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Battle History Company "A" 331st Medical Battalion

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BATTLE HISTORY COMPANY "A" 331st MEDICAL BATTALION
[December 1944]

10 December 1944

On the morning of 10 December 1944, Company "A" 331st Medical Battalion, functioning under 422d Infantry Combat Team control was bivouacked at Setz, Belgium awaiting further orders. Early this day it was learned that the 422d Infantry Combat Team was to replace the 9th Infantry Combat Team which was in position just East of Schlausenback [Schlausenbach], Germany and engaged in a holding action. Orders were issued by the commanding officer of the 422d Combat Team, that Co. "A" should proceed to Andler, Belgium and relieve Co. "A", 2d Medical Battalion and to function exactly as this company had been. Contact with Co. "A", 2d Medical Battalion was made early that day and all their plans discussed. By 1500 Co. "A", 331st Medical Battalion had established a collecting station and was ready to receive casualties. Ambulance contact had been achieved with each Battalion Aid station. The Regimental Command Post and Regimental Aid station of the 422d Infantry were established at Schlausenback [Schlausenbach], Germany. Orders were also issued this day that ambulance service should be rendered the 14th Calvary [Cavalry] Group less the 18th Calvary [Cavalry] Squadron whose headquarters was located at Mandersfield [Mandersfeld], Belgium. Contact with this unit was made. The 14th Calvary [Cavalry] Group was also engaged in a holding action to the left flank of the 422d Infantry. Several minor casualties were cleared through the collecting station this evening. All casualties were evacuated to the clearing station of the 2d Medical Battalion located at St. Vith, Belgium. The company was billeted in several houses within the town of Andler. Company strength at this time consisted of 3 medical officers, 2 medical administrative officers and 92 enlisted men. One enlisted man still assigned was absent sick in the 110th General Hospital in England. The 422d Infantry Combat Team had been assigned the mission of holding an eight mile front East of Schlausenback [Schlausenbach], Germany. All three battalions were committed and no units were held in reserve. The main line of resistance was the first line of concrete pill boxes of the Siegfried line. From intelligence reports it was learned that the enemy activity consisted of nothing more than small patrols. Casualties were very light.

11 December 1944

Further contact was made with all supported units. The company was completely set up and enjoying the comforts of Andler. An ambulance was assigned to each Battalion Aid station and the 14th Calvary [Cavalry] Group. During the day all liaison non-coms and the ambulance drivers reconnoitered the various routes of evacuation. Casualties continued to be light.

12 December 1944

No change in the situation. U.S. casualties evacuated to the clearing station of the 331st Medical Battalion which had replaced the clearing station of the 2d Medical Battalion in St. Vith, Belgium.

13 December 1944

Casualties continued to be light. During the day friendly artillery could be heard. So far the combat team had only engaged in patrol activities.


2

14 December 1944

Situation remains the same. 19 casualties evacuated to the clearing station. Overshoes and artics [sic, arctic shoe packs] issued to 15 per cent of the men. Request placed with S-4 for incendiary gernades [grenades] for use in destroying equipment and documents in case of capture. Request not filled. Cannone, Frank D., Pvt. transferred to the detachment of patients, 110th General Hospital. Diagnosis: Pneumonia, virus. Admitted to hospital on 27 November 1944.

15 December 1944

18 casualties evacuated to the clearing station. Majority of these casualties were from trench foot due to improper care of the feet. The weather was cold and the ground very wet due previous rains and snow. No soldier in the combat team had artics [arctics] or proper change of socks. A prisoner of war casualty reported an impending German offensive to begin between 17 December l944 and 25 December l944. Report relayed to battalion headquarters S-2 at about 2030.

16 December 1944

An increase in the number of battle casualties was noted from the 14th Calvary [Cavalry] Group. The casualties were the result of enemy artillery falling in Manderfield [Manderfeld], Belgium. They reported that enemy activity had cut the communications between the 14th Calvary [Cavalry] Group and their troops on the line. The ambulance assigned to the 1st battalion, 422d Infantry, having carried casualties to the Collecting station during the night, was prevented from returning to the Battalion Aid station by an enemy patrol which had infiltrated through the night cutting the 14th Calvarys [Cavalry's] lines. Pfc Andrew Gollin and Thomas Fox were driving an ambulance carrying casualties from the 2d Battalion Aid station, when stopped and taken prisoner by the same enemy patrol that prevented the other ambulance from returning to the 1st Battalion Aid station. This patrol was 4 miles East of Auw, Germany, Pfc Gollin and Pvt Fox were later released after the Germans had loaded several other casualties in their ambulance. They immediately reported their experience to the commanding officer. Telephone contact was lost with Regimental C. P. at 0915. All contact with aid stations were lost at this time. It was later learned that the Germans had shelled Auw, Germany and were then fighting in its outskirts. The main ambulance evacuation was through this town. Battle casualties continued to pour in from the 14th calvary [Cavalry] Group. Extra ambulances were assigned to them. At 1100 the Calvary [Cavalry] Group informed the company of the German offensive that had started this morning, and that they were evacuating Mandersfield [Manderfeld] and requested the use of Andler for their command post. Due to the fierceness of the Nazi offensive and their inability to hold, they advised that we withdraw. Failing to regain contact with the 422d Infantry, it was decided to withdraw along the route of evacuation where we could be in readiness [readiness] to support the regiment when contact was again made. While leading for our contemplated move, the company was fired upon by a civilian sniper who was later killed by Co. "A" 81st Engineers. It was decided to withdraw to Huem [Heuem], Belgium where a station was established at 1600. The company passed through Schonberg, Belgium running into a gauntlet of enemy artillery fire. Tec 5 Kimble and Pvt Raimundo with their ambulance were still with the 3rd Battalion Aid station. They had not been heard from since the day before. Two Co. "B", 331st Medical Battalion, ambulances trying to return to their company were prevented by enemy action so they joined this company until contact with their company could be gained. Pvt Lawrence T. Taft transferred to 44th Evacuation hospital. Diagnosis: Nasopharyngitis.


