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Headquarters, 134th Medical

Contents

HEADQUARTERS 134TH MEDICAL GROUP
APO 403, U S ARMY

1 July 1945
         
SEMI-ANNUAL REPORT TO THE SURGEON GENERAL


I RESUME OF PREVIOUS ACTIVITY AND EARLY HISTORY

II OPERATIONS FROM 1 JANUARY 1945 TO 30 JUNE 1945

III SUPPLY

IV REDEPLOYMENT

V HOUSING, WATER SUPPLY; BATHING FACILITIES; LAUNDRY

VI SPECIAL SERVICES

VII INFORMATION AND EDUCATION PROGRAM



I RESUME OF PREVIOUS ACTIVITY AND EARLY HISTORY

The 134th Medical Regiment was formed as a National Guard Unit in September 1940 by a cadre of personnel from the 102d Medical Regiment. During the period from September 1940 to 27 January 1941, personnel were selected from numerous applicants to bring the regiment up to peace time strength. At the time of Federalization, 27 January 1941, the Regiment consisted of the following companies:

Headquarters and Service Company at Albany, New York
1st Battalion Headquarters at Corning, New York
2d Battalion Headquarters at Syracuse, New York
Company A (Collecting) at Corning, New York
Company D (Ambulance) at Syracuse, New York
Company E (Ambulance) at Syracuse, New York
Company F (Ambulance) at Ticonderoga, New York
Company G (Clearing) at Albany, New York
Company H (Clearing) at Corning, New York

The Regiment was kept on the alert at the various locations in New York until 11 February 1941 when the companies moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On 1 May 1941 the Regiment was increased to war time strength receiving 433 enlisted men from the induction center, Camp Upton, New York and activating three new companies, namely, Company B (Collecting), Company C (Collecting) and Company I (Clearing).

In May 1942 the Regiment was reorganized on authority from the War Department designating the following units:

Headquarters and Service Company
1st Battalion
Company A (Collecting)
Company B (Collecting)
Company C (Collecting)
Company D (Clearing)

2d Battalion
Company E (Collecting)
Company F (Collecting)
Company G (Collecting)
Company H (Clearing)

The Regiment was kept below authorized strength for months. Three cadres were provided and many filler replacements were sent to other Medical units. Cadres were formed to activate the 30th Medical Regiment at Camp Barkley, Texas, the 69th Medical Regiment at Camp Maxey, Texas and the Medical Detachment of an Ordnance Battalion at Camp Sutton, North Carolina.

During October and November 1942 the Regiment received approximately 1100 recruits from reception centers. This marked the beginning of the various phases of training which was hoped would lead to an eventual overseas assignment.


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The Regiment participated in the North and South Carolina maneuvers of the First United States Army in 1941, the Second Army maneuvers in 1942 and again in 1943.

It was during the 1943 maneuvers that the Regiment was reorganized into a Medical Group. Reorganization was effective 15 September 1943 and the following units were activated on that date:

Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 134th Medical Group
Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 179th Medical Battalion
Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 180th Medical Battalion
461st Medical Collecting Company
462d Medical Collecting Company
463d Medical Collecting Company
464th Medical Collecting Company
465th Medical Collecting Company
466th Medical collecting Company
621st Medical Clearing Company
622d Medical Clearing Company
664th Medical Clearing Company

On 19 November 1943 the Group Headquarters and attached units less 461st Medical Collecting Company and 466th Medical Collecting Company were alerted to move to Camp Tyson, Tennessee. Units arrived at Camp Tyson (Staging Area) on 1 December 1943.

Units entrained separately to the staging area at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 134th Medical Group arrived at Camp Kilmer on 16 January 1944 and departed for England on the British Passenger Liner “Andes” on 9 February 1944. The ship arrived at Liverpool, England on 17 February 1944 and the personnel disembarked and traveled by train to Henley-on-Thames. After spending exactly four months in England the unit was shipped to France arriving in Normandy on 23 June 1944. The operations of the 134th Medical Group on the continent was divided into three phases:

Phase I - The period from 23 June 1944 to 20 September 1944. The mission of the group during this period was supervision and control of all First United States Army Clearing Stations, including two Exhaustion Centers. The group handled 10,871 exhaustion cases during this period.

