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326th Airborne Medical Company, 101st Airborne Division, in the Battle of the Bulge

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

326TH AIRBORNE MEDICAL COMPANY, 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION,

IN THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE


HEADQUARTERS

101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION

APO 472, U.S. Army

After Action Report
Belgium and France
17-28 December 1944

Annex #17
 

326TH AIRBORNE MEDICAL COMPANY
APO 472, U.S. Army


INDEX

I.          NARRATIVE:  Defense of Bastogne.

II.         CASUALTY REPORT.
                        1.         Killed in Action.
                        2.         Wounded in Action.
                        3.         Missing in Action.
 
III.       AWARDS AND DECORATIONS REPORT.

IV.       OFFICER ROSTER.

V.        MATERIAL LOSSES.

VI.      SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS. [withdrawn]

Map


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I.          NARRATIVE: DEFENSE OF BASTOGNE

 
The 326th Airborne Medica1 Company was alerted 17 December 1944 and ordered to move by motor convoy from CAMP MOURMELON, FRANCE (MR, Mourmelon, T, 12 F/2 1/50,000 (535652) to the vicinity of BASTOGNE, BELGIUM (MR, France and Belgium, 1/50,000 (556585) to provide the second echelon medical care and evacuation for the Division. The personnel and equipment of the company was loaded and moved out, crossing the IP at 2000 hours, 18 December 1944, arriving after a night march at the destination by 1000 hours 19 December 1944. The Division Clearing Station of the 326th Airborne Medical Company was immediately set up near HERBARIMONT, BELGIUM, (MR France and Belgium, 1/50,000 (P448632) and began receiving patients by 1100 hours 19 December l944.

The Commanding Officer, MAJOR WILLIAM E. BARFIELD, 326th Airborne Medical Company, Georgia, and LT COLONEL DAVID GOLD, Division Surgeon, New York, made a reconnaissance and contacted the Commanding Officer of the 64th Medical Group to arrange for the evacuation of the wounded from the Division Clearing Station to the 107th Evacuation Hospital which was located at LIBIN, BELGIUM (MR France and Belgium 1/50,000, (225561), and at the same time secured added ambulance support from that organization.

At 1030 hours, 19 December l944 the medical company’s jeep-ambulances, under the direction of the medical company’s evacuation officers were dispatched to the Regimental and Battalion Surgeons in and around BASTOGNE, BELGIUM as follows:  327th Glider Infantry Regiment, 4 jeeps, 2nd Lt WILLIAM DENNIS, PC, Pennsylvania. 50lst Parachute Infantry Regiment, 5 jeeps, 1st Lt GEORGE V. EVANS, BI, Illinois.  502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4 jeeps, 1st Lt HENRY BARNES, MAC, Michigan. 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4 jeeps, 1st Lt CHARLES S. PHALEN, JR., MAC, Wisconsin. These jeep-ambulances were used to transport the wounded from the Battalion Aid Stations to the Division Clearing Station.

At 1630 hours, 19 December l944 the Commanding Officer formed a convoy of five (5) ambulance loads’ of patients, the first evacuation from the Division Clearing Station and lead the way to the 107th Evacuation Hospital, LIBIN, BELGIUM. On the return trip the bridge located near SPRIMONT, BELGIUM (433620) was found to be blown. Because of this and due to the dense fog and fluid conditions of the enemy the Commanding Officer returned with the ambulance convoy to the 107th Evacuation Hospital to remain overnight.

 The evacuation of casualties from the regiments to the Division Clearing Station continued until 2130 hours, 19 December l944.

At 2130 hours, l9 December l944, two (2) vehicles loaded with casualties were sent from the Regimental Aid Station, 501st Parachute Infantry, BASTOGNE, BELGIUM to the Division Clearing, under the direction of Captain CARLOUS D. LANCASTER, DC, New Mexico, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. These vehicles and personnel had not returned at 2330. At 2400, 19 December 1944 Lt PHALEN, the evacuation officer of the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment, attempted to take casualties to the Division Clearing Station. He was stopped by the 327th Glider Infantry out-post guards and was informed that the Germans had apparently captured or over-run the Division Clearing Company. Lt PHALEN returned to 50lst Parachute Infantry Regiment Aid Station and reported the incident to the Surgeon. 


