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324th Medical Battalion, 99th Infantry Division

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324TH MEDICAL BATTALION
99th Infantry Division
In the field

23 January 1945

SUBJECT:  Summary of Operations, 1944.

 TO   :  Commanding General, 99th Infantry Division.
  (Attention: Division Surgeon.)

1 January 1944 –  The 324th Medical Battalion, 99th Infantry Division, was stationed at Camp Maxey, Texas, having reported there 20 Nov 1943, after completion of Third Army maneuvers in Louisiana. Training phases completed as of that date were as follows:

Individual training 4 Jan 43 - 5 Apr 43
Unit training 6 Apr 43 - 3 Jun 43
Combined training   27 Jun 43 - 11 Sep 43
Maneuver Training 16 Sep 43 - 20 Nov 43

Post-maneuver Training outlined by training Memorandum No. 26, Headquarters, 324th Medical Battalion, 22 Nov 1943; Training Directive, Headquarters, 99th Infantry Division, 20 Nov 1943; and Ltr, AGF, 353.01/52 (Tng Dir) GNGCT, 7 June 1943, Subject: “Supplement to Training Directive,” effective 1 Nov 1942, commenced 22 November 1943. The first phase of this training emphasized individual and small group training, correction of maneuver deficiencies, technical training of specialists, and preparation for overseas movement. A program was initiated with the cooperation of the Station Hospital at Camp Maxey, Texas, on 2 December 1943 to afford an opportunity for the 99th Division Medical Department personnel to work in the wards of the hospital on a rotation basis. 75 Enlisted Me from the Medical Battalion were placed on DC, 2 Dec 1943, with other Division Medical Department enlisted personnel for a period of 6 weeks. Special training was given to surgical teams, medical and surgical technicians,  pharmacists, and shock teams. Considerable assistance was thus rendered to the hospital, which was under strength in trained medical personnel.

15 January 1944 – 11 March 1944 – The second phase of Post Maneuver training included further review of basic medical subjects, tactical employment of small medical units (platoons), and practical training of technicians.

16 January 1944 - 26 February 1944 – Eighteen Enlisted Men were trained at the Station Hospital in continuation of the Specialist Training Program. Minimum standards of proficiency for Medical Department enlisted personnel were prescribed by Ltr, Headquarters, 99th Infantry Division, Office of Division Surgeon, 14 January 1944. This reference was used as a guide for the training of all personnel, while certain men were given special courses in surgical  procedures. Dental Corps officers, and dental technicians performed continuous daily duty at the Camp Maxey and 99th Division Dental Clinics.


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20 March 1944 - 19 May 1944  – The third phase of Post-Maneuver Training was conducted. In order to supplement available training guides, the Battalion had, on 16, 17, 18 March 1944, given extensive training tests (Training. Memorandum #11, Headquarters, 324th Medical Battalion, 7 March 1944) to determine status of training in 19 basic subjects. The results of these tests offered definite criteria of the additional training necessary to bring the organization  up to desired standards, and showed the need for further training in Materia Medica and Medical and Surgical Nursing.

22 March 1944 – Physical Fitness tests were completed as prescribed by current directives.

13 May 1944 – The Battalion participated in Air-Ground Tests conducted by the 99th Infantry Division.
   
15 - 20 May 1944 – Division Tests were conducted in order to test the Division in the field as required by Post-Maneuver Training Directives. These tests were divided into five phases: the defense of a battle position; the development of an offensive; reconnaissance prior to attack; night attack; and continuation of attack at dawn. The medical battalion was tested on medical support of all phases. Post-Maneuver training continued, with, with more emphasis on  Unit Training and Field Exercise. Such training was handicapped by the limited training areas available to the Battalion at this time.

6 June - 21 June 1944 – Collecting Company C engaged in field exercises at Camp Barkley, Texas, with Combat Team 5. Company C gave medical support to CT5, which was opposing the 12th Armored Division, in Post-Maneuver Division Test of that Division.

