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Headquarters 8th Medical Battalion, APO 8, U.S. Army, 10 January 1945

The Fight for the Hürtgen Forest

HEADQUARTERS 8TH MEDICAL BATTALION

APO 8, U.S. ARMY

10 January 1945

SUBJECT:      Report After Action Against Enemy  

TO:                 The Adjutant General, U.S. Army, Washington , D.C.  

THROUGH:   Commanding General, 8th Inf Div, APO 8, U.S. Army

SECTION I    - Authority

SECTION II   - Introduction

SECTION III - Report After Action Against Enemy

SECTION IV  - Annex

SECTION I - AUTHORITY

In compliance with par 10, AR 345-105, this report is by 8th Medical Battalion 1 December 1944 to 31 December 1944 is submitted.

SECTION II - INTRODUCTION 

1         Command: During the time covered by the report the 8th Medical Battalion operated under the following Hqs and Comdrs:

a         First Army - Lt Gen Courtney HODGES

b         V Corps - Maj Gen L. T. GEROW

c         XIX Corps - Maj. Gen. Raymond S. McLAIN

d         Ninth Army - Lt. Gen. William H. SIMPSON

e         8th Inf Div -  Brig Gen W. G. WEAVER

f          8th Med Bn - Lt Col John M. THOMPSON

2. Composition:

a         Organic                       Commanders

            Hq Detachment           Capt Donald E. DOMINA

            Company A                 Capt Julius LITTER

            Company B                 Capt Robert J. BAKER

            Company C                 Capt Henry C. ROBERTSON, JR.

            Company D                 Maj. Henry L. PRATT

b         Attached

            Amb Platoon 452 Med Coll Co.   1st Lt David A. SCHLICTING

3         This operation report covers the combat action of the 8th Medical Battalion during the period since the last report which was submitted as of 31 2400 A October 1944 to 30 2400 A November 1944.


2

4         MAPS

            The following maps were used in this operation:

             Germany 1:25,000 5203 - 5303 - 5304 - 5204

SECTION III - REPORT AFTER ACTION AGAINST ENEMY

1         GENERAL: 

The period opened with the Medical Battalion installations in their same locations in spite of repeated attempts to move forward to more suitable locations. Ambulance hauls both forward to the aid stations and rearward to the Clearing Station were long and tortuous and over poor roads. Littered jeeps and weasels were used where ambulances couldn't function. The replacement of broken ambulance springs became a problem. Three quarter ton weapons carrier springs were used to supplement the need. By the middle of the period the division had fanned out to the east and south east, seized and secured the BERGSTEIN area, on the left cleared the terrain west of the ROER RIVER , and to the right cleared the terrain west of the KALL RIVER . This expansion enabled the collecting companies to move forward in closer support of their regiments and opened up new and more favorable routes of evacuation. Ambulance hauls top the Aid Stations were considerably shortened, but not so to the Clearing. To alleviate this, an advanced Clearing section was set up at JAGERHAUS. All casualties reached this point, were sorted, and transferred to army ambulances for evacuation to Clearing. This freed collecting company ambulances for work forward. When the division boundaries were moved north, the town of ZWEIFALL fell into our sector permitting the Clearing Station to move to a more central point on the main artery to the front. This eliminated the need for an advanced Clearing Station which was then pulled back.

2.         PRINCIPAL EVENTS:

1 Dec - Location of Medical Battalion installations as follows:

            Collecting Company "A" -  K 950302

            Collecting Company "B" -  K 996329

            Collecting Company "C" -  K 996328

            Bn CP & Clr Station - K 903270 

Collecting Company "C" evacuated 121 Infantry troops, pushing through Hurtgen Forest toward Kleinhau in addition to one battalion13th Infantry and 12th Eng. Battalion operating in that sector. Evacuation limited to night work. Casualty flow moderately heavy.

3 Dec - Forward and rear division elements including Collecting and Clearing Stations strafed by enemy aircraft. 9th Infantry division MAC officer killed in vicinity of our Clearing Station.

4 Dec - 7 Dec - Brandenberg and Bergstein captured. Roads leading to Bergstein and Vossenack under observation and draw enemy artillery fire. Litter carries over difficult terrain and as long as three miles.

8 Dec - 2nd Ranger Battalion holding high ground SE of Bergstein suffered moderate amount of casualties. Medical officer was killed and medical personnel wounded. Collecting Company "C", under cover of darkness sent a medical party forward which treated and evacuated all casualties despite heavy enemy mortar and artillery fire.

9 Nov - One Platoon Collecting Company "A" moved to new site west of Kleinhau (F 035373)


3

10 Dec -  Remainder of Collecting Company "A" moved to new area.

11 Dec - 14 Dec - New areas reconnoitered for Collecting Companies "A" & "C" closer to their CTs in preparation for division attack.

15 Dec -  Collecting Company "B" and advanced section Clearing set up at Jagerhaus (K984310). Army ambulance platoon moved to same site to evacuate casualties from this section to Clearing Station.

16 Dec - Clearing Station and Battalion CP shelled by enemy artillery. Two medical personnel evacuated as casualties.

17 Dec - Collecting Company "C" moved to K 987313. News of German thrust through Ardennes and dropping of paratroopers. Clearing Station placed on two hour alert in view of exposed positions on flank of division boundary. Arrangements made with 308th Medical Battalion of 83rd Infantry Division to provide hard standing and operating space in event that movement became a necessity.