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A statement as follows was made by Captain JACOB PEARL, DC, 326th Airborne Medical Company, New York, who escaped from the Division Clearing Station when it was over-run at 2230 hours, 19 December 1944:

“At approximately 2230, 19 December l944, an enemy force estimated at six (6) armored vehicles consisting of half-tracks and tanks, supported by one hundred (100) infantry soldiers proceeding southwest from the direction of HOUFFALIZE, BELGIUM on route N 26 and attacked the Division Clearing Station of the 326th Airborne Medical Company. The Division Clearing Station was sprayed by machine-gun from the half-tracks for a period of approximately fifteen minutes.  The tents in which medical treatment was being carried out was (sic) struck by the machine-gun fire. Six (6) division trucks were set afire and lighted the area so that the red crosses on the Division Clearing Station tents were visible to the enemy. Machine-gun fire continued after the trucks were burning and after the nature of the installation was visible to the enemy. Following cessation of machine-gun fire an enemy officer approached the station and questioned Lt Colonel DAVID GOLD, Division Surgeon, the senior officer present. After a discussion with the enemy officer, the Colonel surrendered the 326th Airborne Medical Company to the enemy. The enemy allowed the organization thirty minutes to load the equipment and personnel on the vehicles and then carried them back to the German lines.”

The following were captured at the time by the enemy: Eleven (11) officers and one hundred and nineteen (119) enlisted men of the 326th Airborne Medical Company, three (3) officers and two (2) enlisted men of the Division Surgeon’s Office, and four (4) officers and three (3) enlisted men from Team No. 15, 3rd Auxiliary Surgical Group. One (1) enlisted man from the Medical Company, Pfc Henry G. Sullivan, was killed. A total of eighteen (18) officers and one hundred and twenty-five (125) enlisted men were lost. Two (2) medical officers, two (2) dental officers, four (4) medical administrative officers and approximately one hundred and thirteen (113) enlisted men were left in the organization. At 2130, 19 December 1944, two (2) vehicles loaded with casualties were sent from the 501st Parachute Infantry Regimental Aid Station, BASTOGNE, BELGIUM , to the Division Clearing Station, under the direction of a dental officer. These vehicles and drivers had not returned at 2330. At 2400, 19 December 1944 the evacuation officer with the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment discovered that the Medical Company had been captured. This information was passed on to the Regimental Surgeons at 0400, 20 December 1944.

At 0630, 20 December 1944, 1st Lt EVANS, 326th Airborne Medical Company, with the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment contacted the Division G-4 and confirmed the capture of the 326th Airborne Medical Company. At this time the problem of medical treatment and evacuation was discussed. The G-4 stated that medical assistance had been arranged for through the VIII Corps Surgeon and that the 429th Medical Collecting Company would set their collecting station in tents at JORDENVILLE, BELGIUM (475541) and would evacuate the casualties of the Division.

The necessity of an ambulance collecting point in BASTOGNE was considered essential and was established in the 501st Regimental Medical Detachment Air Station by Lt EVANS and was manned by the medical officers and personnel of that unit. 


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The evacuation of casualties to the 429th Collecting Company began at 1100, 20 December 1944 and continued until 1700, 20 December 1944, at which time, because of extremely cold weather and inadequate lighting the station was moved to MOLINFAING, BELGIUM (392446) and set up in a school building. Rapid ambulance evacuation to this new location was greatly hampered as a result of fog and motor convoys on Route N 15 between BASTOGNE and MOLINFAING.

By 2330, 20 December 1944, the enemy had succeeded in cutting the BASTOGNE-NEUFCHATEAU road, the last route of evacuation to the rear.  The wounded being held at the 501 Regimental Aid Station, ambulance collecting point, awaiting evacuation, mounted to one hundred and twenty-nine (129) litter cases and twenty-eight (28) walking wounded by 0630, 21 December l944.

