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Medical Detachment, 394th Infantry, APo 449, 1 February 1945

Table of Contents

MEDICAL DETACHMENT
394th Infantry
APO 449
    1 February 1945

Map Reference:  Germany 1;25,000 – K5503.

SUBJECT: History of Medical. Detachment, Period 1-31 January 1945.

TO: Surgeon, 99th Infantry Division, APO 449, U S Army.

1.  The history of this detachment for the period 1-31 January 1945 is in accordance with paragraph 13, AR 345-105.

a.  Original Unit.
    1.  Designation: Medical. Detachment, 394th Infantry.
    2.  Date of Organization:   15 November 1942.
    3.  Place of Organization:  Camp Van Dorn, Miss.
    4.  Authority: GO #1, Hq 99th Infantry Division, l5 Nov 1942.
    5.  Sources of Personnel:   Cadre – EM & O’s, Filler replacements.

b.  Changes in Organization: Detachment Organized under T/O & T/E 8-17, 26 February 1944.

c.  Strength of Commissioned Officers and Enlisted Men:
    1. 1 January 1945 - 90 (10 Officers & 80 Enlisted Men).
    2.  Net Increase 1-3l January 1945 – 41 Enlisted Men, 1 Officer.
    3.  At end of Period 31 January 1945 – 132 (11Officers and 121 Enlisted Men).

d.  Station: Vicinity of Elsenborn, Belgium. Regimental Aid Station located at K928074;1st Battalion Aid Station located at K924076; 3rd Battalion Aid Station located at K923075. Forward collecting points for First, Second and Third Battalions were located respectively at K94907l, K949073 and K949072.

e.  Marches: None.

This Medical Detachment rendered Medical Support to the 394th Infantry Regiment while it defended the high ground 3,000 yards east of Elsenborn during the period 1-31 January 1945 and when it left its positions to attack. During its defensive mission there were two battalions on the line and one in reserve. The first Battalion was on the right until relieved on 26 January 1945 by the Third Battalion 393rd. The Third Battalion was on the left throughout the Period covered by this history. The Second Battalion was in regimental reserve until the night of 26 January 1945, when it relieved the Second Battalion, 395th. The First Battalion went into Regiment reserve in the area formerly occupied by the Second Battalion 394th. On the 30th of January the First Battalion was placed in Division reserve.


2

    At 0300 31 January 1945 the Second Battalion, 394th Infantry, launched an attack 2000 yards northeast of Elsenborn. Company F was the leading company followed by Company E. G Company was in reserve. Heavy machine gun platoons of H Company were attached to the leading companies. The attack was launched during a heavy snowstorm and through waist high drifts. The leading company was at the woodline at 0355. The first enemy activity occurred at 0455 with enemy mortars shelling company F’S left front.

    At 0505 Company B reached the creek contacting F company. At the same time eight rounds of mortar fire fell on the left platoon of Company G (in reserve position). Company F moved out again at 0513 and 17 minutes later reached a point 300 yards from its objective.

    Advancing in columns into the woods the leading elements encountered enemy machine gun fire 300 yards to the left front and 600 yards to the right front at 0645. Our artillery opened up on these positions at 0730.

    Company F was pinned down by this crossfire. E Company was likewise  affected by this machine gun fire. This fire combined with deadly sniper fire inflicted relatively heavy casualties on Company F, nine being killed and 12 wounded including attached medical personnel. The other two rifle companies suffered several wounded and company H lost no one.

    Due to an enveloping movement by G company, E and F companies were  able to straighten out their lines and advance on line where eventually they dug in for the night.

    The Medical Support consisted of established aid stations in houses in Elsenborn, Belgium and forward collecting points a few hundred yards behind the units on line. Litter bearers operated forward of these collecting points and the aid stations. The collecting points were so equipped to render first aid and give plasma if necessary.

    Due to the static positions in this defensive mission there was no problem in general in the evacuation of casualties. From the 1-31 January 1945 the majority of the casualties were caused by shrapne1 (German 88mm guns, light and heavy mortar fire) and in a few instances by sniper fire.

    On 15 January 1945 large patrols (combat size) were sent, one by both the First and. Third Battalions, to reconnoiter, seize and hold two objectives for a short period of time. Aid men were sent out with each of these patrols followed at a short distance by one litter bearer squad for each patrol. Nine casualties were treated by the aid men and successfully evacuated from the First Battalion Sector. Ten casualties were evacuated from the Third Battalion Sector. Due to heavy snow falls and drifting snow, evacuation was difficult. It was necessary to employ eight extra litter bearer squads conscripted from A Company, 324th Medical Battalion. Improvised sleds were utilized. During this action little regard for the Geneva Red Cross was shown by the enemy. One man (an aid man) was lost during this action.

    On several occasions particularly when casualties were sustained at night it was necessary to borrow tracked vehicles from an attached Tank Destroyer unit to facilitate evacuation because of the huge snow drifts and impassable roads.


3

    The support of the attack operation by Second Battalion, 394th, on 31 January  1945 was difficult because of the rapidity with which the attack progressed, the dense woods, deep snow, lack of roads, enemy mine fields and intense enemy machine gun fire and sniper fire. The forward collecting point was located at K-945084. By the time the first contact with the enemy had been made the assault forces were 800 yards from this point. By 1200 they were 1500-2000 yards. It was necessary in this instance to employ eight additional litter bearer teams from “B” company, 324th Medical Battalion. All casualties were successfully treated and evacuated.

    Of the battle casualties evacuated 33 were walking wounded and 86 litter wounded divided as follows:  (For Period 1-31 January 1945)

    W L
First Battalion 11    27
Second Battalion   9    23
Third Battalion      11    32
Special Units     2  4

    This Detachment evacuated 388 non-battle casualties.

First Battalion 138
Second Battalion   92
Third Battalion    107
Special Units 51

    This Detachment in summary treated a grand total of 906 patients for the period 1-31 January 1945.

First Battalion    395
Second Battalion    150
Third Battalion   250
Special Units 111

    This Detachment suffered the following losses for the period 1-31 January 1945.

WIA   3
MIA   1
NBC  4

f.  Campaign:
    
    1.  Name –  “Germany Campaign”.
    2.  Duration –  15 September 1944 to date. 394th Infantry Regiment entered on 7 November 1944.
    3.  Purpose:  To treat, heal and/or evacuate all sick and wounded.
    4.  Authority Ordering: Sec IV, GO #80, WD, 1944.

g.  Battles:
    1.  Name: Battle of “Defense of Elsenborn”.
    2.  Place:   Vicinity Elsenborn, Belgium.
    3.  Date: 1-31 January 1945.
    4.  Campaign of which battle is a part: “Germany Campaign.”


STEPHEN M. GILLESPIE,
Major, MC,
Commanding.