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Chapter XIII

Field Operations, Table of Contents

CHAPTER XIII

THE OISE-AISNE OPERATION, AUGUST 18 TO SEPTEMBER 17, 1918

THIRD CORPS (28TH AND 77TH DIVISIONS; 32D DIVISION), AUGUST 29-31

On August 6,the date which officially marked the end of the Aisne-Marne operation,1 the First and Third Corps held a continuous front of 11 km. (6.8 miles) along the Vesle.2 Between that date and the commencement of the Oise-Aisne operation, August 18, there was but small movement of this line, but there were several changes in the composition of the troops holding it. On August 7, the 28th Division relieved the 32d, which then went into the corps reserve for 10 days;3 on August 12, the 77th Division relieved the 4th in the First Corps.2 From August 2 to 10 the 6th Infantry Brigade of the 3d Division held a sector on the river line, under the French Third Corps, which was relieved by the American Third Corps on August 5, and then rejoined the remainder of the division in a rest area.4 At this time the transfer of our First Corps to the Woevre was ordered, and control of this front was turned over to our Third Corps, whose front, now occupied by the 28th on the right and by the 77th on the left, extended from Magneux to a point a little west of Bazoches.5

The Corps sector was prescribed in the following field order:

Field Order No. 13

P. C.THIRD ARMYHEADQUARTERS,
12 August, 18—10.00 a. m.

* * * * * * *

3. (a) Boundaries of Corps sector:

Western limit -Pont Arcy—Vieil-Arcy—Dhuizel—Hill 175 (1,200 m. south of Dhuizel)—Hill 159.4 of the P. D. (1,000 m. east of Vauxtin—Les Wattes—Le Bois de la Bruyere (all above points to the 11th Corps)—northwest edge of L’Etang de la Graviere (to 3d Corps)—Mont Notre Dame—Fme Mont Bani (to 11th Corps)—Mareuil en Dole—Seringes et Nesles (to 3d Corps)—Fere-en-Tardenois—Ferme Preaux—Beuvardes—Courpoil—Trugny—Verdilly—Brasles (to 11th Corps).

Eastern limit -Bouconville (to 3d Corps)—Craonnelle (to 5th Corps)—Concevreux—Meurival—Le Grand Hameau—cross roads 300 m. west of Huit Voisins—Courlandon—Magneux—Bond Maison Fme—Courville—Arcis le Ponsart (all of the above to the 3d Corps)—Aougny (to 5th Corps)—Villers Agron Aiguizy (to 3d Corps)—Passy—Verneuil (to 5th Corps).

The Corps sector is divided into a right and left sector. Boundary between right and left sector:

        Jaulgonne (to left sector).
        Roncheres (to right sector).

The operations of the Third Corps (28th and 77th Divisions) in the Oise-Aisne operation are so intimately connected so far as the Medical Department is concerned with the period between the termination of the Aisne-Marne operation, August 5, and the beginning of the Oise-Aisne operation, August 18, that it was deemed best to cover here the short period which intervened between these two operations.


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        Cierges (to right sector).
        Chamery (to right sector).
        Dravegny (to right sector).
        Hill 213.
        Bergerie (right sector).
        Mont St. Martin (left sector).
        Road Fork (2047-2864).
        Fismette (to right sector).
        Hill 175.8.
        Maizy (right sector).

Between August 6 and 18 many raids were made and withstood by the Third Corps, chiefly in the vicinity of Fismes and Fismette, in attempts by both belligerents to hold the river. Machine Gun opposition was stubborn and sustained, causing a constant stream of wounded.5

Action of the Third Corps on the Vesle is divided officially into two parts, the terminal stages of the Aisne-Marne operation ending August 6, and operations beginning August 18, called the Oise-Aisne operation; but so far as the Medical Department was concerned there was no intervening period, as many casualties occurred in the meantime.5 On August 18, General Petain began an offensive (Oise-Aisne) between Reims and the Oise in which our Third Corps participated.6 On September 4, the Third Corps crossed the Vesle with the 28th and 77th Divisions and overcame stubborn opposition on the plateau south of the Aisne, which was reached by the 77th Division on September 6.6 The 28th Division was withdrawn from the line on the following day, and on September 9 the Third Corps was transferred to the region of Verdun, the 77th Division remaining in the line on the Aisne River until September 17, when it also was withdrawn.6

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

Action in front of Fismes represented a great advance in Medical Department organization and teamwork, and this became much more apparent during the latter part of the Oise-Aisne operation.7

Placing the sector under American tactical command made necessary the issuance of operations orders, by corps headquarters. Administrative orders also were received by the corps surgeon, defining railheads, evacuation routes, etc., for men and animals, conditions of circulation and the maintenance of roads, salvage, and other miscellaneous matters. It became the corps surgeon’s custom to go daily to the officer at the head of G-1 to give him concise information concerning the Medical Department situation and to make definite recommendations.8 For successful relationship between the Medical Department and the staff organization the following conditions appeared to him to be necessary: (1) Full advance information for the corps surgeon concerning the battle; (2) reference to him of all medical matters, together with instructions for recommendations, and in case of disapproval a statement for future guidance of the policy on which disapproval was based; and (3) cordial personal relations.8 It was the habit of the head of G-1 to request the corps surgeon to write a draft of the paragraph relating to evacuation, which always appeared in the administrative order.8 Before an attack or large raid or any important


PLATE XIV.


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action which was foreseen, these officers went over the map together, the former explaining as well as possible the condition of roads and the requirements concerning food and ammunition supply.8 Whenever possible he gave the corps surgeon opportunity to take a battle map to his office so that he might study the situation and draft the evacuation paragraph.8 Medical Department needs for forwarding supplies and evacuating the wounded were always fully considered in making up the circulation map and traffic regulations.8

As an illustration of the evacuation paragraph in an administrative order accompanying an operations order, the following is quoted:9

(a) Men: At H hour field hospitals will be established as follows: 77th Division at Chartreuve Fme. 28th Division at Longeville Fme.

