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Chapter IX

Field Operations, Table of Contents






After a period of intensive training in the Gondrecourt area, the 1st Division, with its artillery, which had been in training at Valdahon, entered the Sommerviller (also spoken of as the Luneville) sector on a front of about 10 km. (6.21 miles) southeast of Nancy. On the night of October 20-21, 1917, it began to occupy the front by battalions, each attached to a corresponding French unit,1 one battalion from each of the four infantry regiments of the division serving in the lines at a time, interspersed with French troops.1 They remained in the lines about 10 days under tactical control of the French 18th Infantry Division whose headquarters was located at Sommerviller.2 The sector was quiet. The first American shot in the war was fired by Battery C, 6th Field Artillery, at 6.05 a. m., on October 23, from a position 400 meters (437 yards) east of Bathelemont.1 The first German prisoner captured by Americans was taken by the 1st Division October 27, 1917. The first American casualties suffered in actual combat occurred on November 3, 1917, in a night raid by the enemy against a part of the 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry, north of Bures, in which three men were killed and seven wounded.3 a On the night of November 20, 1917, the division was withdrawn from the line to the Gondrecourt area to continue training.1


Ambulance Company No. 13, the only American ambulance company which then operated in this sector, furnished litter bearers for duty in the trenches, and evacuated patients to Field Hospital No. 13 and from it to Base Hospital No. 18 at Bazoilles-sur-Meuse, and to Camp Hospital No. 1 at Gondrecourt.4 It did not establish a dressing station, as patients were moved

aThe first fatality in the American forces due to enemy action occurred on September 4, 1917, when enemy air forces bombed a British hospital group at Dannes-Camiers, of which American Base Hospitals No. 5 and No. 12 were a part. Of those on duty, First Lieut. William T. Fitzsimons, M. C., and three enlisted men were killed. Three officers, one nurse, aud six enlisted men, one of whom was a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, were wounded. Among the patients, 22 were wounded, all of whom belonged to the British service.


direct by litters and by vehicles from the battalion aid stations to the field hospital. Because of road conditions the ambulance head was some distance in the rear of the aid stations. The wounded were carried through the trenches to the battalion aid stations and thence back of them a distance of 3 km. (1.8 miles) to Bathelemont, the ambulance head.5

Field Hospital No. 13 was the only field hospital established for the service of the division in this sector. Half of it, with an X-ray plant and other necessary equipment, was located in a residence and two pavilions at Einville; the other half occupied part of a hospital at Dombasle.5 As the base and camp hospitals to which this hospital was to evacuate were 81 km. (50.3 miles) distant by road, patients were retained with greater comfort at Einville.5


After a second period of training in the Gondrecourt area, where it performed extensive and prolonged maneuvers, the 1st Division (less the 2d Infantry Brigade), on January 15, 1918, began its movement to relieve the 1st Moroccan Division in the Ansauville sector. Here it remained until February 5, under tactical command of the French 69th Division,6 when it took over control of the sector. On March 9, the 2d Infantry Brigade, which had remained in the Gondrecourt area, relieved the 1st Infantry Brigade.6 This sector, near Toul, had a frontage of about 7.5 km. (4.6 miles) and a depth of twice that distance. The most available road was that of Beaumont-Mandres-Ansauville-Menil-la-Tour, though other roads were used when necessary.7 The enemy held well constructed trenches which had been occupied since 1914, running parallel to the Flirey-Bouconville road about 1 km. (six-tenths of a mile) north of Seicheprey.7 The sector was generally quiet, though there were occasional active days characterized by raids, artillery bombardments, and gas attacks.5


The division surgeon’s office, headquarters of the sanitary train, and headquarters of its field hospital and ambulance sections were at Menil-la-Tour.