15 June 1944 – Basic Medical Tests were completed as directed by WD Circ 48, 1944.

July, 1944 – Three weeks of training in the field was conducted in the Oklahoma Training Area. At this time the Clearing Company, for the first time, constructed and actually used many semi-permanent field sanitary devices.

August, 1944 – Increased emphasis was placed on Preparation for Overseas Movement. Completion of training date was set for 15 September 1944.

7 September 1944 – Advanced Detachment (Exec, S-1, S-3, S-4, and 5 EM) departed for Ft Hamilton, New York. The advance representatives spent ten days at Ft Hamilton, and boarded HMS Queen Mary, a British transport, which decked at Grennock, Scotland on 26 September 1944. They then departed by train for Southampton, boarded a British transport, the Neuralia for France, and landed  at “Omaha Beach,” near Cherbourg, Normandy, on 28 September 1944. Preparations for reception of the 99th Division in the Normandy Staging Area were halted by the announcenont that the Division would debark in England, due to temporarily inadequate supply facilities at Cherbourg. The advanced detachment left Cherbourg 9 October 1944, docked at Southampton, and arrived at Blandford, Dorset,


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England, 10 October 1944, to prepare for reception of the Battalion when it should arrive with the main body of the Division.

14 September 1944 –  The 324th Medical Battalion had in the meantime crated and shipped T/E equipment minus minor shortages, to Boston POE. The battalion less the Advanced Detachment, departed from Camp Maxey, Texas by train 14 September 1944, with 400 EM and 32 Officers (2 EM under strength of the authorized 407 and 37 Officers), and arrived at Camp Miles Standish, Mass. on 16 September 1944. After two weeks of final POM processing, the Battalion boarded the following transports bound for England: Hq and Co D, USAT “Excelsior”; Co A, USAT “Exchequer”; Co B, USS “Explorer”; and Co C, USS “Marine Devil”.
   
10 October 1944 – Companies A and B docked at Grennock, Scotland. Co C docked at Plymouth, England.

12 October 1944 – Hq and Hq Det and Co D docked at Liverpool. All Units assembled in vicinity of Dorchester, Dorset County, England–Co A Broadmayne; Co’s B, C, and D, Hq Det at Litton Cheney. The Advanced Detachment rejoined the Battalion. The 99th Division was spread throughout the Dorset County area. The Division sector was divided into three ports, in order to divide evacuation most expeditiously among three hospitals, the 315th Sta Hosp, Axminister, the 121st Gen Hosp, Yeowil, and the the 131st Gen Hosp, Blandford. Evacuation was direst from Infantry Battalion and separate Battalion Aid Stations by Medical Battalion ambulances. Training was initiated as outlined by Training Directive #1, Headquarters, 99th Infantry Division, 18 October 1944, ETO Initial Training Period.
   
25 October 1944 – Companies A and C moved to Long Brody to provide adequate space for the Battalion. The Division received complete transportation allowances of motor vehicles and equipment was combat loaded.

1 November 1944 – Movement to the continent started, and the units departed in the following sequence: Co C, Co A, and Hq Det, Co’s B and D. All boarded LST’s and troop ships at Southampton, and arrived at the shattered port of Lew Havre: Co C, 3 Nov; Co A, 4 Nov; and Hq Det, Co’s B and D, 8 Nov. Despite harried organization and inadequate suppliy facilities, all units moved by motor convoy, and after processing through control points near St. Lucien, France, followed the route Argueil, Gournay, Montdidier, Noye, Peronne, Cambrai, Valenciennes, Mons, Charleroi, Namur, Huy, Liege, Battice, and arrived at the 99th Concentration Area near Aubel, Belgium–Co A, 4 Nov; Co C. 5 Nov; Hq Det, Co’s B and D, 8 Nov. Collecting companies joined their respective combat teams and prepared to move into the defensive sector formerly occupied by the 9th Infantry Division.

9 November 1944 – Company C moved to Kalterherberg, Belgiuma in support of CT5. Route–Battice, Verviers, Tiage, Malmedy, Butgenbach.
  