As advance progresses, field hospitals will be advanced as directed by the corps surgeon.

Nontransportable and seriously wounded to Evacuation Hospital No. 4, at Coincy.

Fracture cases and slightly wounded to Red Cross Hospital No. 111, at Jaulgonne.

All other cases to Red Cross Hospital No. 110, at Coincy.

Routes from field hospitals as follows:

77th Division by Army road to Coincy by Dole—Sergy—Courmont to Jaulgonne.

28th Division by Coulonges—Fere-en-Tardenois army road to Coincy. By Coulonges—Cierges—Courmont to Jaulgonne.

NOTE.-In case road south of Dole unfinished, then 77th Division to Jaulgonne via Dravegny—Coulonges.

To insure the drafting of sound orders for evacuation it was found necessary for the corps surgeon to see almost daily the army surgeon or his representative in the sector concerned, and also the division surgeons. It was also necessary that he visit frequently the hospitals to which evacuations were being made and inspect the lines of evacuation as far forward as the divisional field hospitals, frequently going in advance of them to the posts maintained by ambulance companies.10 The medical service was so subject to change and to emergency movements that it was never possible to maintain smooth evacuation merely through administrative orders, even though these were published daily, and it was absolutely necessary to change, by telephone messages or personal communications, formal or other orders given to division surgeons.10 In the paragraph of the order quoted it will be noted that it includes the sentence, "As advance progresses, field hospitals will be advanced as directed by the corps surgeon." This was changed later to read "As the advance progresses, the corps surgeon will make such changes in evacuation and hospitalization as may be necessary."10

The arrangement of army evacuation hospitals, on roads convenient to the corps and on railways convenient for evacuation, had been gradually accomplished and was partially the result of the training in staff work which was progressing in the general staffs of both corps and army, including the Medical Department members of those staffs.7

The corps surgeon, Third Corps, reported that he recognized the fact that during the entire Vesle campaign a constructive stage had now been reached.11


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THE 28TH DIVISION

On the night of August 6-7, the 28th Division relieved the 32d Division of the Third Corps in the Fismes sector. It participated in the Oise-Aisne operation from August 18 to September 7, during which operation severe fighting took place in the advance north of the Vesle.12 In greater detail its operations here are recorded as follows:

On August 7, the 2d Battalion of the 112th Infantry attacked and succeeded in completing the occupation of Fismes and gained a foothold in the village of Fismette, but was forced to withdraw from the latter.

On August 8, the artillery placed a destructive fire on Fismette and the battalion, behind a rolling barrage, crossed the stream and after some heavy fighting was able to establish itself in the southern section of the village.13

On August 9, the division had put 11 companies and some machine guns north of the Vesle and on the day following cleared up the woods near Chateau du Diable. Enemy artillery was active, especially around Fismes and Fismette, and airplanes bombed some American positions.13

On the night of August 12-13, the 55th Brigade relieved the 56th Brigade and the French 164th Division, establishing a liaison with the 77th Division on its left and French 20th Division on its right.13 During the 24 hours ending at midnight of the 16th the enemy was active, throwing a great number of gas shells into the front line and high explosives into Arcis-le-Ponsart.14 Enemy activities increased on August 20, and during August 21 Fismes and Mont St. Martin were heavily shelled. His artillery continued harassing fire, using mustard and sternutatory gases during August 22 and 23, and bringing larger guns into action during the ensuing week.14

On the morning of August 27, the enemy attacked and captured Fismette and continued to cover Fismes and roads leading thereto with machine guns, preventing our troops from reaching the river.13

On September 4, the 28th Division crossed the Vesle and progressed about 3.5 km. (2.1 miles) on its entire front, capturing Fismette, Courlandon, Baslieux, and Le Grand Hameau. By the evening of September 5, the troops were at the head of a ravine sloping toward the Aisne, and on the two following days continued to push the enemy back, despite strong resistance at Glennes, enemy airplane activity, and counterattacks in force. Hostile artillery was now very active, using a great number of mustard gas shells.14 The division was withdrawn on September 8, and moved to the Argonne Forest.15

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

AMBULANCE COMPANIES

Headquarters of the ambulance company section of the sanitary train had been moved from Le Rousset to Chateau-Thierry on July 24, and from that point to Cohan on August 11. At the latter place all ambulances were pooled, to be distributed as required. Here also was established a depot for spare parts (tires, etc.), which proved of great value. The triage at this time was at Cohan; this situation facilitated ambulance service. The road from


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St. Gilles to Fismes had been cleared and soon thereafter the road from Fismes to Villette, just in time to meet the greatest emergency experienced up to this time in the sector. Within 24 hours 1,094 patients were evacuated by this road to the triage at Longeville Ferme.16

Ambulance Company No. 109 had moved to Chateau-Thierry July 26, maintained a dressing station at Mont St. Pere July 29-31, and sent out litter squads to serve the troops. On August 13 the company proceeded to Cohan and then, having received animals and animal-drawn ambulances, was detailed to the service of the artillery brigade. Because of the isolated positions the batteries often occupied, these vehicles proved of peculiar value where motor ambulances would have been useless. The company remained on this duty until the division was withdrawn, meanwhile sending details of litter bearers to serve the infantry.17

