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Headquarters 331st Medical Battalion

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HEADQUARTERS 331ST MEDICAL BATTALION
A.P. O. #443, U S Army

5 February 1945

UNIT HISTORY


During the month of January 1945, the Medical Battalion was supporting combat for 13 days, and rested, grouped, and re-equipped for 18 days. The morale continued high, as evidence (in part) by no AWOL's and no Venereal Disease.

Jan 1-5: Battalion in reorganization area, with “A” and “C” companies vic HOTY [Hody], BELGIUM, “D” Company and Battalion Headquarters vic ESNEUX, BELGIUM. The Battalion strength was 32 Officers, 2 WO and 318 Enlisted Men. All activities were concentrated on re-equipping and regrouping the Battalion. Numerous promotions were made, and Capt. Jack H. Kamholz was reassigned to “D” Company, while Lt Monroe Neuman was assigned to “B” Company. With a general idea that the Division was to be recommitted, reconnaissance was carried out in SPA and south to TROIS PONTS for routes and billets and station sites. The sector into which the contemplated move is to be made, is now held by a unit of the 28th Inf Div, CT 112, which is atchd to the 30th Inf Div at this time. Pvt Kenneth Vandegrift and Pvt Paul F McDaniel who had been declared MIA returned to the Battalion. They had left the Div Clr Sta at ST VITH with a load of patients for an Evacuation Hospital at MALMEDY. Nothing further was heard from them, and in as much as hostile action occurred along the route they were presumed to be MIA. They did reach MALMEDY, and were pressed into service to assist in moving the hospital, this being necessary because of the approach of the Germans. After leaving the hospital, the two men traveled south in an attempt to rejoin the Battalion, and were directed to various places until they reached the 3rd Replacement Depot whence they were told the new location of the Battalion.

Jan 6:    With the 424 Inf Regt at LA REID, “C” Collecting Company moved to FERME BERIZENNE [Berinsenne], 4 Miles south of SPA. The Clearing Station and Battalion Headquarters remain at ESNEUX, and evacuation from 424 CT will be to ESNEUX. Emergency cases, however will be taken to the 30th Div Clr Sta at SPA. On this date, Brigadier General Perrin, Div Comdr., came to the Cir Sta and in a formal ceremony presented the order of the Purple Heart to the following Officer and Enlisted Men:

1ST LT VINCENT P. WANDERMAN
M/SGT JOHN J. ADELMAN
PFC WILLIAM R DAUGHERTY
TEC 5 GEORGE MANSFIELD
PFC VERNON PFIFFNER
SGT KENNETH FINLAYSON

Jan 7:    CT 424 was alerted for a move forward, and so Company “C” reconnoitered an area, finding SANAT DE BOURGOMONT in the vic of COUR [Coo] suitable. At the Clearing Station, intense excitement prevailed in the evening when planes circled low and the guards on duty reported what they thought to be sounds made by parachutists. Captain Rinek & LaManche with a detail of EM went out and searched the area, finding lights signaling in the “Vicinity”. G-2, Provost Marshal were notified,


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and Maj Moulds arrived, saw that the situation was under control, had a cup at coffee and went to bed.  The 820th TD also notified when Capt LaManche drove down to ESNEUX. Sequel: One old parachuted dummy was found, no traces in the snow of any recent footprints and the “signal lights” were found to be made by an Ordnance outfit on a nearby hill. Thus far this month the census in the Clr Sta averaged about 50 cases per day.

Jan 8: Sixteen men from “A” Company, 1 man from “D” Company were placed on DS with 424th Med Det to reinforce the depleted detachment. The men were brought to the Regt Aid Station and sent from there to various positions with the 424 Infantry, CT 424 replaced CT 112, and was atchd to the 30th Inf Div. All casualties were evacuated to the 30th Inf Div Clr Sta at SPA. Daily visits were made to “C” Company by a member of Battalion Headquarters.

Jan 9: CT 424 atkd at 1000 with the 1st and 2d Bn abreast, 3rd in reserve. Casualties were light at this time. The Clr Sta was prepared to move, with Lt Wanderman's selection, the vic of SPA, at NIVEZE.

Jan    l0:  This was moving day — “A” Company moved to FANGE-MARON, to as a holding station for foot and respiratory cases from the Clr Sta. 29 cases were sent there. “C” Company operate SANAT DE BOURGOMONT and casualties were light. “D” Company moved the 1st platoon to NIVEZE, arriving at l530, 28 cases left ESNEUX at l530 for the station at NIVEZE. These were cases who could be returned  to duty in a few days. Bn Hq moved with “D” Company. Despite bad roads, the move was accomplished without incident. “C” Company had its Coll Sta favorably situated, but further back from the aid stations than usual. Thoro reconnaissance with a member of the Med Bn of the 30th Div resulted in an order to stay at COUR [Coo], but an ARP was set up in the vic at COO. Preparations were made for A Company to move to FERME BERRIZINE [Berinsenne], “C” Company to TROIS PONTS and D Company to COUR [Coo].  “A” Company was obliged to leave their area being outranked by Hq 82d A/B Div.

