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Dispensary, 2nd Ranger Infantry Battalion, 30 January 1945

2D Ranger Infantry Battalion



30 January 1945

SUBJECT: Annual Reports, Medical Department Activities

TO: The Surgeon General (Thru Channels)

1. The 2nd Ranger Infantry Battalion was activated 1 April 1943 at Camp Forrest, Tennessee. An extensive training program was carried out there, to include a very strenuous physical conditioning program, range work, etc. In September 1943 the battalion moved to Ft. Pierce, Florida for 11 days of amphibious training. From there they moved to Ft. Dix, New Jersey where company problems played a large part in the training. While at Ft. Dix a 3 day trip was made to Camp Ritchie, Maryland for the purpose of a military intelligence course. On 11 November 1943 the battalion moved to the P.O.E., located at Camp Shanks, New York, embarked 21 November 1943 and disembarked in the U.K. on 1 December 1943. The first station in the U.K. was located at Bude, Cornwall, where another training program was carried out emphasizing cliff scaling. While at this station the battalion was billeted in private homes, with two mess-halls set up in a garage and a cafe converted for the purpose. During the month of January and half the month of February 1944 the battalion was split up and located in three different sections of the country. During this period the battalion lived and ate in private homes. The training largely consisted of boat work. The battalion returned to Bude Cornwall in the middle of February 1944 and continued training there until April 1944 when a movement was made to Braunton Campy, North Devon for the purpose of assault training. In this camp the battalion lived in Niesen huts. From Braunton Camp the next move, on 27 April 1944, was to Dorchester, Dorset to take hart in FABIUS 1. After taking part in this operation the battalion moved to Swanage, Dorset and continued the cliff-scaling training and preparation for the invasion until 20 May 1944 when they went to the marshalling area for the invasion.

2. In the initial assault on the shores of France, 6 June 1944, the battalion played three parts. Companies D, E, and F formed the task force with the mission of scaling the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc and putting out of commission six 155mm coastal defense guns which were casemated there. Company C had the task of hitting on one sector of Omaha dog green beach in order to eliminate 5 known pill-boxes and then proceed to Pointe Du Hoc. Companies A and B hit on a sector of Omaha dog red beach with the direct purpose of marching to Pointe Du Hoc to give support to Companies D, E, and F. The Companies contacted each other on D plus 2 and remained in combat until D plus 4 they proceeded to a rest area in order to begin training of the reinforcements brought to the battalion. The next active combat for the battalion started on 20 August 194 in the battle for Brest. This unit remained in combat until Brest capitulated on 20 September 1944. In this engagement the battalion was conducted to clean out many little pockets and gun positions. On 28 September 1944 the battalion departed for Arlon, Belgium and stayed there for the purpose of training reinforcements. The battalion moved to Esch, Luxembourg on 21 October 1944, and on 3 November 1944 moved to Raeren, Belgium and stayed there until 14 November 1944. This time was spent as a training period and as combat reserve. The battalion moved back into combat when they went to Germeter, Germany on 14 November 1944 and stayed there until 6 December 1914. Most of this time was spent in a defensive position. The 7th and 8th of December 1914 were spent at Bergstein where the battalion went into the attack and captured Hill 400. They then went back to Germeter and stayed there until 16 December 1944 when they moved to Simmerath, Germany and set up a defensive position augmented by a large amount of patrolling. This was the status of the battalion at the close of the year.


Annual Reports, Medical Department Activities (Continued)

3. The battalion is an entirely volunteer organization and has never utilized the services of civilian personnel.

4. Medical personnel were trained in the cliff-scaling and boat work with the remainder of the battalions otherwise they maintained their own training schedule. This schedule consisted largely of physical conditioning, first aid, and medical field problems. Field manuals, training films and strips were used in the training program when available.

5. Were the activities of this battalion confined to Ranger tactics exclusively the T. E. and T. O. would be ample. Due to the fact that many missions were of Infantry battalion nature evacuation of patients became a difficult problem. The 3/4 ton W. C. was found to be inadequate. Therefore a cross-country 4x4 ambulance and a litter jeep were added. Supplies are usually drawn from associated higher units. The equipment has proved satisfactory with one notable exception, the Medical chests No. 1 and 2 are highly impracticable for field use, especially in action requiring frequent changes of location. Although this unit is authorized 6 pack carriers 3 of them are blanket sets and 1 is a gas casualty set. There is no provision for back packing plasma and extra surgical supplies.