Phase II - The period from 20 September 1944 to 17 December 1944. The mission of the group during this period was the responsibility for all evacuation within a specific vertical sector, operation of an Army clearing Station.

Phase III - The period 17 December 1944 to 31 December 1944. This was the period of the German counter-offensive against the First United States Army.


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II OPERATIONS FROM 1 JANUARY 1945 to 30 JUNE 1945

The 1st of January found the Group supporting only V Corps plus 30th Division of XVIII Corps. The relief from the mission of supporting the other units of XVIII Corps was accompanied during the middle of January by the relief from attachment of the 423d and 457th Collecting Companies. This left besides the Headquarters Detachment, the,

47th Field Hospital
617th Medical Clearing Company
179th Medical Battalion
452d Medical Collecting Company
546th Ambulance Company
583d Ambulance Company
45th Field Hospital
180th Medical Battalion
422d Medical Collecting Company
464th Medical Collecting Company
482d Medical Collecting Company
575th Ambulance Company

The headquarters was located in Verviers, Belgium. The 179th Medical Battalion continued support of the left flank units and the 180th Medical Battalion the right flank units. V corps and 30th Division were holding the northeast corner of the German Ardennes salient. Casualties both enemy and friendly, continued rather heavy, particularly in the Monschau-Elsenborn area. The enemy potential had apparently spent itself but the situation was still uncertain. Army Headquarters and a large number of service units including reserve portions of units of the group had been withdrawn to a concentration area west of Liege. Hospitalization for the sector was limited until the end of January to the 2d Evacuation Hospital in Eupen and the 2d platoon, 47th Field Hospital in Spa. One platoon of the 45th Field Hospital was in operation in the XVIII Corps sector. Extensive enemy air and artillery activity continued for several weeks, the city of Verviers being subjected to long range artillery tire, V-bombs and aerial bombardment. No casualties were suffered among the group personnel, however, during that period except minor ones from flying glass. It was during this period that the city of Liege received its most intensive bombardment by V-1. By the latter part of January the Ardennes bulge had been virtually eliminated and a full scale assault by V Corps commenced 30 January to secure the Roer River dams, the task upon which it had been engaged when the German offensive commenced. Resistance and casualties were fairly light. The 2d platoon, 45th Field Hospital was opened in Kalterherberg, Germany, 4 February but it received very few patients. During January there was extremely heavy snowfall which suddenly thawed practically overnight around the first of February. This together with the very great traffic entailed in moving all units forward for the attack caused complete destruction of many roads, including the main highway from Eupen to Malmedy, and terrific damage to all others. This tended to slow the offensive and intensified the evacuation problem beyond all expectations. For example, evacuation from Butgenbach to Malmedy, which formerly required 30 minutes now consumed not less than four hours. This condition existed


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throughout the satire area. Arrangements were made to fly serious casualties across the critical zone by Liaison plane. This was not utilized to the fullest possible extent and in future similar situations, advance plans should include such a provision. Again, during this period, was high-lighted the defect in equipping ambulances with such weak springs. A great number of these vehicles was continuously on the deadline because of the almost impassible roads. A heavy concentration of units was provided V Corps for the assault on 10 February, for example, when Group Headquarters again moved to Malmedy, there were six infantry divisions and one armored division to be supported. By 22 February the [dams] had been reached and the 1st platoon, 47th Field Hospital was opened in Wirtzfeld where it supported the 28th, 69th and 106th Divisions. Now the offensive across the Roer commenced on the northern flank and drove steadily eastward until it reached the Rhine. V Corps did not participate in the main attack, but moved slowly until the main resistance in the north had been broken. Because of the distance back to evacuation hospitals was so great, a clearing platoon and a field hospital platoon was opened at Wollseifen near the Roer River dams, 6 March to receive all patients. Casualties were extremely light. Group Headquarters moved to the same site 9 March, and three days later moved to Ahrweiler about 10 miles from the Rhine River near the Remagen bridge. The 2d platoon, 45th Field Hospital was opened in Ahrweiler and the 3d platoon, 47th Field Hospital was opened in Munstereifel about the same time evacuation hospitals were opened in Zulpich and Euskirchen. V Corps’ mission was purely that of mopping up in the area west of the Rhine and most of the admissions to the platoon at Ahrweiler came from the III Corps bridgehead. The situation remained static for sometime while the III and VII Corps developed a buildup in the bridgehead and further preparations ware made for drives by the other armies across the Rhine. The 47th Field Hospital was relieved from attached to the Group 21 March. This left the following alignment of units:

