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Headquarters 8th Medical Battalion, APO 8, U.S. Army, 14 January 1945

The Fight for the Hürtgen Forest

HEADQUARTERS 8TH MEDICAL BATTALION
APO 8, U.S. ARMY

14 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 November 1944 to 30 November 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         VIII Corps - Maj Gen Troy H. MIDDLETON

c         V Corps - Maj Gen L. T. GEROW

d         8th Inf Div - Maj Gen D. A. STROH (until 28 Nov 1944)

                                  Brig Gen W. G. WEAVER (from 28 Nov 1944)

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

            1 November 1944 to 19 November 1944
            Amb Platoon 580 Med Coll Co.

            19 November to 30 November 1944
            Amb Platoon 452 Med Coll Co.

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 30 2400 A September 1944 to 31 2400 A October 1944.  


2

4         MAPS

            The following maps were used in this operation:

Central Europe 1:100,000 GSGS 4416 - 4364 Germany 1:25,000 5203 - 5303 - 5304 - 5204

Sheets 13, 17, & T-1

SECTION III - REPORT AFTER ACTION AGAINST ENEMY

1         GENERAL

The period from 1 November 1944 to 16 November 1944 was spent in LUXEMBOURG , the Division maintaining an active defense along a 22 mile front. The front was relatively quiet. Casualty flow was slight, the bulk of it due to sporadic artillery and mortar fire falling on front line troops. Early in the period show fall made difficult vehicular traffic over the hilly and tortuous road-net. The Collecting Companies and Clearing Sections operated comfortably within billets. Limited training was carried on and several schools on Medical records were conducted by the Surgeon's office.

From 16 November 1944 to 20 November 1944, the 8th Infantry Division changed areas and missions with the 28th Infantry Division. Arrangements were made with the 103d Medical Battalion commander to effect a unit for unit exchange of medical installations. Collecting Companies moved with their CTs and the Clearing Station shuttled its platoons.

Soon after arriving in Germany the Division attacked, making the main effort of the V Corps, along a six mile front with all three regiments in line. Heavy resistance was encountered and little progress was made. Enemy shelling, mortar fire, and mines as well as extremely difficult terrain presented formidable obstacles. Rain and snow soon complicated operations.

2.         PRINCIPAL EVENTS:

1 Nov - Location of Medical Battalion installations as follows:

            Collecting Company "A" - WEISWAMPACH, LUX.        P 818724

            Collecting Company "B" - KAUTENBACH, LUX.            P 772518

            Collecting Company "C" - MEDERNACH, LUX.              P 911359

            Clr Section - CLERF, LUX.                                               P 776631

            Clr Section - ETTELBRUCK, LUX.                                  P 823400

            Bn CP & Clr Station - WILTZ, LUX.                                P 706537

2 Nov - 5 Nov - No change.

6 Nov - Collecting Company "C" had to evacuate its billets. Moved to school building in ETTELBRUCK - P 823400

7 Nov - 8 Nov - No change. Casualty flow sporadic and light. No evacuation problems.

9 Nov - Snow fall and slippery roads made evacuation more difficult.

10 Nov -  15 Nov - No change.

16 Nov -  Collecting Company "A" moved to new location east of ROTGEN , GERMANY . Area previously was occupied by Collecting Company "C" of 28th Division. Coordinates K 950302.

17 Nov - Clearing Sections from ETTELBRUCK and CLERF relieved by 103rd Medical Battalion. Platoon reformed on road and moved to hunting lodge one and one half miles south of ROTGEN. K 903270.

18 Nov - Collecting Company "B" moved from KAUTENBACH , LUXEMBOURG to vicinity ZWEIFALL , GERMANY . K 964351.

19 Nov - Battalion CP and remaining Clr Platoon moved to new area in Germany . K 903270.

20 Nov - Collecting Company "C" moved from ETTELBRUCK , LUXEMBOURG to area east of ROTGEN. K 969301.

21 Nov - Collecting Company "C" moved from K 969301 to K 997329. Sections leap-frogged. Casualty flow moderately heavy.

22 Nov - No change.


3

23 Nov - One officer and five EM from Collecting Company "A" pinned down by artillery and mortar fire in vicinity of a Battalion Aid Station. One jeep and ambulance knocked out. Battalion maintenance section evacuated both vehicles.

24 Nov -  28 Nov - Evacuation is difficult; roads are getting worse, especially those to Collecting Companies "B" and "C".

29 Nov -  Collecting Company "A" strafed by enemy aircraft - one resultant casualty.

30 Nov - No change.

3         COMMENTS:

Medical service during the period from 1 November 1944 to 16 November 1944 presented no particular problem. Casualty flow was light. 

