments operated dispensaries, infirmaries, prophylactic stations and rendered medical service to all troops assigned, attached and casual - all alone the Rhine River. This was in addition to rendering adequate medical service to the PWTE's and continuing the multiplicity of so-called normal routine duties.
Concerning the German prisoners of war, there was a marked over-all decrease in the sick-call rate, in cases evacuated to the hospitals and in deaths within the enclosures and in the hospitals. The improvement in the health of the POW's was attributed to the marked improvement in sanitation, the adequate preparation and quantity of food, and the improved weather conditions.
The division medical laboratory established at Coblenz, Germany, continued to operate efficiently, servicing adequately not only the prisoner of war, but also the U. S. Forces. Medical supply and evacuation presented no problem.
During this period plans for the turn-over of PWTE's to the French Military was in process. American medical equipment was replaced by captured medical material. On 10 July 1945, the French 10th Division took over the operation of the PWTE's, the medical service and its affiliated hospitals.
In the meantime, the troops of the reconstituted units of the division continued in their training about 16 miles west of Maye(?), Germany at Camp Alan W. Jones. Battalion exercises were in progress. Intensive reviews in first aid, bandaging and splinting aided the corps men immeasurably in their practical knowledge of caring for the sick and the wounded. During this period, there occurred a minor outbreak of gastro-intestinal disturbances. The cause was determined, and the deficiency corrected. DDT spray is effective in fly control. On 10 July 1945, two men were killed and 10 men injured in the 2nd Battalion of the 422nd Infantry Regiment due to misplaced mortar fire. The aid men of the detachment were commended very highly by the medical officers of the 53rd Field Hospital, for the excellent emergency treatment these corps men had administered.
During this period, in addition to the above activities, redeployment was in process. There was an approximate 85% turn-over in the medical personnel. The majority of officers and men were redeployed to the 28th and 35th Infantry Divisions. Throughout the turn-over, the Medical service was adequately covered.
During the last half of the month the entire division, less the 3rd Infantry Regiment, made a motor movement to its new site in the vicinity of Karlsruhe, Germany. The mission of the division was that of occupying the Karlsruhe sector. The clearing station opened as a hospital in the Stadt-Kraukenhaus Karlsruhe. The clearing station also served other troops in the area by daily sick-call and rendered necessary hospital service. The organic medical detachments continued to serve the troops. The training program of the reconstituted unit continued in the new area. The venereal rates of the Division had begun to rise and an intensive venereal contril program was planned and put into effect.
Inclosures 29, 20 and 31 are memorandums put out by the Division Surgeon's office during the month of July.
Inclosure 32, PWTE Situation Map.
Inclosure 33, Medical Historical Reports, Bad Kruezmach PWTE.
Inclosure 34, Medical Historical reports, Remagen PWTE.
Inclosure 35, Medical Historical Reports, Sinzig PWTE.
Inclosure 36, Medical Historical Reports, Coblenz PWTE.
During the period 1 August to 10 August 1945 the medical units of the Division were in operation in the province of Baden, Germany. The Division Clearing Station was located in Karlsruhe and acted as a central clearing point for patients from the various units within the division as well as other 7th Army units located in this vicinity. Evacuation was to the 45th, 103rd or 111th Evacuation Hospital by ambulances of the 331st Medical Battalion.
The 422nd, 423rd Regiments were located in the training areas northeast of Karlsruhe. The medical detachments, beside providing medical services for the organic troops also participated in field maneuvers, stressing problems involving combat teams while evacuation patients. Division artillery was located in the vicinity of Bretten. The medical detachment was concerned primarily with providing medical services for the various Artillery Battalions. Ambulance service was provided by ambulances from the 3321st Medical Battalion.
Division troops were located in the Karlsruhe-Durlach area and the 424th Infantry Regiment was located South of Karlsruhe in the Ettingen area. Its medical detachment in these units were concerned primarily in providing medical care for organic troops.
The number of cases of infectious and contagious diseases during this period were very low. The principle medical problem was the control of venereal disease which showed a marked increase for all units.
At the beginning of the period 11 August to 31 August 1945, the reconstituted units 422nd, 423rd Regiments, 589th and 590th Field Artillery Battalions, completed training and were released to occupational duties.
Venereal Disease continued to increase as a problem. Thousand's of men were in process of transferring into and out of the Division, bringing with them a high venereal disease rate. The Division VD program was sound and renewed efforts at indoctrination of troops was difficult. The Surgeon's Office decide that the easiest and quickest approach to the problem would be to clean up the German community and them them VD conscious.
Plans for an intensive crack down on venereal disease were formulated by the Division Surgeon's Office. These plans culminated in a large mass raid 25 August 1945 by military and civil police. Places of business, restaurants, dance halls and beer parlors were cordoned and entered. All women associating with soldiers in the streets and parks were picked up, jailed, and an examination to determine the presence of absence of venereal disease was made. The large scale round-up lasted 4 hours from 1900 to 2300 and netted 453 German women. IN the city of Durlach alone, 160 women were picked up in one hour. Complete statistics are not available, however, even though no Wasserman reports are in, 26% of the women were found infected with venereal disease and it is estimated that when all reports are in, over 30% will be found infected. IT is an astounding fact that one out of every three women picked up are infected with venereal disease. Those found infected are hospitalized and incarcerated until cured.
In addition venereal disease control programs and pro-stations of the various divisional units were checked. Corrections o deficiencies were made. A substantial decrease in the number of cases of venereal disease is expected. The weekly venereal disease rate per thousand per annum for the last three weeks had dropped progressively from 382 to 270 to 190 - evidence of progress.
During the latter part of this month the medical personnel in the Division was concerned primarily in the processing of troops due to be returned to the U. S. with the Division. This process was complicated by the large number of high point men coming into the Division from other units and the completion of the the medical records of the low point men moving out. A total of approximately 12,000 men were received in the Division with the month while 7,000 men were removed. Medical processing progressed smoothly and effectively.
During the period 1 September to 8 September, the Division, now a category IV unit, received warning orders to move to a staging area pending redeployment to the states. The personnel after the huge turnover in August is almost entirely made up of high point (ASR) men. Medical processing of the personnel received high priority. All personnel were physically inspected. All immunizations were brought up to date. Profiling, status of spectacles, teeth and other remediable defects were reported and acted upon. People with Scabies and/or lice were disinfected and vigorously treated. All personnel who could be safely moved from hospitals to the staging area with the Division, were released and prepared for the move. All pre-staging area medical processing was completed well before 8 September 1945.
The period from 9 September to 13 September was occupied with a rail-motor movement from Karlsruhe, Germany to Camp Luck Strike (near Le Havre, France). The move was uneventful. XXXXXXX processing required at the staging area was begun immediately upon arrival and for the most part was completed within 24 hours.
From 14 September to 17 September it was contemplated now that all medical processing was completed - and only daily routine medical duties were being performed - that the medical units of the Division will soon embark for the states. In the states deactivation of the Divison will occur.
XXX units of the Division have performed well throughout training and combat. The record is one which all are and should be justly proud of.
|This entire Surgeon's report was furnished by John D. Bowen, National Archives Researcher.|
Page last revised
James D. West