Headquarters 134th Medical Group
617th Medical Clearing Company
Headquarters 179th Medical Battalion
452d Medical Collecting Company
546th Ambulance Company
45th Field Hospital
Headquarters 180th Medical Battalion
482d Medical Collecting Company
575th Ambulance Company

On 22 March V Corps received a mission in the bridgehead and the 3d platoon, 45th Field Hospital was moved across Leubsdorf. The situation at this time is best described in S-3 Summary #6, this headquarters, 24 March 1945, copy attached as Exhibit “ ”. On 27 March Group Headquarters moved across the Rhine to Neuwied. The 128th Evacuation Hospital had been in process of moving to the same vicinity for several days, but during this period the nearest evacuation hospital was on the left bank of the Rhine at Bad Neunahr. From October first up until this time, with only one brief exception, field hospitals had been used solely to receive non-transportable surgical cases. Now and continuously thereafter through the remainder of the campaign it became necessary to use them as evacuation hospitals. The


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first of such installations was opened at Montabaur. All patients from forward of these sites were evacuated to the field hospital, the standard field hospital cases were admitted, and patients not requiring immediate attention were further evacuated by other ambulances and vehicles. By keeping bed space well forward to hold patients during the peaks of flow it was possible to maintain evacuation routes of unprecedented length, with a minimum number of ambulances. The distances of clearing stations from evacuation hospitals occasionally reached 250 miles. No use was made of air evacuation for this purpose during this period. On 26 March a large Prisoner of War enclosure containing Allied personnel was overrun at Diez near Limburg. At the same time a large German military hospital was reported at Montabaur and several of the same in the vicinity of Limburg. These were the first instances of a problem which was to grow increasingly larger from then on. A policy of detailing supervisory medical detachments was initiated then and has been followed with little modification since. This problem of administering overrun installations grew quickly into such proportions that, in the rapid situation which developed simultaneously, it became necessary to leave a coordinating headquarters in the rear area. Therefore, all evacuation responsibility was turned over to the 180th Medical Battalion together with all Ambulance Companies and responsibility for overrun installations was given to the 179th Medical Battalion together with the collecting Companies and the Clearing Company. This arrangement proved very satisfactory. Four days after opening of headquarters in Neuwied, the V corps spearhead had moved so rapidly that it was necessary to move headquarters to Weilberg, a distance of 46 miles. The following day headquarters moved 50 miles more to Neustadt and the day afterward another 50 miles to Wolfhagen. This operation was in the course of the First Army sweep around the Ruhr pocket in which V Corps covered the army right flank. Field hospitals were established in succession at Wetzlar, Neustadt, and Wolfhagen and used throughout to clear all patients. The move of the field hospital to Wolfhagen was of such emergency nature that it had to be done by immobilizing completely every unit of the Group because no augmentation of trucks was sufficiently available. However, this completely paralyzed all units for any purpose except movement of patients and can only be done during a similar emergency. The pocket was closed and after a few days of consolidation and build-up V Corps struck due eastward. On 10 April group headquarters and a field hospital platoon moved to Hann Munden, 35 miles from Wolfhagen. The following day Group Headquarters moved 25 miles to Heiligenstadt, and the next day 12 April moved 68 miles further to Weissensee. At this point another field hospital platoon was opened. Resistance in the general vicinity of Leipzig now slowed the thrust but on 15 April Headquarters moved again with another field hospital platoon to Naumberg, 44 miles. During this time it was possible to keep field hospital platoons available for moving forward by turning their patients who could not yet be evacuated over to a clearing station. The Commanding Officer, 617th Medical Clearing Company devised an organization within his company which made it possible for him to operate four separate installations for this purpose. Evacuation hospitals could be moved forward only at a much slower pace and never until the 2d Evacuation Hospital arrived at Naumberg


