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Chapter XIX

Field Operations, Table of Contents

CHAPTER XIX

EVACUATION FROM THE ZONE OF THE ARMY

From evacuation, mobile and other hospitals at Toul, Sorcy, Trondes, Souilly, and Vaubecourt patients were sent by hospital trains to base hospitals located in the advance and intermediate sections.

HOSPITAL TRAINS

There were available at this time 20 American hospital trains, but these not being considered sufficient, in addition, 45 trains were rented from the French.1 The latter were of various classes. A few were the regular traines sanitaires, somewhat like the American trains but smaller. Others were temporaires, merely assemblages of passenger coaches provided with some medical equipment and personnel. Still others were improvisÚs, having no special type of cars or of equipment. The last were similar to what in American regulations were designated "trains for patients," and were used like them for the transportation of the less serious cases. As the distance from the front to base hospitals was short, it was thought that this use of these trains would be justifiable, and this proved to be the case. French trains generally were employed for the short hauls to base hospitals near the front, and the heavy, more fully equipped American trains for the longer hauls to hospitals farther to the rear.1

Heretofore Is-sur-Tille had been the only regulating station, but on September 5 another regulating station was established at St. Dizier, which soon became the more important of the two in so far as evacuation of the wounded was concerned. It was planned to evacuate wounded from the southern face of the salient to Neufchateau, Bazoilles-sur-Meuse, Vittel, and Contrexeville; and from the western face, to Chaumont, Rimaucourt, Langres, and, if necessary, to Dijon.2

Details of the method employed in operating hospital trains were as follows: Reports regarding available bed space (i. e., bed allotments) in hospitals in the advance section were made by the chief surgeon of that section to the regulating station at Is-sur-Tille; in the same way bed allotments in the intermediate and base sections were given to that station by the chief surgeon, Services of Supply, who was also the chief surgeon, A. E. F. The regulating officer at Is-sur-Tille would, in turn, allot bed space in any or all sections to the regulating station at St. Dizier. The duties of the regulating officer at Is-sur-Tille were otherwise solely those of secondary evacuation; that is, evacuation from base hospitals in the advance section to other base hospitals in the intermediate and base sections.2

In accordance with the plan just explained, 19 hospital trains were assigned to Is-sur-Tille and 41 to St. Dizier. The railheads from which trains departed during this operation were: Toul, Sorcy, and Trondes-Pagny, on the Toul front; Souilly, and Vaubecourt, on the Verdun front.


522

 As it proved, not all the trains available were needed or were utilized. But 57 train trips in total were necessary to evacuate all the sick and wounded, many trains making several trips. Twenty-nine trips were made by the seven American trains and twenty-eight by the French trains. From September 12 to 25 an average of four trains left the various railheads daily. American trains made round trips in an average of three and one-half days. On the 57 train trips 20,998 patients were carried.

The daily record of departures of trains is given below:3

From-

September-

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

Total

Toul

3

4

3

3

4

4

4

4

---

1

2

1

4

1

38

Sorcy

---

1

---

1

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

2

Trondes-Pagny

---

---

---

1

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

1

Souilly

---

1

---

1

---

1

---

1

---

1

1

1

3

1

11

Vaubecourt

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

1

---

1

---

1

1

1

5


Total


3


6


3


6


4


5


4


6


---


3


3


3


8


3


57

From the foregoing it is evident that the great majority of evacuations were from Toul, due, of course, to the fact that the majority of patients entered the hospitals in and near there. Train evacuations were begun almost as soon as patients began to arrive at the hospitals. During the official period of the operation, September 12-16, inclusive, 17 trains left Toul, carrying 539 patients, while 5 trains left other evacuation points, with 725 patients.

The base hospitals to which patients were carried and the number of trains to each are shown in the following table:3

 

Trains

Base hospitals Nos.

 

Trains

Base hospitals Nos.

Advance section

 

 

Intermediate section

 

 

Bazoilles

12

18, 42, 46

Allerey

6

25, 26, 49

Beaune

4

47

Blois

1

43

Chaumont

9

15

Limoges

1

13, 24, 28

Dijon

1

17

Mars

2

14, 35, 48, 68

Langres

3

53

Mesves

1

50, 54, 67

Neufchateau

2

66

Vauclaire

1

3

Rimaucourt

3

52

Vichy

1

1, 19, 115

Vittel-Contrexeville

9

29, 31, 32, 36

 The great majority of these hospitals were among the original 50 organized by the American Red Cross.

Patients evacuated to September 19 were classified as follows:4

 

Wounded

Sick

Gassed

Officers

Allies

Prisoners

Total

Sept. 12

862

224

0

25

---

14

1,145

Sept. 13

2,503

0

0

34

2

194

2,733

Sept. 14

574

424

60

8

0

11

1,077

Sept. 15

1,594

436

0

54

1

158

2,243

Sept. 16

1,070

473

1

35

0

51

1,630

Sept. 17

1,474

317

1

42

1

55

1,890

Sept. 18

244

1,140

2

25

0

31

1,442

Sept. 19

948

1,026

54

38

33

13

2,112


Total


9,269


4,060


118


261


37


527


14,272


Total to Sept. 25


11,248


9,501


260


453


131


613


22,206


523

 The number of evacuations listed above is practically double the number of casualties reported immediately after the battle, not including the dead. The apparent discrepancy partly lies in the fact that the official dates of the operation were September 12-16, inclusive, and additional casualties occurred after the latter date, occasioned in great part by artillery fire. Then, and this was of more importance numerically, evacuations included the sick, and they were about one-half as numerous as battle casualties. The influenza epidemic was beginning, and as a matter of fact the few days following the principal struggle saw more men in hospital because of sickness than because of wounds, figures to September 25 showing almost as many sick as wounded. These figures include also sick patients from the six divisions held in reserve in the same area, and from other troops—some 200,000 men.

On the whole, evacuation by rail in this offensive was eminently satisfactory, as more transportation was available than was actually needed. The event proved that the 20 American hospital trains could have transported all the sick and wounded.

REFERENCES

(1) Evacuation system of a field army, by Col. C. R. Reynolds, M. C., undated, 27. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(2) Exhibit "S" to report on the activities of G-4-B, medical group, fourth section, general staff, G. H. Q., A. E. F.: Report on hospital train evacuations, American regulating station, Is-sur-Tille. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(3) Exhibit "S" to report on the activities of G-4-B, medical group, fourth section, general staff, G. H. Q., A. E. F.: Report of hospital evacuation section, Regulating Station "B," St. Dizier, Part IV, 4. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(4) Ibid., 11.