10 November 1944 – Company A moved to Krinkelt, Belgium in support of CT3 by the same route.
   


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11 November 1944 –  Company B moved by the same route to Wirtzfeld, Belgium in support of CT4, in Division Reserve.

12 November 1944 – The Clearing Station opened at Nidrum, Belgium. The Collecting Companies had, prior to this date evacuated directly to the 44th and 67th Evac Hospitals at Malmedy, Belgium. CT4 moved into position on the right flank of the Division Zone, relieving CT60, 9th Infantry Division, and Company B moved to Murringen, Belgium in support. The Division had now completed occupation of the defense sector extending for approximately 13 miles, from Monschau to Losheim, as part of the V Corps, First Army, with VII Corps to the North, and VIII Corps to the South. The 102nd Cav Gp and the 28th Infantry Division occupied a front on the Division north flank, and the 18th Cav Gp and 2nd Infantry Division on the South.  
   
14 November 1944 – Evacuation was by Collecting Company ambulance from Battalion Aid Stations to Collecting Companies to the Clearing Station. Evacuation from the Clearing Station was performed by the 3rd Platoon, 575th Ambulance Company, 134th Medical Group. Supporting First Army units: 44th Evacuation Hospital, 67th Evacuation Hospital, Malmedy, Belgium; 47th Field Hospital, Waimes, Belgium (non-transportable surgical cases); 4th Convalescent Hospital, Spa, Belgium; 91st Medical Gas Treatment Battalion, Eupen (Communicable Diseases); and 618th Clearing Company, Malmedy. 684th Clr Co, 53rd Med Bn (V Corps) at Hepscheid, Belgium, accepted Division’s patient overflow. This was set up to receive and hold for 10 days patients who would probably return to duty within that time.

Collecting Companies were placed under Battalion control 27 November

The status during this period permitted rotation and complete orientation of personnel, as well as liaison with medical units forward and to the rear.

Battle casualties were light; most of these were caused by enemy anti-personnel mines. Trench Foot casualties were relatively heavy.

Clearing Company statistics, 13-30 November 1944:

 Admissions    940
Battle Casualties 13414.3% of total admissions.
Trench Foot Cases  42345.0% of total admissions.
Combat Exhaustion  15 l.6% of total admissions.
Transferred   755


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1 December - 8 December 1944 – The Division continued defense of the sector. Collecting Companies C, A, and B, remained in support of CT’s 5, 3, and 4, respectively, from North to South. Collecting Companies initiated policy of partial employment of Collecting Company Litter Bearers forward of Battalion Aid Stations to provide relief for Infantry Battalion Medical personnel and experience for Collecting Company personnel.

9 December 1944 – The Division G-3 oriented Division Surgeon,  the Battalion Commander, and S-3 of a plan of combined effective operations with the 2nd Infantry Division,  in order to permit formulation of plan for medical support. On D-Day, the 2nd Inf Div was to move from the 99th Inf Div south flank, after relief in that sector by the 106th Inf Div, concentrate behind the center of our front, and attack with CT’s 9 and 38 thru Krinkelt and Rocherath to Rohren on the North and further objectives toward the Roer River to the East. Simultaneously, the mission of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 395th Infantry, 99th Infantry Division, with supporting elements of CT5 under CT control, was to attack toward Schleiden, seize designated objectives, and protect the South flank of the 2nd Infantry Division, while the 3rd Battalion, 395th Infantry, 99th Rcn, and 2nd Rcn were  to hold the front previously held by the 395th Infantry;  the 393rd Infantry was to defend its front with limited attacks to the North; and the 394th Infantry was to conduct demonstrations along its front and constitute a mobile reserve from its 3rd Battalion on the south flank.
   