Ambulance Company No. 110 had moved from Le Charmel on August 3, proceeding to Chery-Chartreuve, where it arrived August 9. It maintained there a dressing station until August 13, evacuating the wounded of the 56th Brigade under exceptionally difficult circumstances. One of the dressing stations of the brigade was located at Fismes, from which place the Germans had not yet been expelled and near whose western limits their machine-gun nests continued active.18 The enemy also occupied Fismette and had direct observation at close range of the only evacuation route available from this station. On the morning of August 10 the ambulance company made needed repairs to the bridge over the Ardre and advanced three ambulances into Fismes.19 This precipitated artillery and machine-gun fire directed against the building in front of which the vehicles were being loaded with the more seriously wounded. Shelling was so heavy that it became advisable to return patients to the protection afforded by the cellar utilized by the dressing station, but after this had received five direct hits, patients were removed by ambulances operating individually, until all had been evacuated. The station then was closed.20

On August 13, the company moved to L’Abbaye’ d’Igny, where, though it was in reserve, it operated a dressing station for the 56th Brigade, also in reserve.20 An additional dressing station, sent out from this point to St. Gilles, was operated from August 18 to September 6.20 Headquarters of the company moved to Cohan on August 20, and on September 6 an advance dressing station was established at Magneux in conjunction with one operated by Ambulance Company No. 112. During the latter service three members of Ambulance Company No. 110 were gassed and two of its ambulances were destroyed by shell fire.21

Ambulance Company No. 111 moved from Le Charmel to Dravegny on August 3, remaining there until August 13.22 During this period the company served the 32d Division and the artillery units between Dravegny and St. Gilles, as well as the 28th Division. On August 8, an advance dressing station was established at St. Gilles, but it had to be abandoned next day because of shell fire.22 During this period ambulances made daily trips into St. Gilles and evacuated the wounded from that area.22 The company reestab-


436

lished its station at St. Gilles on August 12, and on the following day opened another at Courville, both of which were much harassed by enemy shells. At the former six men were gassed.22 On August 20 the company moved to Cohan, a detachment from Ambulance Company No. 112 taking over the station at Courville.22 The company now was engaged chiefly in evacuation from the triage operated at Cohan by Field Hospital No. 109, but it also conducted a small dressing station on the Chery-Chartreuve—Fismes road southeast of Mont St. Martin.23 When the triage moved to Longeville Ferme the ambulances of this company continued its evacuation service and also assisted in the evacuation of dressing stations established for the 109th and 110th Infantry regiments.23

Ambulance Company No. 112, with headquarters at Chateau-Thierry, had been engaged in clearing the divisional triage at that point during the Aisne-Marne operation, in maintaining a dressing station, and in furnishing litter bearer details to serve the 112th Infantry. On August 12, the company moved to Cohan, where it assisted in evacuation of the triage, meanwhile maintaining a dressing station at Mont St. Martin.24 It relieved Ambulance Company No. 111 in the operation of the dressing station and a dispensary for skin diseases.24 For several days it operated the last-mentioned formation and four dressing stations with but three medical officers, until, on September 5, the entire company moved to Courville, whence it sent out dressing-station parties to Villette and Baslieux.24 In conjunction with Ambulance Company No. 110, it also conducted an advance station at Magneux. From these stations in less than 24 hours 1,094 patients were evacuated to the triage at Longeville Ferme.21 On September 8, when the company was relieved, it discontinued its stations and assembled at L'Abbaye d’Igny.17

After participation in these engagements the ambulance units were assembled at Pierry, where they arrived in the interval September 10 to 12. They then moved to Andernay, where they remained in rest until September 28.25

FIELD HOSPITALS

In the 28th Division, by this time, the functions of the four field hospitals were well differentiated. One of them operated as a triage and cared for the nontransportable wounded, another for gassed cases, a third for the sick, while the fourth was held in reserve to "leapfrog" if need be and thus to serve in its turn as a triage when the advance of troops made this exchange of duties advisable. During the latter part of the attack along the Vesle the 28th Division triage was operated in a church at Cohan and hospitals for the sick and gassed were at Reddy Ferme, on the road between Coulonges and Cierges. When the advance made this possible the reserve hospital was sent forward to Longeville Ferme to function as a triage, and the triage at Cohan, as soon as it had disposed of its nontransportable wounded, then went into reserve. In the final phases of the action ambulance stations were maintained by the 28th Division at Fismes.7


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Field Hospital No. 109 had moved to Cohan on August 7, and there for a month operated a triage despite the frequent shelling and bombing of the town.26 While on this service it received 3,723 patients, utilizing a system evolved during its previous service at Le Charmel, which proved adequate to meet all emergencies.27 After triage service was taken over by another hospital of the division, Field Hospital No. 112, September 5-7, this unit then cared for the seriously wounded until it was ordered closed.28 On September 11 it was moving on trucks to Dormans and on the following day by train to Moussy. While in this sector the American Red Cross and the Young Men’s Christian Association were active in furnishing patients with delicacies and comforts obtainable from no other sources.27

Field Hospital No. 110 had moved to Courmont on August 4 and there for a month cared for gassed and psychiatric patients, of whom it admitted here 1,926, returning 650 to duty.29 On September 3 it received the divisional sick from Field Hospital No. 111, which was ordered to move. Two days later, Field Hospital No. 110 proceeded with its patients to Reddy Ferme, remaining five days. While at this place it received 1,060 patients, returning to duty 70 per cent of that number.29 On September 10, this hospital, having received orders to move to Dormans, loaded 11 trucks and was en route within 23 minutes.30

Field Hospital No. 111 moved from Fontaine Tige on August 8 to Jaulgonne and thence to Courmont, where it had been preceded by Field Hospital No. 110.31 A site was selected in rear of the latter organization, tents set up, and patients received immediately. On August 31 the unit evacuated its remaining patients and moved to Reddy Ferme, a group of buildings about 2 km. (1.2 miles) north of Cierges. Accommodations for 100 patients were provided here in buildings, and tentage was pitched in an adjoining field. The unit remained at Reddy Ferme until Septemuber 11, when it moved to Moussy.32

