U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History
Skip Navigation, go to content

ACCESS TO CARE External Link, Opens in New Window

HISTORY OF THE OFFICE OF MEDICAL HISTORYPDF document

ANC HISTORY

AMEDD BIOGRAPHIES

AMEDD CORPS HISTORY

BOOKS AND DOCUMENTS

HISTORICAL ART WORK & IMAGES

MEDICAL MEMOIRS

AMEDD MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORIES

THE SURGEONS GENERAL

ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE SURGEON GENERAL

AMEDD UNIT PATCHES AND LINEAGE

THE AMEDD HISTORIAN NEWSLETTER

Headquarters 47th Field Hospital, APO 230 U.S. Army, 15 January 1945

Table of Contents

HEADQUARTERS
47TH FIELD HOSPITAL
APO 230 - U S ARMY
15 January 1945

ANNEX No. 7 TO ANNUAL REPORT 1944:

REPORT OF MAJOR INCIDENTS - FIRST HOSPITAL UNIT, 47TH FLD HOSP


    1.    About 0800 hours, 17 December 1944 this hospital unit received and admitted nine (9) litter patients from the Third Unit, 47th Field Hospital, because the Third Unit was forced to initiate a hasty evacuation of patients and personnel, minus equipment and personal effects, due to the rapid advance of the enemy. This Unit was put on the alert but remained open and cared for the wounded. At 1130 hours, 17 December 1944, this Hospita1 Unit received orders to evacuate all patients to the 67th Evacuation hospital in Malmedy, Belgium. This was accomplished at 1230 hours, 18 patients having been transferred. At 1300 hours the Commanding Officer, this unit, received orders from the Commanding Officer of the 180th Medical Btta1ion to evacuate all Nurses, immediately. At once, all Nurses, with a minimum of personal effects proceeded by ambulance to Headquarters, 47th Field Hospital, Spa, Belgium. At the same time we were instructed to dismantle the hospital unit and pack equipment for loading on trucks which were arriving from the 44th Evacuation Hospital. Practically all equipment was packed and loaded by 1345 hours, when Lt Colonel ANDREW R. HICKS returned and reported the road being shelled between Waimes and Malmedy, Belgium. Lt Colonel HICKS asked if the Nurses were evacuated, and was informed that they were; but at, that very moment, they all walked into the area stating they were forced to abandon their ambulance and take cover, due to the shelling of route N-32, between Waimes and Malmedy. The Nurses were transported back to Waimes in a truck. Later that afternoon the ambulance was recovered. About this same time, 25 enlisted men and one officer of the 684th Clearing Company arrived at Waimes, stating they were out off from the remainder of their unit.

    a.    Shells fell all afternoon within a few hundred yards, but none landed in the immediate vicinity of our location. At approximately l800 hours, two ambulances arrived with casualties — some in most severe shook, and needing major surgery. The equipment was then unloaded and the unit set up for functioning. By 2200 hours, major surgical procedures were being carried out by the unit medica1 Officers and Lt Colonel Hicks, thus rendering service to the wounded.


2

The last of the casualties were taken care of at about 0200 hours, 18 December 1944. Sometime about 0300 hours an enemy vehicle (thought to be a half-track) passed by the Unit area. At approximately 0900 hours ambulances arrived with more casualties. All personnel on duty were occupied caring for these casualties when, about l000 hours, two enemy soldiers (SS Troops) and an individual dressed in the uniform of an American Staff Sergeant, bearing 5th Armored Division insignia (Shoulder Patch), entered the hospital area, with guns in hands, declaring the entire personnel their prisoners. All personnel were marched out into the court in formation and searched, all knives being taken from them. No arms  were found on personnel.

    b.    The enemy officer, a Captain, demanded that all patients be loaded into vehicles to be evacuated into Germany. The Commanding Officer of the Hospital argued and disagreed with the enemy's request, stating the patients were unable to be evacuated. After much discussion, the enemy agreed to leave all Nurses, four (4) Medical officer, and sufficient trained technicians to care for the patients, which had mounted now to 36. All other personnel were given ten (10) minutes in which they could get a few personal effects to carry along. While all to go immediately were being loaded into the trucks, one of the ambulance drivers  managed to slip away and inform a nearby AAA unit of the situation. Just in the nick of time, an AAA half-track vehicle arrived in the street intersection, but some local civilians shouted a warning to the Jerries, who, in turn began running across the street firing at the half-track. The occupants of the half-track fired back at the Germans.  All would be prisoners scattered, and some went inside the building to avoid the gunfire.  About 1115 hours, some infantrymen commanded by Lt Colonel Horner of the 16th Infantry arrived and continued to chase the enemy. There was more exchange of fire between the Americans and a group of enemy soldiers who were on a nearby hill. While the infantrymen gave chase to the enemy, the patients were loaded into 2½ ton trucks and ambulances, to be evacuated, there being 30 litter patients and 6 ambulatory

    2.    All patients having been evacuated, the remaining vehicles were used to load personnel and what equipment the space permitted.  The larger portion of the personnel’s personal belongings had already been loaded on the 17th of December, and not unloaded; therefore movement of this item was relatively easy. Outside of personal effects, there was only one truck left for loading equipment, and that was used for loading the Kitchen.

    a.    About 1315 hours, all entrances to the building were closed and the area was abandoned. The patients were evacuated to hospitals in Eupen and Verviers, Belgium, some being taken to the 45th Evacuation Hospital, and the remainder to the 77th Evacuation Hospital.

    b.    The load of Mess equipment was left at the 4th Convalescent Hospital, Spa, Belgium, in order that the vehicle could be used to move another unit from Spa.  When equipment was recovered from the 4th Convalescent Hospital it had been looted, and much was missing, due to all units evacuating Spa, Belgium, which was the rendezvous for all vehicles and personnel.  Having departed from Spa the personnel dispersed – some going to the 9th Field Hospital, Verviers, Belgium, some to the 15th and 298th General Hospitals in Liege, Belgium, and the remainder to Huy, Belgium, to join the Third Hospital Unit, 47th Field Hospital.


[signed]
EARL L. LAIRD
Major, MC
Hospital Unit Commander