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was there an evacuation hospital within 70 miles of V corps’ front. Except for the necessity for augmentation for transportation the field hospital platoon served admirably in this function. After cleaning up the sector west of the Mulde River and making junction with the Russians at Torgau, all sector lines were shifted southeastward and on 30 April Group Headquarters moved 134 miles south to Grafenwohr. The corps’ mission was one of holding only, and casualties were negligible. In spite of the long distance to the evacuation hospitals it was feasible to limit the function of the field hospital platoon established at Weiden and at Schwarzenbach to the normal admission of non-transportable surgical cases. A limited mission into Czechoslovakia was assigned to Corps and was accomplished with very little resistance and on 6 May Group Headquarters moved to Pilsen, 62 miles away. This date also marked the end of hostilities and the end of further tactical deployment of the Group, except for taking over support in additional areas in Czechoslovakia further south than the original sector. The 109th Evacuation Hospital was established in Pilsen and the 67th Evacuation Hospital, after performing a special function in handling Prisoner of War patients, was opened in Marienbad. One field hospital platoon was opened in Susice to receive patients from the southern area and the other two platoons of the field hospital opened in Pilsen in the dual-capacity of a Convalescent Hospital and an air holding unit.


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III SUPPLY

In general, the supply situation for the period of this report may be summarized as being excellent for all critical items, except in the specific instance of springs for ambulances 3/4 ton. Shortages of minor items of supply were always in evidence, but in no instance was the combat efficiency of any unit impaired.

Subsistence for all troops of the command has been consistently superior. Class B rations were generally available and only during the later phases of the German campaign were troops subsisted on 10-1 rations and C or K rations. Class I truckheads were generally located in a central area and were within easy reach of all units. Distribution of rations to units were made at Battalion Headquarters and in the case of field hospitals by the hospital headquarters for their separate platoons.

The supply of gasoline and oil to all units was sufficient at all times. Class III truckheads were usually located well forward and their supply to using units was never exhausted in contrast to the drive through France to the Siegfried line when the gasoline shortage became acute. In most cases each separate company and headquarters detachment drew their own gasoline requirements, consolidating only when units were in close proximity to one another.

One of the critical problems confronting the maintenance of unit motor transportation was the breaking of springs on ambulance, 3/4 ton Dodge, and the inability of supporting ordnance maintenance units to replace them. As many as seven ambulances have been deadline within on company at one time due to broken springs and inability to get replacements, this situation became increasingly serious and is not as yet remedied. As the mileage on the unit motor vehicles increased the number of vehicles deadlined for major repair and lack of replacement springs reached serious proportions. Most unit vehicles reached a 25,000 mileage during this period, ordnance maintenance service west of the Rhine was excellent, but east of the Rhine supporting ordnance units were never closer than 100 miles except following V-E Day. The great distances separating our units from ordnance maintenance companies greatly impaired their working efficiency. Battalion motor sections supervised the motor maintenance of their companies and assisted them in 2d echelon repair, as sell as consolidating the drawing of spare parts and accessories for them.

Throughout the period of this report the availability of organizational items or equipment was excellent. Class II and IV depots were in close proximity to all units, except in the later phases of the battle of Central Germany. Battalion supply sections consolidated the drawing of all Class II and IV supplies for units under their battalion, except field hospital. Field Hospital headquarters drew Class II and IV supplies for all platoons and acted in the same capacity as a battalion supply section.