Field Hospital No. 112 operated at Chateau-Thierry in a triple capacity, functioning as the divisional triage, caring for the seriously wounded, and acting as evacuation hospital for the division until August 5.33 Its admissions then rapidly diminished until August 9, when it transferred its remaining cases to Army Red Cross Hospital No. 111. In the interval between July 25 and August 9 it received 4,931 patients and performed 206 major operations.33 The hospital now proceeded to Cohan, in whose neighborhood it occupied buildings that had been but little damaged, and pitched tentage on a line 9.1 meters (30 feet) from the road.34 This site presented several advantages—an abundance of good water, thick sod, level ground, and buildings suitable for kitchen and operating-room purposes. In order of location from the main road into the field occupied by the unit were the receiving ward, shock ward, operating tent with X-ray plant, three convalescent tents, and one store tent. Beyond and on the same line with these, but facing in the opposite direction, were tents for personnel.34 Here the unit was charged only with the care of seriously wounded patients whose condition demanded immediate operation. Attached to it were four operating teams, a shock team, a fracture specialist, nurses, and an X-ray plant.35 As comparatively few pa-


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tients were received here, on August 19 the unit broke camp and moved to Courmont, where it remained in rest until August 31, when it advanced to Reddy Ferme and from there, on September 4, to Longeville Ferme.36 Here arrangements were made to care for 300 patients and to operate the divisional triage. Certain clerks were designated to read entries on diagnosis tags to other clerks who recorded the required data on field medical and register cards, respectively.37 Daily reports were formulated of casualties admitted and of changes. Just beyond these clerks were placed tables for surgical and shock cases, and beyond these were tables for fracture cases. Close at hand were splints, dressings, and other supplies appropriate for the particular work of each section. Considerable space was equipped for sitting, slightly wounded patients, and for patients on litters awaiting evacuation. Litter squads were posted at the reception door, with a clerk who checked evacuations at the exit from the building. In the evacuation service of the hospital and parked in its vicinity were all the vehicles of Ambulance Company No. 111. Slightly wounded patients were sent to Army Red Cross Hospital No. 111, at Chateau-Thierry, and to hospitals at Coincy.38 Those needing immediate operation were sent to Field Hospital No. 109, at Cohan, gas and psychoneurotic cases to Field Hospital No. 110, and the sick to Field Hospital No. 111, at Reddy Ferme. In the 24 hours following daybreak of September 6, 1,190 patients were received.38 All were given suitable treatment, but evacuation facilities being inadequate the Third Corps sent 12 ambulances to assist in this service. The maximum rate of admission was attained on the morning of September 7, but by noon of that day the last evacuation had been accomplished.39 In the 24 hours following noon of September 6, 269 patients were admitted. Admissions from September 6 to 9, inclusive, were 1,809, 9 cases proving fatal. On September 8 the hospital began its movement to Andernay, via Dormans and Moussy.39

THE 77TH DIVISION

On August 12 the 77th Division relieved the French 62d and the American 4th Divisions on the front of the Third Corps, along the line south of and parallel to the Vesle, from Mont Notre Dame through St. Thibaut and Villesavoye in the direction of Fismes.40 Its frontage was about 5 km. (3.1 miles). Though the Oisne-Aisne operation commenced on August 18, it was not until the first days of September, when the enemy had begun to retire, that the 77th was ordered to advance.40 On September 4 it crossed the Vesle, and Bazoches and Perles were taken.40

On September 5 the line was advanced to the general line from east to west: Le Bois de la Vicomtee, Bois des Genettes to Bois de Mauchamp—Pierre Laroche—La Butte de Bourmont—along Revillon—Glennes Road.

On the 6th the right flank remained practically in position on account of resistance. The left was advanced to position on road Vieil-Arcy, Villers-en-Prayeres.

On the 7th the division on its right (28th) was relieved by the French 62d Division, and on the following day the 77th, in conjunction with the French 62d Division, attacked and made small gains. No attacks were made


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again until September 13, when the 77th Division was to advance its right and occupy La Petite Montagne. The advance elements of the division reached positions at La Petite Montagne, but as the French 62d Division did not make the advance as expected, the line was withdrawn.41 When the division was relieved by Italian troops on the night of September 15-16 the line ran from Vieil-Arcy through Villers-en-Prayeres southeast to point south of Glennes.40

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

Battalion aid stations in this sector were often scarcely established before the troops moved forward, and it was necessary to collect the wounded at some central point whence the ambulance companies could move them.42 Patients in shock were given some treatment at battalion aid stations, and this was carried out in a progressively more thorough manner at successive stations to the rear.43 Often, because of heavy shelling, it was impossible to remove the wounded to an advance dressing station before dark. This was especially so in this sector. Liaison was maintained by runners.43

AMBULANCE COMPANIES

In this, as in other sectors in which the division operated, two ambulance companies were employed and two held in reserve, the latter "leapfrogging" when an advance was made.42 Ambulances were distributed to a number of battalion posts. The time required for removal of a wounded man to a field hospital was usually from three to eight hours.43 In this operation the divisional ambulances were supplemented by United States Ambulance Service Sections No. 578 and No. 611, and by ambulances from the corps train.44

FIELD HOSPITALS

The triage and the hospital for the seriously wounded were located at Chateau de la Foret and at Chery-Chartreuve.45