All Collecting Companies were well situated. The Clr Sections at CLERF and ETTELBRUCK supported Collecting Companies "A" and "C" respectively and cut down on their ambulance hauls. The Clr Platoon at WILTZ had sufficient ward space to enable us to hold over many more cases than we had been able to in the past. Minor surgical procedures were carried out. The 43rd (? 42d?) Field Hospital unit was attached to this division but non-transportable casualties were few and far between. Most casualties were evacuated to the 107th Evacuation Hospital located west of CLERF.

In order to put out more dentistry the Division Dental Surgeon pulled in all his dental surgeons and formed a dental platoon. This was broken down into two identical dental surgical sections and one prosthetic and laboratory section. The latter section and one surgical section operated at WILTZ, the other surgical section operated at DIEKIRCH in the vicinity of the 121st Infantry sector. This proved a successful experiment. More dentistry was accomplished in the period than at any other time in the past.

Medical service during the period 16 November to 20 November while the 28th and 8th Divisions were exchanging areas, was continuous. This was accomplished by coordinating moves any by close cooperation from both units.

Upon arriving in Germany medical service encountered numerous problems. The Collecting Companies experienced considerable difficulty in finding suitable locations in the mud bed of the HURTGEN Forest . Plank floors for the tents and corduroy entrances had to be laid down. The poor conditions of the roads and the necessity for controlled one-way traffic further complicated ambulance evacuation. The installations could not set up as far forward as desirable. Litter bearers were needed for work forward of the Aid Stations where litter hauls were long and difficult. Areas were extensively mined and not infrequently the engineers had to clear paths for casualties. Corps litter bearers and ambulances had to be requested to supplement our own. Tractor jeeps and horse drawn carts were utilized were possible. Increasing numbers of trench foot, battle fatigue, and mine casualties passed through the chain of evacuation. However, total casualties for the Division were not excessively high. The Clearing Station, which was set up in a hunting lodge where facilities for sorting, treatment, and evacuation were very good, operated smoothly and without difficulty. The Dental Platoon was established close to the Clearing Station. The 53rd Field Hospital operating in ROTGEN received our non-transportables; others were evacuated to Evacuation Hospitals in EUPEN and BRAND.

Medical service during this period offered sharp contract to that of the first period.

                        For the Commanding Officer:

                                                WILLIAM MACKLER,
                                                Captain, MC,
                                                S-3.


4

Breakdown of Admissions to Med Bn

1 Nov 1944 - 30 Nov 1944  

Date
Nov

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

6

0

0

6

6

2

3

8

5

3

0

8

23

5

1

29

2

10

2

9

21

3

3

0

6

0

0

0

0

26

6

7

39

3

4

0

7

11

6

0

1

7

3

0

1

4

16

3

7

24

4

2

1

2

5

2

1

0

3

3

2

0

5

14

4

1

19

5

2

0

0

2

1

0

0

1

1

0

0

1

7

8

0

15

6

4

0

1

5

2

1

0

3

1

0

0

1

13

3

1

17

7

3

2

0

5

1

0

3

4

4

0

0

4

14

1

9

24

8

3

0

2

5

2

1

0

3

1

0

0

1

7

2

1

10

9

3

1

0

4

1

0

0

1

3

0

0

3

9

4

0

13

10

4

3

0

7

1

0

2

3

1

0

0

1

15

2

2

19

11

3

0

0

3

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

4

4

2

10

12

3

0

0

3

3

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

10

2

2

14

13

5

0

1

6

4

2

2

8

2

0

0

2

17

3

1

21

14

2

1

1

4

2

0

0

2

4

0

0

4

9

5

1

15

15

9

4

8

21

1

0

0

1

3

0

2

5

19

10

5

34

16

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

2

5

1

0

6

7

7

2

16

17

15

4

11

30

6

1

2

9

14

4

0

18

25

17

2

44

18

18

5

5

28

0

1

0

1

5

2

3

10

5

7

0

12

19

14

2

3

19

5

2

7

14

3

2

1

5

31

10

23

64

20

14

7

5

26

12

5

27

44

0

0

0

0

36

15

33

84

21

7

2

6

15

8

2

14

24

46

4

131

181

36

20

100

156

22

11

0

4

15

27

4

48

79

42

5

105

152

115

61

134

310

23

9

0

23

32

29

2

78

109

21

3

64

88

73

26

81

180

24

6

0

10

16

13

0

47

60

21

3

50

74

45

47

93

185

25

3

1

4

8

30

2

41

73

31

7

72

110

59

33

98

190

26

2

4

11

17

5

0

11

16

19

4

18

41

37

25

34

96

27

6

1

22

29

7

5

15

27

33

8

56

97

32

28

44

104

28

5

1

36

42

19

10

8

37

11

4

41

56

38

16

62

116

29

12

0

22

34

11

5

13

29

10

2

66

78

38

36

78

152

30

10

1

5

16

22

2

34

58

4

2

24

30

38

26

37

101

Totals

195

42

198

435

231

51

353

635

297

55

627

987

818

436

859

2113


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 .