The problem of medical support of this plan were: (1) To support CT5 (less 3rd Bn) with entire personnel and equipment to Coll Co C; (2) To provide Co C, if necessary, with additional litter bearer support, in order to guarantee casualty evacuation by long litter hauls over difficult terrain; (3) To establish provisional medical support of 3rd Bn, 395th Infantry and 99th Rcn; (4) To coordinate with the 2nd infantry Division evacuation over a common main supply route.

10 December 1944 – The plan of the 2nd Medical Battalion was discussed with Lt. Col. Jorns, Battalion CO, 2nd Medical Battalion.

12 December 1944 – D-Day announced as 13 December 1944. Company C reverted  to CT5 control and moved to Krinkelt, Belgium. Provisional Units were established vicinity Hofen and Kalterherberg in support of 3rd Battalion, 395th Infantry, and 99th Rcn. Each of these units was under command of a medical officer, and consisted of a medical technician, litter bearers, and drivers, with medical equipment and ambulances.

13 December 1944 – The attack started at 0830. Evacuation of casualties was difficult in attack sector, due to limited road net and difficult terrain.

16 December 1944 – Eight Litter Squads from Companies B and D were attached to Company C aid in evacuation. Enemy activity increased in zones of CT3  and 4, and enemy artillery barrages hit vicinity of Krinkelt. Casualties were heaviest in 1st and 3rd Battalions, 393rd Infantry, as Companies B, G, I, and K received heavy attacks. Strong enemy attacks against 2nd and 3rd Battalions,


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394th Infantry were reported. Evacuation continued through enemy artillery fire at 393rd and 394th Air Stations.

17 December 1944 – Enemy armor was reported at Hunningen. 3rd Battalion, 393rd Infantry, was surrounded.. 2nd Battalion, 393rd Infantry, commenced withdrawal. Heavy action continued in 394th Infantry Area. The MSR through Bullingen was cut off, and contact with Collecting Companies was lost. A German offensive of great strength was reported. The medical situation became critical with the realization that a withdrawal was imminent through an area with no adequate evacuation route. A new route. was reconnoitered by the Battalion S-2 through Berg-Wirtzfeld, and a convoy of QM trucks, loaded with patients was led through heavy artillery fire by the Battalion S-2 to the Clearing Station at Nidrum. Company B left Murringen and withdrew to the Clearing Station to reorganize support of CT4m withdrawing under heavy enemy fire through Krinkelt. Companies A and C were alerted for movement, but continued ambulance evacuation over roads swept by small arms and artillery fire. The enemy had infiltrated into Krinkelt, site of both Collecting Companies (A and C).

 18 December 1944 – Companies A and C supported a difficult daylight withdrawal of CT3 and CT5, and moved to Nidrum over the Wirtzfeld-Berg-Elsenborn route in order to reorganize. A provisional collecting unit, under command of CO, Co A, departed for Berg to continue evacuation of the Division. The Division, supported by 26th [23rd?] CT, 2nd Inf Div, continued its withdrawal toward Elsenborn. The provisional collecting unit at Berg moved to the Clearing Company at Nidrum to center its support behind Elsenborn. Evacuation to the rear of the division area had been cut off by the mounting German offensive when the MSR to Malmedy  had been threatened by an SS Panzer Division. Ambulances of the 575th Ambulance Company, evacuating to Malmedy, had failed to return. It later developed that the Ambulance Platoon Officer had bees included in a group of officers and men murdered after capture by the Germans in the vicinity of Malmedy, while he was attempted to get through. The Army Ambulances remaining at the Clearing Company had then evacuated casualties to Eupen, but had failed to return. The Clearing Company moved by echelon to Sourbrodt, and Hq Det, Companies A, B, and C followed. Remaining casualties were moved by Battalion organic transportation to the new  site.

19 December 1944 – Contact was made with the Regimental Air Station, 395th Infantry and two ambulances evacuated the remaining casualties of the Regiment, as it withdrew from Krinkelt. An Ambulance Regulating Point was organized at Elsenborn to permit direct evacuation from the aid stations to the Clearing Company. Evacuation to Eupen from Clearing Company was reestablished by support of 565th [575th? Ambulance?] Collecting Company, 134th Medical Group, following a telephoned plea for help by the Battalion CO to the Surgeon, V Corps.