18 Dec - Division attack postponed.

19 Dec - The division having been transferred to VII Corps is now being evacuated by the 175th Medical Battalion of the 68th Medical Group. Arrangements and plans discussed with medical group representative.

20 Dec - No change.

21 Dec - Division passed to control of XIX Corps and Ninth Army. Evacuation of Clearing Station taken over by 178th Medical Battalion of the 31st Medical Group. Arrangements and plans discussed with Medical group representative.

21 Dec -  24 Dec - No change.

25 Dec  -  Collecting Company "C" moved to area vacated by Regimental CP 121 Infantry (F 021373) 121 Infantry attacking Obermauch [Obermaubach] and casualty flow through Collecting Company "C" increased.

26 Dec - 83rd Division withdrawn from sector north of this division. One platoon Clearing Station moved into Youth Camp south of Zweifall. (K 952358).   

            Ordnance and QM units just north of Battalion CP bombed by unidentified aircraft.

27 Dec - Battalion CP and 2nd Platoon Clearing moved to new site.

28 Dec - 31 Dec - Division organizing positions for close defense. Casualty flow light. No change in medical installations.

3         COMMENTS:

Medical service during the period was beset with problems of long litter carries over difficult terrain, long ambulance hauls, enemy observation of routes of evacuation, and difficulty in obtaining sites for medical installations. Collecting company litter bearers were regularly employed forward of the Aid Stations in addition to litter bearers requested from Corps medical troops. Corps ambulances were required to supplement our own and were of invaluable service. Medical needs were sufficiently anticipated to provide assistance in time to meet period of heavy casualty flow. Mine casualties, reactions to cold and moisture, and trench foot were the predominant causes for hospitalization, The new formed Field Dental Platoon operated with the Clearing Station and excellent results were obtained:

                        For the Commanding Officer:

                                                WILLIAM MACKLER,
                                                Captain, MC,
                                                S-3.


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Breakdown of Admissions to Med Bn

Date
Dec

Coll Co A

Coll Co B

Coll Co C

Clr Co D

 

I

BC

Total

D

I

BC

Total

D

I

BC

Total

D

I

BC

Total

1

4

45

29

80

28

0

62

90

19

11

39

69

98

31

70

199

2

4

5

26

35

27

1

52

80

16

11

73

100

70

33

165

268

3

2

7

4

13

6

1

55

62

17

4

79

100

40

24

99

163

4

8

0

6

14

35

1

31

67

23

4

17

44

79

34

48

161

5

6

3

2

11

17

0

48

65

13

5

39

57

61

31

61

153

6

9

5

7

21

32

0

57

89

14

6

33

53

50

35

84

169

7

10

1

5

16

17

2

38

57

10

6

12

28

63

24

53

140

8

6

2

7

15

14

5

75

94

8

3

18

29

52

28

63

143

9

6

6

24

36

27

3

46

76

11

4

16

31

44

44

61

149

10

2

3

13

18

21

3

58

82

18

13

32

63

60

50

74

184

11

10

4

39

53

12

4

29

45

7

8

21

36

39

46

77

162

12

12

5

19

36

8

2

23

33

12

7

5

24

35

36

38

109

13

4

2

8

14

7

3

23

33

17

11

0

28

52

41

57

150

14

3

4

4

11

17

0

82

99

8

5

5

18

39

102

26

167

15

4

9

7

20

33

2

64

100

11

7

4

22

61

72

42

175

16

10

2

9

21

23

8

27

58

10

3

5

18

52

67

44

163

17

11

2

3

16

21

5

23

49

8

1

1

10

49

35

16

100

18

6

2

5

13

25

5

16

46

9

2

3

14

56

40

22

118

19

1

2

1

4

12

2

14

28

4

3

4

11

32

24

13

69

20

9

3

4

16

13

1

23

37

6

1

4

11

30

26

12

68

21

7

0

0

7

8

4

6

18

5

2

8

15

26

25

25

76

22

4

3

1

8

19

3

22

44

10

3

15

28

42

33

9

84

23

2

1

13

16

7

0

35

42

3

1

30

34

24

14

72

110

24

5

0

5

10

8

3

35

46

8

3

26

37

24

13

62

99

25

4

0

0

4

5

2

14

21

13

3

58

74

26

13

61

100

26

6

2

3

11

12

0

13

25

17

2

39

58

42

22

39

103

27

6

3

3

12

5

0

5

10

11

0

30

41

28

16

46

90

28

3

5

12

20

9

1

6

16

5

2

7

14

27

18

14

59

29

1

5

5

11

8

4

6

18

7

4

6

17

26

14

10

50

30

4

4

10

18

10

2

8

20

7

0

7

14

23

15

19

57

31

7

2

5

14

5

5

5

15

6

5

11

22

14

17

14

45

Totals

178

137

279

594

491

73

1040

1604

324

139

657

1120

1364

1023

1496

3883


D: Disease

I:   Injury

BC: Battle Casualty

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 410, Records of the US Army Adjutant General, World War II Records, 8th Medical Battalion, After Action Reports, July-December 1944, Box 7322 .