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17 December 1944.

German penetration to the West of Schonberg, Belgium forced further withdrawal to St. Vith, Belgium. Contact with the 14th Calvary [Cavalry] Group was lost during the night. Two ambulances were still with them. One ambulance was wrecked when side swiped by a 2 ½ ton truck, too damaged to be evacuated. A collecting station was established in the town hall by 1600. Casualties were very heavy during the night. Civilian snipers were in the town. An aid station was set up by the litter platoon 1 mile East of St Vith to render medical aid to the wounded of the 81st and 168th Engineers who were committed as a delaying force on a ridge 14 miles East of the town. Tec 5 Ballantyne, Tec 5 Pawasarat, Pfc Buckley and Pvt Balarzs distinguished themselves by rendering aid to wounded on this ridge. Their actions this night were superb and beyond the call of duty. For ot (sic) they have been recommended for the award of the Bronze Star. Late this day the last radio contact was heard from the 422d Infantry. It was requested that our collecting company make contact at the earliest moment.

18 December 1944

Battle casualties continued heavy. Most casulaties [casualties] were from the 7th and 9th armoured [armored] divisions who had moved in to protect the town of St. Vith. The station was under heavy artillery and mortor [mortar] fire during the morning.  No casualties resulted from the shelling. Aid Station set up by litter platoon withdrawn due to advance of attacking forces. At 1900 the company was ordered, by the division to withdraw to the vicinity of Vielsalm, Belgium over the southern route leading from St. Vith to Vielsalm. The northern and main route had been reported cut. An uneventful black-out withdrawal was made between 2000 and 2400.

19 December 1944 to 22 December l944

The company set up with a clearing platoon and was held in reserve. Equipment was loaned to the clearing station. The officers and men of the company assisted the clearing station. On the 19th the two ambulances on duty with the l4th Calvary [Cavalry] reported in. Their services were no longer needed as the Calvary Group had been withdrawn. Ambulances were placed on detached service with both, Co "C", 331st Medical Battalion and 7th Armoured [Armored] clearing station. No contact having been made with Tec 5 Kimble or Pvt Raimundo or the 422d Infantry since 16 December 1944, they were reported missing in action. On the 22d the company moved along with the clearing company and helped establish a clearing station at Grand-Trixhe, Belgium. The station was set up in a field and living conditions were very hard due to the extreme cold.

23 December 1944 to 24 December l944

Still in reserve and aiding the clearing station personnel and equipment reorganized and replacements were ordered. On the 24th the division was ordered into reserve. The company moved along with the Medical Battalion and were billeted in Florz, Belgium. A chateau was shared with an A.A. platoon.

25 December l944 to 28 December 1944

Remained in reserve at Florze, Belgium. Company rests and reorganizes. Christmas dinner supplies came too late to prepare the meal on Christmas day. Instead an excellent meal was served on the 26th. The company expereced (sic) strafing and bombing on the 26th and 27th. No casualties in the company. One enemy plane shot down by A.A.. The target was the bridge at Aywaille. On the 28th company was ordered to a rest area. Billeting in Hody, Belgium was established. Tec 4 Monroe Charles, Pfc


4

Joseph Eiten, Pfc Richard LeLong and Pfc Thomas Stout placed on detached service with the 424th Infantry acting as company aid men. Pfc Marvin  Foulks transferred to the 77th evacuation hospital on the 27th December l944. Diagnosis: Exhaustion. Pfc Joseph Eiten transferred to 128th evacuation hospital on 28th. Diagnosis: Exhaustion

29 December 1944 to 31 December 1944

Equipment replaced that was lost in the hurried moves. Socks and artics (sic) received and issued. Two ambulances assigned to replace those lost in withdrawal. LeLong and Stout returned. from detached service. Tec 4 Charles transferred to 128 evacuation hospital on 30 December 1944. Diagnosis: Exhaustion. 3 medical officers, 2 medical administrative officers, and 87 enlisted men belonged to the company when the year ended. The company celebrated the ending of the year at Hody, Belgium with the sincere and deep hope that the coming year would bring more glory to the unit and that victory would bless all of us fighting for the aims of our great democracy.


Signed
ROBERT C. MITTERLING
Capt.
Commanding.