Two permanent triage units were organized in this division from officers and personnel of the two field hospitals designated to receive surgical cases, and these units alternated in this service.42 Surgical, shock, and gas teams were organized for service at the triage, officers and enlisted men alike being carefully selected. Two of the latter were assigned to each officer, the group of three remaining a permanent unit.46 The operating capacity of the triage hospital varied according to requirements, but two operating teams usually were kept employed. Other selected enlisted men were permanently assigned to certain duties in the discharge of which it was thought they would be especially efficient; e. g., application of splints or bandages, administration of morphine or antitetanic serum, etc. Likewise details were made and by permanent assignment were used for such duties as clerical work, policing, salvage, litter bearing, and administration of food to patients.46 The operating room detail consisted of men who had been hospital orderlies in civil life. During this operation additional teams were assigned to the field hospitals, consisting of surgeons especially qualified for treating particular types of cases; e. g.,


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abdominal wounds, chest wounds, etc.45 Equipment of the triage was selected from those of two field hospitals, disregarding the supply tables, and was supplemented by an abundance of articles which experience proved were most needed; e. g., litters, blankets, "front parcels" antitetanic serum, and splints.46 Established in conjunction with the triage were the field hospitals receiving slightly wounded, sick, and gassed patients, and no cases were held at that point (the triage) except such as were considered nontransportable.

The group of four field hospitals of the 77th Division at Chateau de la Foret was admirably organized for a relatively quiet period, but for more active service other dispositions appeared advisable.27 Therefore, when the enemy stopped active shelling of Mareuil-en-Dole, the triage (a field hospital) of this division was placed in a chateau near Chery-Chartreuve, the hospitals for gassed and sick patients near Nesles, and the reserve hospital at Ferme les Bons Hommes. Ambulance stations were placed at Bazoches and Fismette as soon as the advance made this possible.7

When field hospitals operated in the specialized manner above described, it was impossible to hold any of them in reserve. The normal capacity of each of these hospitals was 216 beds, but on several occasions patients more than double this number were cared for. The gas hospital accommodated 216 patients.48 Shock cases received especial care, with resultant saving of many lives. Special collapsible tables, improvised from broken litters and easily transported, were provided for their use. When en route to evacuation hospitals these patients were surrounded with hot-water bottles, heated shell cases, or any other available articles capable of retaining heat, and they often reached their destination in better condition than they were an hour or so after being wounded.43 All wounded patients were evacuated immediately, if possible, but of the 2,700 gassed patients admitted in this action along the Vesle, 50 per cent were returned to duty.47 All cases of gassing in this sector were attributed to dichlorethylsulphide, and half of them evidenced burns.47 The average time for recovery in this division of cases returned to duty from field hospitals was from one to three days, including the gassed and the sick,48 but some cases were retained one or two weeks, during relatively inactive periods. Only two cases of psychoneurosis were received at the field hospitals, one was returned to duty and the other evacuated, but a number of men claiming to be suffering from "shell shock" appeared at the battalion aid posts.48

EVACUATION IN REAR OF THE THIRD CORPS

At the end of the Aisne-Marne operation, the evacuation route from the Vesle near Fismes lay through the Third Corps sector by way of Jaulgonne to Chierry or Chateau-Thierry. This long distance was shortened by the establishment of Evacuation Hospital No. 3 at Crezancy, on August 12, but as temporary bridges had to be utilized, traffic conditions in the Marne area continued difficult and delayed evacuations. The situation was greatly improved, however, when Mobile Hospital No. 2, Evacuation Hospital No. 4, and Army Red Cross Evacuation Hospital No. 110 were established at Coincy. The great


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east-and-west highway to that point, through Coulonges, Nesles, and Fere-en-Tardenois, into which led the fine north-and-south roads from the battle field, facilitated access to these hospitals.49

On August 19 arrangements were made for expansion of the barge service, increasing the number of barges from the three then in operation to six—the Paris group was discontinued before these additional boats were received. In order that barges might load at Chateau-Thierry instead of at Azy, efforts were renewed to have removed a demolished bridge which blocked travel on the Marne. Evacuation Hospital No. 3 and Field Hospital No. 41 were now ordered to report to the First Army for duty.50

During the advance from the Vesle to the Aisne, with ambulance stations for the 28th at Fismes and for the 77th at Fismette and Bazoches; with very advanced stations for the 77th at Blanzy-les-Fismes and Vauxcere, evacuation was comparatively easy to the triage of the 28th Division at Longeville Ferme and to that of the 77th to Chery-Chartreuve. With fine, direct roads leading to the two large evacuation hospitals at Coincy and to those at Chateau-Thierry (for the slightly wounded), provisions for evacuation were as satisfactory as could reasonably be desired.9

THE 32D DIVISION

From August 7 to 23 the 32d Division had been in the reserve of the Third Corps. On August 25 it was assembled in the vicinity of Pierrefonds, in reserve of the army group, and came under control of the French Tenth Army. During the night of August 26-27 it was moved to the vicinity of Tartiers in the reserve of the French Thirtieth Corps.51

On the night of August 27-28 this division, relieving the French 127th Division, took over a sector north of Soissons and approximately 2 km. (1.2 miles) west of Juvigny, and at 7 o’clock on the 28th of August was ordered to attack.52 No reconnaissance had been possible,53 but the 63d Brigade moved forward promptly and reached its objective, the railroad track west of the town.53

The entire French Tenth Army attacked on the 29th but no advance was made.54 On the morning of August 30 the French 59th Division, on the right, advanced and at 1 p. m. the 32d Division was ordered to advance its right flank, in liaison with the 55th Division on its right. The Germans appeared to be retiring.55 Plans were made at once to capture Juvigny by a turning movement of the right, while the left kept liaison with the French 66th Division on the left.56 When the attack was launched the left flank was held up by heavy fire from the northeast while the right flank moved forward and forced its way through the ravine to a position to the south of Juvigny, with its right flank partially enveloping that town to the east. The left flank moved forward in part along the low ground to the west of Juvigny and reached a position to the north of the town, and in this way the two forces practically surrounded the village.56

The enemy’s counterattack on the left was easily repulsed; troops from the reserve of the right wing entered the town from the southwest and, after


