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Headquarters, 82nd Airborne Division

Table of Contents

HEADQUARTERS 82ND AIRRORNE DIVIST0N

Office of the Surgeon

APO 469

U. S. Army

11 October 1945

SUBJECT: Period Reports, Medical Department Activities.

TO: The Surgeon General, United States Army, Washington, D. C.

THRU: Channels

1. Under provisions of AR 40-1005 and in compliance with Circular Letter 58, Headquarters European Theater of Operations, 14 May 1945, Subject "Period Reports, Medical Department Activities", the enclosed report is submitted.

2. This is a copy of report submitted 20 June 1945 through channels to XVI Corps. This report is being sent direct to Chief Surgeon, USFET Rear, APO 887.

[signed]

WILLIAM C. LINDSTROM,

Lt Colonel, MC,

Division Surgeon.

1 Incl

(Period Reports, Med Dept Activities, 82d ABN Div, for period 17 Dec 1944 to 9 May 1945, in duplicate)


ANNUAL REPORT

OF MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION FOR THE PERIOD 17 DEC 19z1L TO 9 MAY 1945

SECTION I                HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION

SECTION II               FIELD AND COMBAT EXPERIENCES

SECTION III             HYGIENE AND SANITATION

SECTION IV             RECOMMENDATTONS FOR M DTCAT, SERVICE

SECTION I:   HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION.

The early history of the 82d Airborne Division has been reported in the Annual Report for 1943. A recapitulation of the important dates follow:

August 25, 1917         82d Infantry Division activated at Camp Gordon, Georgia, under the command of Major General Eben Swift.

April 25, 1918             Embarked for overseas duty.

June 25, 1918              Entered combat on Western Front. Participated in combat almost continuously until November 1, 1918.

April    1919                Returned to the United States and demobilized.

March, 25, 1942          Reactivated at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana under the command of Major Omar N. Bradley.

June 26, 1942              Command of the Division was assumed by Major General Matthew B. Ridgway.

August 15, 1942         82d Infantry Division was redesignated 82d Airborne Division and personnel divided to form the 101st Airborne Division.

October 1, 1942          Division moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for airborne training.

April 29, 1943             Embarked for North African Theater of Operations.

June 6, to                     Spearheaded assault on Sicily and assisted in the conquest of the western one third of the island.

August 2, 1943          

September 14, to         Relieved Salerno beachhead by air and sea and assisted in the drive on Naples.

Oct 1, 1943                

October 1, to               Occupation and policing of Naples.

November 17, 1943   

November 18, 1943    Embarked for transfer to European Theater of Operations.

December 9, 1943       Division arrived in Northern Ireland.

March 1944 to             Preparations for assault landings in Normandy.

June 1944

June 6, 1944 to            Normandy Campaign.

July 13, 1944


2

July 13, 1944 to          Regrouping in England. Preparations for future airborne landings.

Sept 17, 1944

Sept 17, 1944 to          Landing in Nijmegen, Holland. Combat in this area.

Nov 17, 1944

Nov 17, 1944 to          Regrouping in Rheims, France area. Preparation for further combat.

Dec 17, 1944

SECTION II: FIELD AND COMBAT EXPERIENCES.

On December 17, 1944 the Division was alerted to move to Bastogne area to aid in countering the offensive begun 24 hours earlier by the German Army. This presented some interesting problems in as much as the units were in garrison and incompletely equipped. Due to whole hearted cooperation and unceasing labor this situation was admirably handled by supply units so that on arrival in area of Werbomont [Belgium] all equipment and necessary supplies were on hand in adequate quantities.

On disposition of the troops the unit Medical Detachments accompanied their units and the Clearing Station was located in a field one (1) mile west of Werbomont. Here the station operated approximately ten (10) days. The platoon of the field hospital attached was utilized as a Clearing Platoon. As the lines moved eastward, the Clearing Station was moved east to a hotel well in the mountains. It was fairly centrally located early in the phase but soon became quite distant from the lines. It was decided that the station not move because of lack of housing and paucity of roads. As it developed the location was satisfactory though the time of evacuation was materially lengthened. In the latter stages of this phase a forward Clearing Station was established which relieved the evacuation problem considerably. By this time the Division had been in the line about twenty-five (25) days and were relieved for a rest. Ten (10) days later the Division went back into the line in the area south and east of Malmedy. The Clearing Station was located at Lignueville, three days later an advance station was established at Meyerode. Again lack of roads and shelter resulted in greatly lengthened evacuation distances. Every effort to reduce the distances was made, but before anything was accomplished the unit moved to take area of Schmidt, Germany. In this period the Clearing Station was located at Roetgen [Germany]. Again the evacuation distances became excessive. Shortly, however, the Division was relieved from combat.

In general the standard of evacuation was not at the level we have learned to expect. As a result the units suffered some inconveniences though it is extremely doubtful that lives were lost as a result. The lack of close support was as true above Division level as within the Division. The principal difficulties were due to extreme weather and very difficult terrain.

On arrival in the area the weather was wet and cool. This shortly changed to bitterly cold weather with a great amount of snow. This lasted until the last ten (10) days of the campaign when it thawed and made a morass of the whole area. It was so cold that buildings were essential to the proper care of casualties. This in part prevented free movement of the clearing Station and of course larger medical installations.

The terrain fought over was extremely difficult. Roads, except for the few arterial highways were from poor to non existent. This was especially true in the area east of the Malmedy - St Vith highway to the Siegfried line. The area assigned to the Division was devoid of roads. Combined with first frozen roads and snow then thaws and mud, travel was extremely difficult. However, by remaining near the neck of the funnel of roads, satisfactory evacuation was maintained.