Medical Department personnel established an aid station at each regimental headquarters and battalion aid stations in battalion areas.7 A station list of the area reads as follows: Regimental headquarters 16th Infantry, Mandres; 18th Infantry, Beaumont; 26th Infantry, Bouconville; 28th Infantry, Beaumont; 1st Engineers, Boucq, with battalion aid stations variously situated at Beaumont, Mandres, and Ansauville, and in dugouts south of the Flirey-Beaumont road; 5th Artillery, Cornieville, with battalion aid stations at Le Faux Bois and at Mandres; 6th Field Artillery, Ansauville, with battalion station in that vicinity; 7th Artillery, woods west of Mandres; 1st Supply Train, Raulecourt; 1st Ammunition Train, Troussey and Sanzey; Machine Gun Battalion units, Ansauville, Beaumont, and Xivray.8 The most advanced battalion aid stations were located in dugouts at Seicheprey, and as this village was under direct enemy observation and was shelled frequently,



evacuation thence had to be carried on at night, when ambulances could travel the road from Beaumont.9 Removal to the regimental aid station at that point was accomplished under difficult and trying circumstances, for it was necessary that patients be carried a kilometer (0.6 mile) or more through trenches which often were knee deep in mud and water. Evacuations usually were of medical cases, of a moderate number of men suffering from shell wounds, and, at times, of a fairly large number of gas cases.10

Infantry regimental aid stations were established at first at Beaumont and Mandres, but on March 1 the station at the latter place was moved to Bouconville.11 These stations at Beaumont and Bouconville were in cellars of partially destroyed buildings and were made as nearly bombproof as possible by coverings of logs, sandbags, and stone. They were equipped only for first aid. The road between Beaumont and Mandres was especially dangerous, as it was shelled day and night, many casualties resulting.9 The regimental aid station of the 16th Infantry at Mandres had at first functioned also as a dressing station, but on March 1, 1918, this service was taken over by Ambulance Company No. 2. On March 27 this unit was relieved by Ambulance Company No. 3.12 This station took care of gassed cases as well as of other cases and to a limited degree acted as a triage.12 It was on the axial road and occupied a building whose walls had been protected by thick sandbags, but occasionally during shell fire it utilized a dugout which it had constructed near by.12


Ambulance Company No. 13, at Menil-la-Tour, operated ambulances and provided details of litter bearers for service with the lines, until relieved, on March 21, 1918, by Ambulance Company No. 12.13

The ambulance company serving the front (Ambulance Company No. 13 until March 21, thereafter Ambulance Company No. 12), augmented by vehicles from other companies, maintained headquarters and an ambulance park for its own vehicles with some from other companies, at Menil-la-Tour, dispatching ambulances to the dressing station at Mandres and to forward stations. Other ambulances were attached to troop aid stations at important points in rear areas of the sector.14

Evacuation Ambulance Company No. 1 (Services of Supply) maintained two ambulances at Field Hospital No. 13 for evacuation to Sebastopol, where twenty ambulances were available for a rear circuit in times of stress.14

The different ambulance circuits, viz, front and rear, were established for dealing with battle casualties, with a third circuit for the routine sick. The front circuit was maintained by Ford ambulances working forward from Mandres and returning to deliver patients to the dressing station there. Pertaining to it were emergency ambulances stationed at Beaumont, Rambucourt, and Bouconville, and at times at Seicheprey, with reserve at Mandres. The advance point to which ambulances could go by daylight was on the Beaumont-Bouconville road paralleling the front line and 2 km. (1.2 miles) from it.14 At night ambulances could be sent forward to Xivray-Marvoisin and


Seicheprey, 1 km. (0.6 mile) from the front line.15 When circumstances warranted the risk, emergency ambulances stationed at Seicheprey could evacuate from Seicheprey by day, but this could not be practiced as a routine measure. The rear circuit of heavy G. M. C. ambulances began at Mandres, whence patients were carried to a fixed evacuation hospital. In order to cut down transportation, patients who were deemed able to stand the longer trip to Toul or to Sebastopol were sent directly from Mandres and were not required to stop at the triage at Menil-la-Tour.14 Patients were distributed from Mandres as follows: (1) Seriously wounded and sick who could not stand long ambulance transportation, to Menil-la-Tour; (2) gassed, to Menil-la-Tour; (3) surgical cases, to Sebastopol; (4) sick and contagious diseases, to Toul.15 A few ambulances for this circuit were maintained at Mandres, with reserve at Menil-la-Tour. At times of expected stress the ambulance park was advanced to Hamonville, and ambulances and trucks were dispatched to Mandres as needed.