6. The authorized Medical chests have not been used instead 2 captured German chests so constructed as to afford easy access to sliding drawers have been used. These chests are available for instant use at any tine. They may be set up on the tailgate of the 3/4 ton W. C. and they may be hand carried and set up on the ground. The 6 pack carrier sets have been so modified that we now have available 2 surgery sets, 2 plasma sets of 9 units each, 1 blanket set, and 1 supply set.

7. During the 5 months stay in England the battalion occupied civilian houses for the greater part of the time, and in instances when private bathing facilities were not available use was made of Quartermaster shower points. Laundry was generally taken care of at a Quartermaster Laundry. Water was obtained from civilian sources when analyzed potable, otherwise it was obtained from an authorized Engineer water supply point. During the 7 months on the continent the housing varied from abandoned buildings and pup-tents while not in combat to casements, log dug-outs, and fox-holes while in combat. Water was obtained only from authorized Engineer water supply points and the Quartermaster laundry and shower point were utilized when possible.

8. While in the U.K., the battalion maintained its own mess halls in whatever suitable buildings that could be found. During 1 period of a month and a half the battalion ate in private homes. The food was of good quality and very little trouble was encountered in the sewage and waste disposal. Swap holes and straddle trenches were used most of the time while on the continent. Combat rations usually consisted of K and C rations, supplemented at times by meat sandwiches and hot soup.

9. Treatment of battle casualties: Battle casualties are evacuated as quickly as possible with a minimum of wound handling.

10. Dental Service: Dental service has been provided at time to time by higher units. emergency dental treatment was taken care of by nearby dental officers. Dental surveys were held trice during the year.


Annual Reports, Medical Department Activities (Continued)

11. Evacuation: The following general principles have been set up for evacuation: The company aid man renders first aid and is responsible for transporting patient to the company CP. The litter jeep transports the patient to the battalion aid station, this distance varying from 200 to 600 yards. At the battalion aid station the ambulance transports the patient to the nearest higher unit. Because of the tactical situation evacuation many times has not followed this principle. During the initial assault on France the Pointe Du Hoc group was served by the medical officer and 5 EM who set up an aid station at the assault group CP. They evacuated their patients to the base of the cliff. The first of these patients had to wait 36 hours for further evacuation. Five EM accompanied the 3 companies who made the assault on Omaha Beach. The first wounded were taken off the beach about 2100 D day. Evacuation at Brest was very convenient. Due to the protecting hedgerows it was possible to take the ambulance right up to the front lines. Thus many times it was possible to evacuate a casualty to the collecting station in less than 20 minutes from the time he was hit. During the Bergstein engagement the terrain did not allow the free use of vehicles. Due to heavy enemy mortar and artillery fire there were approximately 105 casualties. Due to the intrepid courage of the litter jeep driver (who had two vehicles blown out from under him) many of these cases were speedily evacuated. Before the litter jeep was reached there was a mile hand carry for many of the wounded. For this 12 men were borrowed from the line companies. The litter jeep made a journey of 1 miles to the ambulance. During this engagement an aid station was set up at the point where patients were collected for the litter jeep. Due to the intense fire many wounded waited 24 to 36 hours for evacuation. The Simmerath engagement was purely defensive with nightly patrols. While the companies were in a perimeter defense around the town of Simmerath the aid station was set up in a cellar in the town were the principles set down above were closely adhered to. Evacuation was as rapid as at Brest.

12. Recommendations: Two litter squads of men each are urgently needed. The T. O. of 11 and 1 medical officer does not allow for speedy evacuation. The two litter squads should have two litter jeeps available but not necessarily carried on the T. E., though this would be the most practicable. An ambulance is needed, usually there are no close units that can be relied upon to furnish transportation. A ton trailer is needed to carry items that would not be taken into combat. This trailer would be pulled by a rear echelon vehicle. The medical chests are not convenient and should be replaced by standing type chests with drawers. The pack carriers are excellent but there are two blanket sets too many and the gas casualty set should not be included in the pack carriers.


Captain, M.C.
Bn. Surgeon

SOURCE: National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 407, Records of the U.S. Army Adjutant General, World War II Records, 2d Ranger Battalion.