After crossing the Rhine River the problem of supplying overrun German hospitals and hospitals within stalags and Displaced Persons Camps became the major job for all supply sections. Soon after crossing the Rhine river the 134th Medical Group assumed responsibility for operation of a large German


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medical depot and proceeded to operate it as an issue point to all units and detachments operating German hospital installations.


IV REDEPLOYMENT

The problem of redeployment within the Group has not been difficult. All attached units within the Group were in Category IV with the following exceptions:

53d Medical Battalion II
684th Medical Clearing Company II
*586th Motor Ambulance Company II
*590th Motor Ambulance Company II
452d Medical Collecting Company II
617th Medical Clearing Company I
595th Motor Ambulance Company II
45th Field Hospital II

*Denotes Colored Troops

It was impossible to make readjustment of enlisted men in the colored units but changes in assignment of officers was accomplished.

The 684th Medical Clearing Company and the 617th Medical Clearing Company had quite a few medical officer candidates and it was impossible to relieve them on a Group basis due to the lack of suitable replacements. However it is believed that this problem will be worked out satisfactorily on a Corps level.

V HOUSING, WATER SUPPLY; BATHING FACILITIES; LAUNDRY

The Group Headquarters managed to establish itself for the most part in buildings and therefore problems of weather, sewage and waste disposal, insects, bathing facilities were at a minimum. Laundry was handled through Quartermaster Laundry units and civilian help in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Czechoslovakia.

VI SPECIAL SERVICES

Special services section has been very active during the European Campaign providing regularly scheduled moving picture performances wherever the troops were billeted. Days Rooms have been established and well stocked with books, magazines, small games and writing material.

PX supplies have been issued periodically and the men have not been without such supplies during the entire campaign. Since V-E Day a regular schedule of softball and volleyball games has been established and the men have taken a great interest in these sports.

There is however a definite lack of equipment and this has caused a big problem with the Group.


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VII INFORMATION AND EDUCATION PROGRAM

1. The activities of the I & E Program for the first months of this period were devoted to self study and correspondence courses offered by U.S.A.F. I. After cessation of hostilities plans were outlined for the establishment of the Army Education Program within this Group. Our mission, supervision of German hospitals in Czechoslovakia, prevented the members of our units from taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Army Education Program. Plans have been promised, therefore, consisting of the maximum number of subjects possible included in a unit curriculum such as organized athletics, individual study courses, group study courses and orientation.

2. Since members of this command have been unable to attend many of the classes at a definite scheduled hour, the majority of the courses have been conducted under the group study policy. Study halls have been designated by each battalion and field hospital which will be under the supervision of the battalion and field hospital I & E Officers, where qualified instructors will be on duty the entire day. Personnel are permitted to use the study halls at any free time through out the day and study individually or in groups and have available at all times the complete assistance of the instructors on duty. An athletic and recreation program is in effect consisting of competitive meets and inter-unit activities, including movies and tours when possible.

3. Preliminary surveys were conducted in order to determine fields and subjects of major interest. On the basis of the survey the subjects for the Unit's Education Program were selected. The subject of greatest interest was basic Photography. Requisitions were submitted to Third United States Army for the texts required on the 19 May 1945. These requisitions were resubmitted to XXII Corps I & E Section.

4. A special 6 week information and orientation program has been followed by the units of this Group (Schedule attached). A weekly training schedule, consisting of a minimum number of military subjects, organized athletics, recreation and competitive sports was submitted to V Corps.

5. Under the supervision of the athletic officer and his assistants, Volleyball and softball tournaments are being carried out. A recreation and study room has been set up for the enlisted men of Group. Current magazines and newspapers are available as well as information and orientation materials.

6. It is expected that the readjustment of personnel within the command will be completed shortly and as soon as practicable after this readjustment a revised training program will be put into effect which will include the maximum amount of command school activities, so that the greatest benefits may be derived from the A. E. P.


[signed]
THOMAS G. FITZGERALD
Lt Colonel, MC
Commanding

1 Incl:
March Route of 134th Med Gp
D + 17 to VE-Day
[withdrawn]

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 112, Entry 54A, 34th Medical Group, 1945, Box 225