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severe fighting, cleared up the place of enemy.56 In this operation the division sustained many casualties, especially on the left.57

On the morning of August 31 the front line of the 32d Division was in advance of the divisions on the right and left; that on the left had made no advance on August 30 and was 1 km. (0.62 mile) in the rear; that on the right about half a km. (0.31 mile). A general attack was launched at 4 p. m.,preceded by a triple barrage covering a depth of 1.5 km. (0.93 mile).58 The progress of the troops continued until reports indicated that the advance had reached the Terny—Sorny—Bethancourt road. Some of the right elements of the division were held up by machine-gun nests.58 Casualties, although not light, were small considering the magnitude of the operation and the stubborn resistance of the enemy.59

Some improvements were made in the position of advance elements on the morning of September 1, and on the night of September 1-2 the 32d Division was relieved by the 1st Moroccan Division,59 passing into the reserve of the Thirtieth Corps and then into that of the French Tenth Army.

It was next sent to a rest area near Joinville and remained at this place until September 22, when it again started north to join the Fifth Army Corps for the coming Meuse-Argonne operation.60

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

Regimental and battalion aid stations were established at or near the control posts of the various headquarters, in cellars, dugouts, or with other cover. In some instances regimental stations were very near the advance ambulance dressing stations. Bearer details were supplemented by 50 men from Ambulance Company No. 128 (horse-drawn), then in reserve, 30 men from Ambulance Companies No. 125 and No. 127, by bandsmen, and by details from the line when necessary. Instructions were now issued to the effect that bandsmen should not be used for this service if at all avoidable.61

AMBULANCE COMPANIES

On August 26 headquarters of the ambulance section and two of its companies were near La Vache Noire, but later, on the same day, the entire ambulance section of the sanitary train was advanced to Vic-sur-Aisne. On August 27 a dressing station was established in cellars at Tartiers, with ambulance head at Bieuxy.61 On September 2 the station at Tartiers was closed and a new one opened at Valpriez Ferme, with ambulance head at the railroad, west of Juvigny. Litter bearers went from this station to the aid stations in and beyond that town. The largest number of wounded transported in one day was 1,429, during the 24 hours ending September 1.61 Because of the great number who had to be cared for, some sick and slightly gassed cases accumulated at the dressing station, but this congestion was overcome by the aid of 12 trucks obtained from the division quartermaster. All ambulances were unloaded at the triage at Montois and thus released for immediate return. With the exception of one ambulance damaged by shell fire on August 29, all these vehicles were operated continuously.61


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Motor Ambulance Companies No. 125, No. 126, and No. 127 were all on duty during the entire period, none being held in reserve. The 128th Company (horse drawn) had two ambulances with each artillery regiment and four at the triage, for short hauls to field hospitals. After August 29 the commanding officer of this company, with the remainder of its personnel, was stationed at headquarters to render emergency service at a relay, sorting, and dressing station for troops in reserve. During this period upward of 3,100 cases from the 32d Division and other troops were transported by the Ambulance Section.62

FIELD HOSPITALS

On August 27, at the beginning of the operation, the divisional triage was established at Montois by personnel from Field Hospital No. 127, and was operated as an entirely distince formation. About 182 meters (200 yards) from it Field Hospital No. 127 cared for seriously wounded cases, these two institutions together having some 500 beds. In the same locality Field Hospital 126 received gas cases. Field Hospital No. 128 remained at St. Etienne, received the sick, psychoneurotic, slightly gassed, and slightly wounded. Field Hospital No. 125 was held in reserve at Vic-sur-Aisne, its commissioned and enlisted personnel assisting in the services of other hospitals.62

The duties of the triage were described as follows:

(1) Classification and grouping of casualties into two categories, transportable and nontransportable.

(2) Further classification and distribution as follows:63 Gunshot wounds, (a) slight, (b)severe; psychoneuroses; gassed; injured; sick.

(3) Rendition of minor surgical service and emergency medical treatment in order to make transportable those patients who otherwise could not be moved.

(4) Readjustment of splints and bandages when necessary. (At least one officer and frequently two were assigned to this duty.)

(5) Administration of antitetanic serum if there was no evidence on the patient’s tag or forehead that this already had been given.

(6) Preparation of hot drinks and food and their administration as indicated.

(7) Preparation of accurate and complete records.

In this engagement the admissions recorded by the triage were the following:62

Gunshot wounds:

 

Severe

605

Slight

1,103

Gassed

573

Sick

329

Psychoneuroses

116

Injured

43

Dead when received

7


Total


2,776

The average time consumed in transporting patients to the triage was approximately three hours, and the time from this point to hospitals in the rear was from one-half to two hours, according to the distance.64


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Field Hospital No. 127 treated only nontransportable surgical cases, its personnel being reinforced by Naval Surgical Team No. 1, Shock Team No. 116, and an X-ray team, with five other operating teams organized from the medical personnel of the division. Of 284 patients sent to this hospital, 7 died before arrival, 40 died before operation, and 39 subsequent to operation. The remaining 215 patients, presenting 419 wounds, were operated.62 The classification of these injuries, which typify those incurred in open warfare, was reported by the surgical consultant for the division as follows:65

 

Wounds in 215 cases treated

Wounds in 34 deaths which occurred

 

Wounds in 215 cases treated

Wounds in 34 deaths which occurred

Soft parts

170

17

Abdomen, without injury to hollow viscus

11

2

Soft parts, associated with injury to large blood vessels

7

1

Head and brain

15

2

Fractures:

 

Amputation

8

1

Femur

14

6

Cord injuries:

 

Humerus

15

1

Partial

3

2

Radius, ulna, tibia or fibula

37

9

Complete

1

0

Other bones

46

1

Symptoms present but no injury to cord found

4

0

Knee joints

5

0

Collapsed eyes

5

0

Elbow joints

5

1


Total

 