20 December 1944 – 1st Platoon, Clearing Company, and Company A moved to Jalhay, Belgium in reserve.  Strong enemy thrusts, supported by armor hit the Division defenses at Elsenborn, which had become the cornerstone of the north shoulder of the German salient. shoulder of the German salient. Artillery fire increased in Elsenborn and Camp


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Elsenborn, and the ambulance regulating point and moved to the Clearing Station to better support evacuation of the Kalterherberg as well as the Elsenborn Area. The evacuation of the 3rd Battalion, 395th Infantry and 99th Rcn was performed through one provisional collecting station, with ambulances, at Kalterherberg.

21 December 1944 – The defense of Elsenborn stabilized and activity was confined to artillery duels and patrolling.

22 December 1944 – The provisional unit at Kalterherberg withdrew on account of heavy artillery fire, but evacuation was maintained, and the unit  reestablished on 23 December 1944, evacuating over an alternate route north of Camp Elsenborn.

26 December 1944 – The provisional unit at Kalterherberg was withdrawn, and evacuation was by ambulance direct to Clearing Company. 3rd Battalion, 395th Infantry, and 99th Rcn came under 9th Inf Div control. One collecting company continued the Elsenborn evacuation, and Companies were rotated to permit complete  reorganization and replacement of lost equipment. 99th Division. Headquarters moved into the Battalion Headquarters Area at Sourbrodt  to improve communications. Clearing Statics sad Battalion CP therefore moved to Jalhay. Collecting Companies A and C established northeast of Sourbrodt (K-852111). Company B established evacuation between Collecting Station and Clearing Station. Evacuation from Clearing Station was taken over by 452nd Collecting Company to 128th and 97th Evacuation Hospitals, Verviers.

28 December 1944 – Company C moved Northeast to K-838117 after receiving some damage to materiel by incoming enemy counter-battery fire.

29 December 1944 – At the close of this period, 3rd Battalion, 395th Infantry and 99th Rcn continued defense pf the Hofen Area under 9th Division control, and were evacuated by 324th Medical Battalion Collecting Company ambulances direct to the functioning Collecting Company.  393rd, 394th, and 395th (less 3rd Bn) Infantry Regiments continued the defense of the Elsenborn Area, flanked by the 9th Infantry Division on the North, and the 2nd Infantry Division on the South. Evacuation has been by Medical Battalion and Regimental litter bearers and jeeps to Battalion and Regimental Aid. Stations, by ambulance to one central collecting station operated by one collecting company reinforced by ambulances from a second collecting company, to the Clearing Company. The third Collecting Company remained in Jalhay in reserve. Companies have been rotated every four days.

Continuous evacuation was rendered, throughout the Division offensive of 13 December 1944, the defense against the powerful German offensive, and the withdrawal to the present defensive positions at Elsenborn, to the 99th Infantry Division, attached units, and adjacent divisions.

Clearing Company Statistics, 1-31 December 1944:

Admissions 2524
Battle Casualties   85033.7% of total admissions.
Trench Foot Cases  68127.0% at total admissions.
Combat Exhaustion 26110.3% of total admissions.
No. transferred 2273


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Battalion Losses Sustained in Action for 1944:

Personnel:

Killed: 3
Wounded: 10
Missing:   8
Captured 0   (All incurred during December 1944)

Equipment:

Complete station equipment of Collecting Company C was abandoned in withdrawal from Krinkelt under heavy enemy fire.

3 Ambulances, one 2 ½ Ton truck, water trailer, two 1/4 Ton trailers.

Approximately 50% of individual items of clothing and equipment of three collecting companies was lost, destroyed, or abandoned during enemy action.


[signed]

P. R. BECKJORD
Lt Col, MC
Commanding

Source:  National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 112, Office of the Surgeon, 99th Infantry Division, Medical History, 1944, Box 305