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Headquarters III Corps, Office of the Surgeon, APO 303, U.S. Army, 5 January 1945

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HEADQUARTERS III CORPS
Office of the Surgeon
APO 303, US Army
5 January 1945


SUBJECT:   After Action Report for Month of December 1944.

THRU:  Commanding General, Headquarters III Corps, APO 303, U S Army.

TO:  The Adjutant General, Washington 25, D.C.

    1.   On 1 December the Medical Section of this Headquarters was with the Rear Echelon. However, after considering the need for the Carps Surgeon to be as near to the combat troops as possible in order to cope with their problems as they arose, it was felt that the Corps Surgeon and his staff should be with the Forward Echelon. Upon leaving Metz, France, on 19 December 1944, the Medical Section moved with the Forward Echelon to Arlon, Belgium, arriving there on 20 December 1944.

    2.   During the month the two major problems confronting the Corps Surgeon were a) the evacuation of casualties from the surrounded city of Bastogne, Belgium, and b) the coordination of the treatment sin evacuation of troops under Corps control. The first of these problems is covered in the attached report.

    3.   The second problem offered no serious difficulty other than the fact that the evacuation hospitals which were open to III Corps troops were few and in some instances over 30 miles from the Division clearing stations. This situation was due in part to the fact that, due to the sudden German offensive, sufficient evacuation hospitals were not in this area to care for the increasing number of casualties. Until Third Army was able to move in several evacuation hospitals nearer this area, a few ambulances had taken patients as far as Metz – a distance of approximately 60 miles. This was done on a few occasions only, and was due to lack of space in the available hospitals in this area, but it prevented a large surgical backlog of serious cases.

    4.  At the close of the period the medical services for this command were functioning normally with no special problems to solve.

C. S. MOLLOHAN,
Lt Col, MC,
Surgeon.

1 Incl:  Report of Evacuation of  Casualties from Bastogne.


REPORT ON EVACUATION OF CASUALTIES FROM BASTOGNE.

    The Surgeon of III Corps was first informed of the large number of casualties of 101st Airborne Division, the 9th Armored Division elements, and the 10th Armored Division elements, in Bastogne, on 21 December 1944 by the 101st Airborne Division Surgeon, who had information that there were 1300 casualties of whom about 150 were very seriously wounded.

    The Medical Company of the 101st Airborne Division was captured almost intact by the enemy west of Bastogne on 19 December 1944 in the sudden enemy breakthrough. At that time the city had not been completely encircled and casualties were still being evacuated to the 429th Collecting Company of the VIII Corps Medical Battalion.

    On 20 December 1944 all roads leading from the city were denied to American forces and the casualties began to accumulate in Bastogne.

    A tentative plan for triage and clearing of casualties upon relief of Bastogne was agreed upon at VIII Corps Headquarters by Surgeon of VIII Corps, Commanding Officer of the 64th Medical Group, and Division Surgeon, 101st Airborne Division, on 21 December 1944.
    
    III Corps was requested to permit the establishment at a clearing station in Attert by a clearing company of the 10th Armored Division. The clearance was granted and the III Corps Surgeon ordered the 182d Medical Battalion to expand the III Corps Clearing Station to accommodate 200 patients. On 22 December 1944 the 3d Platoon of the 16th Field Hospital was opened at Attert by III Corps to receive patients from Bastogne.

    On 27 December 1944 Third Army Surgeon informed the Surgeon of III Corps that he was in full control of evacuation and clearing of casualties in Bastogne. Colonel Odom, Surgical Consultant, Third Army, informed III Corps Surgeon that the 1st Platoon of the 60th Field Hospital was placed under III Corps control along with the 436th Medical Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 495th Collecting Company, and Company “A” 92d Gas Treatment Battalion for medical support of the beleaguered troops in Bastogne. On the morning of 27 December 1944 contact was made by elements of Combat Command R of 4th Armored Division with the troops holding Bastogne. A corridor was established and medical supplies were sent in.

    On the night of 27 December 1944 at 1900 the Medical Inspector of III Corps entered Bastogne and contacted Major Weiley, MC, of the 101st Airborne Division and arranged for the 495th Collecting Company to enter the city on the same night and the 1st Platoon of the 60th Field hospital to enter the morning of 28 December 1944. The final details for complete evacuation of casualties were agreed upon at that time.

    Complete evacuation of all casualties from Bautogne was effected by 1200, 28 December 1944, the total number of casualties amounting to 946.