419


52

Combined chest and abdominal

6

4

Chest, aspirating

41

5

Abdomen, with injury to hollow viscus

25

10

Few patients were kept in this hospital more than three days; habitually they were evacuated as soon as transportation was available. One of the greatest difficulties encountered here was that of caring for the continuous stream of patients which arrived at night, for this unit was without exterior lights and harassed by frequent air raids.63

The triage was closed on September 5, and on the day following Field Hospital No. 127 was cleared and closed in preparation for movement to the Joinville area.64

Field Hospital No. 126 received 460 gassed cases, none of which was fatal. In marked contrast to conditions experienced in the preceding operation, practically all of these cases presented positive evidence of gassing, and some were affected severely. Slight cases were transferred to Field Hospital No. 128. The latter admitted 498 cases of sickness, neuroses, slightly gassed, and slightly wounded.66

EVACUATION IN REAR OF THE 32D DIVISION

Evacuation from Montois to St. Remy was effected by 10 motor ambulances from Evacuation Hospital No. 5 and by trucks of the sanitary train. On August 29 an American hospital train arrived at La Vache Noire and removed 249 slightly wounded, gassed, and postoperative cases. On September 1 a French train in American service at the same point received 44 postoperative cases.66

As an instance of the difficulties encountered by the chief surgeon of the Paris group, in his attempts to provide hospital facilities for prospective battle casualties of a division presumably going into action, and especially when the


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destination of the division could not be discovered by him, the following account is given:67

On August 23 the chief surgeon, Paris group, noticing that many trucks were passing through La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, inquired of G-4 and of the French whether an American division was to move. No information was then obtainable, but that night it was learned that the 32d Division had been loaned to the French and would leave at daybreak for an unknown destination. As French hospitalization in rear of the divisions, though made as readily available to our wounded as to their own, had proved inadequate in the offensive toward Soissons, the chief surgeon made every effort to learn the intended destination of the 32d Division in order that an evacuation hospital might be sent with it, and an officer representing him was ordered to join the division with instructions to accompany it and to inform his chief by telephone, telegram, or courier as soon as he could ascertain the probable sector which the division would occupy.68 The division surgeon reported on the same day that the division was moving toward Compiegne, but he could furnish no other information, nor was any obtainable from any other source.69 Evacuation Hospital No. 5 at Chateau-Thierry was directed to transfer its patients without delay to Red Cross Hospital No. 111, to pack and to prepare for a rapid movement.70 The following day efforts were made to obtain trucks for this movement, only 15 then being available, but no others could be secured until daybreak on the 27th, when 60 more were furnished by the French.71 Meanwhile, on August 25, the chief surgeon learned from his assistant whom he had ordered to accompany the 32d Division that it had halted in the Compiegne forest west of Soissons and would probably remain there for a day or two. The chief surgeon reported as follows:70 "Taking a large war map I tried to reach some conclusion concerning the place in the line which the 32d probably would occupy. The subject was discussed with nearly all the staff officers present, but no two opinions were alike. All we could do was guess." Communications with the French Tenth Army disclosed nothing, and no information was obtainable whether the division would enter the lines east or west of Compiegne or near Soissons. After a careful estimate of the situation in the light of such information as he had received from his representative with the 32d Division, the chief surgeon, Paris group, ordered Evacuation Hospital No. 5 to Villers-Cotterets at daybreak on the 27th.71 On the afternoon of the same date he learned that the 32d had entered the line near Soissons and that Evacuation Hospital No. 5 had reached its destination and was preparing to receive patients.71 The representative of the chief surgeon, A. E. F., at G-4, G. H. Q., had been authorized to order hospital trains to Villers-Cotterets as required, and arrangements were now made to have two sent promptly the following day if requested.71 On August 28 Evacuation Hospital No. 5, which had reached its destination on the night of August 27, was operating 600 beds which were being filled rapidly, thus seriously taxing the available hospital beds, but a hospital train arrived and relieved apprehension of hospital congestion.71 Surgical service was prompt for the hospital had erected its operating and X-ray tents first and had most of its ward tents ready


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when patients began to arrive.71 In advance of this hospital, work was rapid, and evacuation to it prompt, for, though there was some road congestion, the movement of ambulances was so well controlled that casualties were quickly cleared from more advanced formations.72 In the rear the hospital train service continued adequate, though after the first train had arrived others could be obtained only through the chief surgeon of the French Tenth Army.72 On the 29th patients arrived in unexpectedly large numbers, and by the 30th the operating teams in Evacuation Hospital No. 5 were greatly fatigued, although the chief surgeon of the Paris group had supplied a mobile surgical unit, two operating teams, and one shock team to the 32d Division, to be used with the hospital for nontransportable patients.72 Several fresh teams, including a shock team, were therefore sent from Evacuation Hospital No. 4 at Coincy and Red Cross Hospital No. 111 at Chateau-Thierry. Evacuation Hospital No. 5 was now working to capacity, but very satisfactorily.72 It was learned that French resources were limited, and had not an evacuation hospital arrived it would have been necessary to send our patients to the rear for operation, as were French patients from a neighboring hospital, with consequent danger of increased mortality from gas bacillus infection.72

At Villers-Cotterets, Evacuation Hospital No. 5 admitted 2,167 patients from the 32d Division, of whom 1,388 were surgical, 411 gassed, and 368 medical. Patients operated here numbered 676 and the number of deaths among those admitted was 12.73

By August 31 the facilities for care of the wounded in the Medical Department units draining its field hospitals (which averaged about 100a day) were amply sufficient.74 Evacuation Hospital No. 4 and Red Cross Hospital No. 110 were at Coincy and Red Cross Hospital No. 111 at Chateau-Thierry. An occasional train was required for the two first mentioned units, but barge service was adequate for Red Cross Hospital No. 111.74 After a few days’ rest, Evacuation Hospital No. 5 moved to the vicinity of Neufchateau. Shortly afterwards Evacuation Hospital No. 4 transferred its patients to Red Cross Hospital No. 110 and likewise prepared to move, followed by Red Cross Hospital No. 111 a few days later.74

On September 8 word was received that the Paris group would soon be broken up. The same date the chief surgeon of the group received orders assigning him to Headquarters First Army. His work was then turned over to an assistant. A few days later all American troops were withdrawn from this area.74

REFERENCES

(1) G. O. No. 16, W. D., April 5, 1921.