Jan 11:    The Division regrouped as follows: At l200 RCT 424 & 112 reverted to Div control. (106), at 2400 RCT 112 reverted to 28th Div control and two Bns. of the 517th Prcht Inf Regt were atchd to the Division. The Division was ordered then, to continue the present mission of defense.

The 2d platoon of “D” Company left ESNEUX at 0930, and closed at NIVEZE at 1130. “C” Company received few casualties and planned to move to TROIS PONTS. Present positions were considered adequate because of good road net and light casualties, and that weather conditions made treatment of patients in warm building desirable.

Lt Neumann was placed on DS with Forward Echelon of DHQ as Medical Officer, there being no regularly assigned Medical Officer at that installation by the T/O.

For information on the tactical situation see attached overlay.

Jan 12: The Division received other atchmts - elements of the 740 Tk Bn, 643 TD Bn, 634 AAA Bn, 596 Engr Bn, and 460 PFA Bn. Light patrol action continued, with casualties light, only 3 wounded being treated.

Jan 13: The 106th Inf Div jumped off at 0600 in an attack, and with intelligence that resistance would be light, and progress rapid, all


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units of the Battalion were prepared to move up. Arrangements were made by the Bn CO to assist the 517th. The surgeon of the 517 declined to use “A” Company as a collecting station, and instead operated his Regt aid Sta vic STAVELOT, as a collecting Station.  A Company operated an ARP at FRANCORCHAMPS with enlisted personnel, 1 officer, 2 ambulances, and a #2 Chest. “C” Company moved up to TROIS PONTS at 0830 and the Clr Sta at 1300 moved to COUR. The remainder of “D” Company moved from NIVEZE at 1600, and the patients left at NIVEZE (about 40) were taken over by “A” Company, which began to operate the holding station. When the Clr Sta opened at COUR [Coo], the ARP at FRANCORCHAMPS moved to STAVELOT. “C” Company operated an ARP at AISIMONT. On this date from 1400 to 2400 “C” Company handled 140 battle casualties, and “D” Co handled 186 cases, transferring 107 to the rear. Evacuation from the front was complicated by heavy snow, icy roads, and narrow roads. But except for the ditching of an army ambulance during blackout driving, the evacuation of patients was uneventful. Most cases were due to artillery and mortar fire, and mines with really serious cases coming thru. Several chest wounds were handled, and one case had a severe nicking wound of the chest, FC of the femur, and probable involvement of the spinal cord. The road between the “C” Company ARP at AISIMONT and WANNE was under constant observed enemy artillery fire, but since it was the only road usable ambulances ran the gauntlet of fire. Three ambulances were hit by shrapnel, and one patient with a wound of a finger, riding in the ambulance was struck in the leg. First aid was given to him by the ambulance orderly.

At the end of the day the Clearing Station census was 68.

Two new MAC officers joined the Battalion, Lt Scott and Lt Garcia.  Both were assigned to “B” Company and placed on DS with
“C” Company for “seasoning.”

Altho every unit in the battalion moved today, and a large number of casualties were processed, and evacuation was slow and difficult, the medical service rendered was of the highest order and worked uninterruptedly. The men of “C” Company worked gallantly and in one instance Sgt Magory and Tec 5 Ristenpart ran forward of the aid station to get out 11 severely wounded soldiers. Three litter squads under Lt Penney also worked forward of the 3rd Bn Aid Station evacuating casualties. PFC Beach of “A” Company was lightly wounded by shrapnel while on DS with the 424 Med Det. Two ambulances from “A” Company were atchd to “C” company this date.

Jan 14:  The attack continued at 0900, and again casualties were heavy, mostly from shrapnel, Mortar and Mines. 100 casualties were processed by “C” Company, and the Clr Sta treated 180 cases, of which 61 were transferred. Large numbers of cases of frost bite were seen with no swelling, but considerable discoloration and paresthesias was seen. The more severe were evacuated, but the remainder held either at COUR [Coo], or NIVEZE.

Jan 15-16:  The attack continued. “D” Company received 249 patients on the 15th and 268 on the 16th. Most casualties were still due to frost bite.  Ambulance Relay Points were used and good ambulance service maintained. Moving of the Clr Sta was discussed but due to poor housing conditions, at STAVELOT, and adequacy of ambulance evacuation, the move was not made. Sleds were utilized to haul litters back to the aid station, being furnished and made by “C” Company. The 3rd Bn of CT 424 was atchd  to the 517th Regt at 1200.