3

Casualties it the campaign were extremely high in the non-battle casualty category. Of a total 7824 casualties recorded, 2900 were battle casualties. The remainder [were] non-battle. The largest single cause of non-battle casualties was frost bite and trench foot. A total of 1428 cases. This large incidence was due, first, to the constant use of our troops in bitter cold weather, over completely uninhabited country. The equipment for troops is not well suited for winter warfare of this type. Proper care of the feet becomes virtual impossibility under the conditions our troops fought. All concerned vigorously applied every known method of prevention.

Breakdown of all casualties recorded. in medical records of the Division is as follows:

Neuropsychiatric

307

Gastrointestinal                      

314

Upper Resp. Infection            

488

Scabies                                    

43

Fever undetermined origin     

124

Venereal disease                     

120

Non battle injury         

555

Trench foot                 

778

Frost Bite                    

650

Battle casualties          

2900

KIA                            

165

Other  

1380

Total                            

7824


This is the first sustained moving ground action in which the Division has been engaged since Sicily and Italy. In the first two actions, casualties were light and because of this no serious problems were encountered. However, this Ardennes Campaign has quite clearly pointed the deficiencies in our Medical Service for this type of action. These have been reduced by the authorization of additional personnel. The type of organization, however, continues to be inadequate and additional equipment is needed. These changes have been requested of higher headquarters.

The use of a platoon of a Field Hospital as a Clearing Platoon is not satisfactory. Their training and equipment does not lend itself to the necessary flexibility of action.

From the period February 17, 19145 to April 2, 1945 the Division was in base camp, in Sissonne, France and Suippes, France. The usual garrison problems were encountered and adequately handled. During the stay in the Ardennes two (2) General Hospitals were located in the camps permanent buildings and all troops were housed in tents. The proximity of these hospitals greatly aided in our medical problems.

By April 2 1945 the Division moved to the Cologne area. Prior to movement the attached 503 Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 50th Field Hospital were detached. The mission was to contain the Ruhr pocket while it was being liquidated by First and Ninth United States Army units. This was accomplished by patrol activity and artillery support. No offensive action on larger than Company scale was set up. On April 18, 1945 the pocket was reduced and the division took up a purely occupational role.

During the stay in the area, troops were comfortably billeted. The weather was reasonably good and everyone was comfortable for the most part. Medical problems in the unit were negligible.

The occupational duties were of great interest medically. Approximately 20,000 displaced persons of all nationalities were handled by the Division in conjunction with the Cologne Military Government. Many prisoners were emptied into the D.P. Camps and as a result Typhus began to appear. All the troops were given an additional Typhus inoculation and dusted weekly with insect powder. All D.P.'s were thoroughly dusted with D.D.T. The control of Typhus until the Division left was adequate.


4

The combination of increased food intake and poor sanitation, resulted in a great deal of gastrointestinal disease among D.P.'s. Venereal infections, tuberculosis and malnutrition was quite prevalent. Even approximate incidences were impossible to ascertain. Louse infestations were almost 100%

These problems were met as best the facilities available would allow. No spread of these diseases to our troops was noted.

Total casualties during this period were:

Disease                                  

279

Neuropsychiatric                     

7

Non Battle Injuries                 

104

Battle Casualties                     

123

Killed In Action                      

17


About 25 April 1945 the Division was shifted to control of the British Second Army on the Elbe. In the vicinity of Bleckede, Germany. The 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment made an assault crossing of the Elbe at this point; closely followed by the remainder of the Division. The drive east and south on the eastern bank of the Elbe was rapid with small loss and ended at Ludwigslust, Germany, 2 May 1945 with the surrender of the 21st German Army.

Following the end of hostilities and the quickly followed meeting with the Russian Army, occupational and Military Government duties were begun. The over running of a comparatively small concentration camp near Ludwigslust, presented a considerable problem, as did the handling of 20,000 German prisoners. The P.W.'s were quickly reorganized into units with their own medical support and German Field Hospitals utilized for their own sick. Some poverty of supplies gave concern but no serious problems.

The people from the Concentration Camp were a very serious problem. No active Typhus was recognized but all were infested with lice. Extreme malnutrition was evidenced in all these people. Approximately 1000 were actually bed patients. A center for holding these, latter for feeding and some medical care, was set up by the 325th Infantry Regiment, under supervision of their Surgeon. Inmate medical personnel and local German military and civilian medical personnel were used in the actual care. Active delousing was instituted with D.D.T. and within ten (10) days the first typhus was recognized. Subsequently secondary cases developed, totaling 40 in all. Hospital units of the 67th Field Hospital were established to handle the more critically ill. By the last of May adequate hospitalization of all these people was found in local hospitals.

In spite of necessary close contact with these patients no ill effects have been noted in our troops.

Problems similar to those in the Cologne area were experienced with Displaced Persons. However, rapid evacuation to their own countries quickly solved most of them.

Total casualties for this period ending 9 May 1945 were:


Disease                                  

152

Neuropsychiatric                     

2

Non Battle Injuries                 

106

Battle Casualties                     

91

Killed In Action                      

6


5

SECTION III: HYGIENE AND SANITATION.

No major problems encountered. Continues to be satisfactory.

SECTION IV: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR M EDICAL SERVICE.

Increased use of Airborne Divisions as ground troops has only further indicated the need for a Medical Battalion for each Division.

[signed]

WILLIAM C. LINDSTROM

Lt Colonel, MC,

Division Surgeon.