(2) Final Report of Gen. John J. Pershing, September 1, 1919, 36.

(3) Outlines of Histories of Divisions, U. S. Army, 1917-1919, prepared in the Historical Section, the Army War College, 40. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College.

(4) Ibid., 7.

(5) G-3 Journal, Headquarters, Third Army Corps, A. E. F., from April 1, 1918, to December 12, 1918.

(6) Final Report of Gen. John J. Pershing, September 1, 1919, 37.


447

(7) Report of Medical Department activities, Third Corps, A. E. F., by Col. James L. Bevans, M. C., corps surgeon, undated, 22. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(8) Ibid., 23.

(9) Annex 4 to F. O. No. 18, Headquarters, Third Army Corps, A. E. F., undated.

(10) Report of Medical Department activities, Third Army Corps, A. E. F., by Col. James L. Bevans, M. C., corps surgeon, undated, 24. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(11) Ibid., 21.

(12) Outlines of Histories of Divisions, U. S. Army, 1917-1919, prepared in the Historical Section, the Army War College, 33. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College.

(13) Report of operations, 28th Division, undated.

(14) Extracts from General Pershing’s Cabled Communiques, relating to the 28th Division. Copy on file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(15) Special report of operations, 28th Division.

(16) Report of Medical Department activities, 28th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part I, 17. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(17) Ibid., Part I, 15.

(18) Ibid., Part I, 7.

(19) Ibid., Part I, 8.

(20) Ibid., Part I, 9.

(21) Ibid., Part I, 10.

(22) Ibid., Part I, 12.

(23) Ibid., Part I, 13.

(24) Ibid., Part I, 14.

(25) Ibid., Part I, 18.

(26) Ibid., Part I, 25.

(27) Ibid., Part I, 27.

(28) Ibid., Part I, 26.

(29) Ibid., Part II, 2.

(30) Ibid., Part II, 3.

(31) Ibid., Part II, 7.

(32) Ibid., Part II, 8.

(33) Ibid., Part II, 21.

(34) Ibid., Part II, 22.

(35) Ibid., Part II, 23.

(36) Ibid., Part II, 24.

(37) Ibid., Part II, 25.

(38) Ibid., Part II, 27.

(39) Ibid., Part II, 28.

(40) Outlines of Histories of Divisions, U. S. Army, 1917-1919, prepared in the Historical Section, the Army War College, 58. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College.

(41) Special report, 77th Division, September 3-17, 1918. Advance from the Vesle to Aisne, undated. On file, General Headquarters, A. E. F., Washington, D. C.

(42) Report of Medical Department activities, 77th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, 12. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(43) Ibid., 14.

(44) Ibid., 25.

(45) Ibid., 20.

(46) Ibid., 18.

(47) Ibid., 15.

(48) Ibid., 16.


448

(49) Report of Medical Department activities, Third Corps, A. E. F., by Col. James L. Bevans, M. C., corps surgeon, undated, 4. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(50) Exhibit "O" to report on activities of G-4-B, medical group, fourth section, general staff, G. H. Q., A. E. F.: Report of medical operations at Chateau-Thierry and vicinity, June 1 to September 10, by Col. Paul C. Hutton, M. C., undated, 51. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(51) Exhibit to report of Third Army on the participation of organization in battles, affairs, combats, skirmishes, and the like; undated, 39. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(52) Special report of operations of the 32nd Division, August 27 to September 2, 1918, Northeast of Soissons, with the French Thirtieth Army Corps, French Tenth Army, undated, 2. On file, with Records of G-3, General Headquarters, A. E. F., Washington, D. C.

(53) Ibid., 8.

(54) Ibid., 4.

(55) Ibid., 5.

(56) Ibid., 15.

(57) Ibid., 16.

(58) Ibid., 22.

(59) Ibid., 23.

(60) Outlines of Histories of Divisions, U. S. Army, 1917-1919, prepared in the Historical Section, the Army War College. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College.

(61) Report of Medical Department activities, 32d Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part I, 6. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(62) Ibid., Part I, 7.

(63) Ibid., Part II, 65.

(64) Ibid., Part II, 64.

(65) Ibid., Part I, 9.

(66) Ibid., Part I, 8.

(67) Exhibit "O" to report on activities of G-4-B, medical group, fourth section, general staff, G. H. Q., A. E. F.: Report of medical operations at Chateau-Thierry and vicinity, June 1 to September 10, 1918, by Col. Paul C. Hutton, M. C., undated, 53. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(68) Ibid., 53, 54.

(69) Ibid., 54.

(70) Ibid., 55.

(71) Ibid., 56.

(72) Ibid., 57.

(73) Report of Medical Department activities, Evacuation Hospital 5, A. E. F., by Maj. T. F. Leary, M. C., commanding officer, undated, 6. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(74) Exhibit "O" to report on activities of G-4-B, medical group, fourth section, general staff, G. H. Q., A. E. F.: Report of medical operations at Chateau-Thierry and vicinity, June 1 to September 10, 1918, by Col. Paul C. Hutton, M. C., undated, 59. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.