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Jan 17:   At 1800, the 517th Inf Regt was atchd to the 30th Inf Div., and at that time the 3rd Bn reverted to 424 control. At 1600 the 424 CT was pinched off by the advance of the 75th Inf Div to the east, and the 30th Inf Div to the south. The mission of CT 424 then was to mop up in the areas it had taken. During the action from the 12th through the 17th, the Division took every objective assgnd, and on time.  The difficult maneuver in the pinching out of a CT was achieved. 1172 cases were handled by the Clearing Station during the attack.

Jan 18: The Division was placed XVIII Corps reserve, for the purpose of regrouping and re-equipping. The strength of the 424 Inf was 54% Enlisted, and 62% officer personnel. A meeting was held by the Bn Commander with the Company Commanders to discuss re-supply. The main shortages were lamps, and stoves, which S-4 promptly corrected. The 1st Bn 424 moved to HENOMONT, and ARP with two ambulances was set up at WANNE. An ambulance was left with each Bn aid Station. The ARP at STAVELOT was closed. “D” Company held 162 patients at this time, with 81 of this number at COUR [Coo]. Most of the cases being received were frost bite, with a few respiratory cases. Very few exhaustion and self-inflicted wounds were seen. Lt Neumann was evacuated with a severely sprained knee.

Jan 19-23: Remained in Corps reserve. The Clearing Station operated bathing service for the Division, furnishing towels, soap, and alleged hot water. The troops really needed the service. Medical inspection was done at the baths, and one case of pediculosis pubis found.  Work was concentrated on vehicles and supply. Recreation was made available by the Bn SSO (movies, bands, singers). On 21 January at 1530 at TROIS PONTS, General Perrin, in a formal ceremony presented Bronze Star Medals to the following personnel:

CPT ARTHUR FLEMING
1ST LT DAVID MILLMAN
PFC RAYMOND BACHMAN
PYT ARLEY CORNETT
TEC 5 PAUL DEAKINGS
PFC THOMAS ELDER
PFC FREDERICK FLEISCHMAN, JR
PFC TALMON GAINOUS
PFC JOSEPH GELINAS
PFC JOHN B. G. HAMMOCK
PFC WILLIAM IRVING
PVT HARVEY KOLB
TEC 4 QUENTIN LEASURE
PFC BENEDICT LEITI
SGT JOHN AGORY
PFC RALPH MONTGOMERY
PVT PHILIP PATIRE
S/SGT RICHARD REINHARDT
TEC 5 ELDEN RISTENPART
PFC CARL STEINMEYER
PVT RAYMOND SZYCZEWSKI
PFC FERGUSON WILSON

Jan 23:  CT 424 atchd to 7th Armd Div which today took ST VITH. “C” Company moved to an assembly area in the vic of DEIDENBERG, and set up a station at WAIMES.


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Jan 24: CT 424 committed again, with. “C” Company at ODENVAL [ONDENVAL], the remainder of “C” Company was all closed in by 1400. Preparations were made for an attack the following day, and as usual, litter squads were atchd to 424 Med Det. The 7th Armd Div Clr Sta at WAIMES was utilized, and casualties were light.  The 106th Inf Div (CT 424 & 592d FA Bn) moved back to the vic of ANTHISNES. The 1st platoon left COUR [Coo] at 0930, and opened a Clr Sta at the same place in ESNEUX which had been occupied before.

Jan 25: CT 424 continued to attack. Pvt Harold D. Smith of “A” Company on DS with the 424 Med Det was killed while working as an aid man by a sniper who was promptly dispatched by the men of the company with which he was working. This constitutes a violation of the Geneva Convention. At this time the Bn CO and the Regt CO of the 424 had all been evacuated. Casualties were light.

Jan 28: CT 424 was passed thru by the 82d A/B Div and moved back to join the 106th Div, “C” Company moved to ESNEUX, closing in their area at 2330. General Perrin presented Lt Reinhardt with battlefield commission as a 2d Lieutenant. Tec 4 Pawasarat and Pfc Buckley, Tec 5 King were given the Bronze Star Medal at the same ceremony.  Unfortunately Tec 5 Balantyne and Pfc Balarzs who were to have been present and receive the Bronze Star Medal were unable to attend the ceremony.

Jan 29-31: Battalion rested, regrouped and refitted. All men were reld from DS with the 424th Med Det.

During the month “D” Company gave 3835 Treatments, had 1145 Admissions, of which 584 were BC [battle casualties] and 561 NBC [non-battle casualties].

Plans were drawn up for reconstituting “B” Company.



Map, 331st Medical Battalion, Operations, 23-28 January 1944