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Preface

Field Operations, Table of Contents

PREFACE


The contents of this volume are confined mainly to a discussion of the activities of the Medical Department in the major operations of the American Expeditionary Forces; however, in the preliminary chapters sufficient information of a general character has been given to enable the medico-military student intelligently to appreciate in what manner the Medical Department was fitted to function. In addition to the discussion of the major operations in the text, there is a supplement in the appendix which gives a chronological record of each division, with more or less on trench warfare and minor actions, such as raids, which illustrate the nature of service under such conditions.

In so far as the major operations are concerned, and more especially is this true of the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne operations, since armies and corps are dealt with separately in addition to divisions, the plan to discuss essential military activities of the armies, corps, and divisions each in turn, then to parallel this discussion with pertinent Medical Department activities, has necessitated an inevitable repetition. It is believed, however, the advantages of this method more than counterbalance its faults.

The official documents of the Medical Department vary greatly both in content and in extent, some being full, clear, and explicit, while others are brief, fragmentary, and, as shown by cross checking, occasionally inaccurate. Records of certain organizations are full and complete for some periods and scant for others. This unevenness in the material available prevents uniform thoroughness in the discussion of the Medical Department’s activities in different organizations and, in some cases, in the same organization at different times. It is especially unfortunate that the histories and records of some of the most active organizations, for example, Evacuation Hospitals No. 1 and No. 7, and the Medical Department of the 4th Division are so incomplete that a more thorough discussion of their service than is given herein is impossible.

In order that information might be drawn from as many sources as possible and that each organization receive attention, a sustained effort has been made to use such portion of any text, however fragmentary, as would describe some method in each organization. Allusions, sufficient to indicate their limitations, are made to unusual and individual methods.

In the description of the essential military activities of the American Expeditionary Forces much assistance was obtained from members of the historical section, the Army War College; officers of this section have freely contributed both advice and constructive criticism, for which grateful acknowledgment is now made.

During the several years in which the preparation of the volume has been in progress, the work has been evolutional in its nature. In its earliest stages of preparation, Col. Bailey K. Ashford, M. C., had the work in charge. At that time the conception was to record the Medical Department activities from individual organization viewpoints; that is to say, each operation was to be viewed separately and chronologically only in so far as a particular organization was concerned, such as, for example, a division. When, through the exigencies of the service, Colonel Ashford became separated from work in connection with the history, and was replaced by Lieut. Col. Louis C. Duncan, M. C., Colonel Duncan developed the original conception, as to arrangement of text material, so as to consider each military operation separately, and in connection therewith only so much of organizational activities as were pertinent. In the main, the latter plan has been followed, and in so doing there has been an inevitable disregard of certain portions of organizational histories not required for the purpose. Colonel Duncan became detached from work on the history by reason of his retirement from the service. Subsequent to his separation from duties in connection with the history, so much new material became available as to make it advisable to rewrite the entire volume.

Acknowledgment is made to Messrs. D. Wilbur Parks and Benjamin M. Oppenheim for the construction of the maps used in this volume. In connection with this preparation, Lieut. Frank Steiner, M. A. C., has been of great assistance in checking the maps against original manuscript and other documents. This officer also, assisted by Mrs. L. G. Knowles, has been of no little assistance in the preparation of the text when the necessity for reconciling discrepancies in different official authorities arose.