The question of more space and medical personnel arose and was discussed by Lt EVANS with the Division G-4. It was agreed that Major MARTIN L. WISELY, 327th Glider Infantry Regimental Surgeon, Virginia, would call in to supervise the medical officers and personnel of the 81st Airborne AA Battalion, 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion, l0lst Airborne Division Artillery and 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion. These units were to form a temporary second echelon medical clearing unit, or hospital, for the treatment and care of the wounded in the besieged town. This clearing station was opened and began receiving wounded at 1030, 21 December 1944. Normal medical care and procedure were carried out.

Medical supplies, except for whole blood and Penicillin were plentiful because of an abandoned Army Medical Supply Depot in BASTOGNE. Despite the impossibility of resupply, enough essential supplies were on hand to meet the situation. A few vitally needed medical items in addition to the regularly planned resupply were dropped by parachute on the 23d, 24th, 26th, 27th, December.  A much needed supply of Penicillin was flown in by mans of L-1 (Piper Cub) at 1830, 25 December 1944.

On 25 December 1944, Major HOWARD F. SERREL, MC, Third Army, a qualified surgeon was flown into BASTOGNE in an L-l (Piper Cub). This surgeon, assisted by the medical personnel did 15 surgical procedures in thirty six (36) hours. Again on 26 December 1944 at 1600 hours a surgical team consisting of Major LAMAN SOUTTER, MC, Third Army, Captain STANLEY P. WESOLOWSKI, MC, Third Army, Captain FOY H. MOODY, MC, O-511937, Third Army, Captain EDWARD N. ZINSCHLAG, MC, Third Army, Captain HENRY M. MILLS, MC, Third Army, and four (4) enlisted surgical assistants were flown in by a CG-4A

Although the buildings which were being utilized as hospital  wards were under constant artillery lire, periodic bombing and strafing, the medical personnel worked untiringly and devotedly until the siege was lifted.  A total of nine hundred and forty three (943) American, and one hundred aria twenty five (125) German casualties were collected and taken care of at the temporary second echelon medical clearing unit and at the 501st Parachute Infantry Regimental Aid Station.

At approximately 0700, 27 December 1944 a road into BASTOGNE was opened.  At 1800, 27 December 1944 a convoy of twenty-two (22) ambulances loaded with the more seriously would and ten (10) 2 ½ ton trucks loaded with  



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slightly wounded were evacuated to the 635th Clearing Company at VILLERS d'AVANT, ORVAL, BELGIUM (264163), and at 1900, 27 December 1944, all casualties were evacuated. Routine ambulance evacuation was established and maintained by the 495th Ambulance Company from 28 December 1944 on.

On 28 December 1944 the 60th Field Hospital was attached to the 101st Airborne Division and on the same date took over and functioned as such. The 60th Field Hospital was relieved by Third Army and was replaced by Company “A” 92nd Gas Treatment Battalion.

Because of increased enemy artillery the Division Commander ordered the 92nd Gas Treatment Company to move to COBREVILLE, BELGIUM, (475483). This unit functioned as the Divisional Clearing Station until 20 January 1945.

At 1440, 20 January 1945, the collection elements of the 326th Airborne Medical Company consisting of four (4) officers and forty-eight (48) enlisted men accompanied by one (1) officer and one (1) enlisted man from the Division Surgeon’s Office moved by motor convoy from COBREVILLE, BELGIUM to DRULINGEN, ALSACE-LORRAINE, FRANCE (96030).

On 28 December 1944, Major WILLIAM E. BARFIELD, 326th Airborne Medical Company, Georgia, relinquished his command to Captain ROY H. MOORE, JR., 326th Airborne Medical Company, Kentucky. Captain MOORE returned to Camp MOURMELON, FRANCE to reorganize and train the reinforcements replacing the personnel lost at BASTOGNE, BELGIUM.

SOURCE:     National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD
                      Record Group 407, Records of  The Adjutant General, U.S. Army
                      326th Airborne Medical Company, 101st Airborne Division
                      After-Action Reports, December 1944-May 1945, Box 14447