In quiet times a routine circuit of ambulances was maintained, daily calls being made at all stations, front and rear zones that could be reached for the collection of sick and slightly wounded to be triaged at Menil-la-Tour. This measure permitted retention of a certain number of ambulances posted at outlying stations, for emergency use.15


Field Hospital No. 13 was established on January 17, at Menil-la-Tour, in 14 Adrian barracks taken over from a French field hospital and equipped for the care of 200 patients.12 This establishment was conducted at first as a divisional hospital and, later, after hospitals in the rear began functioning as a triage, for the reception of gassed patients and some current sick, until relieved about March 31 by a field hospital of the 26th Division.12 The location was unsuitable for a hospital because of its proximity to a large dump and railhead subject to bombing attacks. Several such attacks occurred, missiles being dropped within a hundred yards of the hospital, but no artillery fire ever disturbed its neighborhood.12

Patients began to be received here immediately after arrival of the division in this sector. Seven wounded were admitted on January 21, and sixty-two gassed cases on the 26th, the latter being the first casualties of this character in the division.14 Of the 674 patients received here by Field Hospital No. 13, the disability of 323 was due to gas.14

Field Hospital No. 12, after being held in reserve, was established on January 23 at Sebastopol in large, permanent, stone barracks.12 It functioned as an evacuation and surgical hospital until relieved on February 4 by Evacuation Hospital No. 1, which then assumed responsibility for care of the seriously wounded.12 The field hospital personnel had been previously augmented by details from Ambulance Companies No. 3 and No. 13. Field Hospital No. 12 moved February 6 to large stone barracks-Caserne la Marche-at Toul, where it established a 400-bed hospital for the divisional sick.12 As these barracks were large and commodious, and readily adapted


to hospital purposes, the field hospitals here supplemented their normal equipment by the addition of large quantities of supplies suitable for the proper maintenance of a semipermanent hospital.12

Field Hospital No. 2 arrived at Toul on February 18 and established an annex to Field Hospital No. 12 for the care of contagious cases. It operated until April 2, when it was turned over to a hospital of the 26th Division.12

Field Hospitals No. 12 and No. 13 evacuated by train from Toul to base hospitals in the rear such cases as did not require surgical attention at Evacuation Hospital No. 1.15 This evacuation service was maintained until about April 3, when the field hospitals concerned were turned over to corresponding formations of the 26th Division.15 In this sector Field Hospital No. 13 received 889 patients (not including those triaged directly to other hospitals) and Field Hospitals No. 12 and No. 2, 2,482 patients.15 As Evacuation Hospital No. 1 received most of the wounded, these figures represent chiefly sick or gassed patients.15

The sick rate of the division at this time was three times that for battle casualties. More than two-thirds of these cases were of a minor character, and most of the patients were returned to duty in a short time direct from field hospitals.16 The prevailing diseases in the division while in this sector were respiratory or intestinal. Sporadic cases of cerebrospinal meningitis, diphtheria, scarlet fever, mumps, and measles occurred, but no epidemic developed. A camp for venereal cases was established southeast of Raulecourt, and its occupants who were able to do so were compelled to labor on road making and similar heavy work.16


The Medical Supply unit of the division, with a large stock, was maintained at Demange-aux-Eaux in the area of the rear echelon of the division.15 An advance medical supply depot was operated by Field Hospital No. 13 at Menil-la-Tour for issue, upon request, to all organizations in advance areas.15 An advance subdepot was maintained at the dressing station at Mandres, for the distribution of supplies, by ambulance or runners to front-line aid stations.15

The 1st Division was relieved April 1-3, 1918, by the 26th Division and proceeded to the neighborhood of Chaumont-en-Vexin, where headquarters were established April 8. Then for the next 10 days the division was trained in open warfare, activities consisting chiefly of brigade and division maneuvers. Regiments now evacuated the disabled direct into the French hospitals at Gisors.17


The offensive launched by the Germans on March 21, 1918, against the British Third and Fifth Armies, involving the French Army on the right when the British Fifth Army retired, placed the Allies in a desperate situation. The lack of complete cooperation among the Allies on the Western Front had been appreciated, and the question of preparation to meet the crisis had al-


ready received attention of the supreme war council. It had been planned that reserves would be provided and would be under the direction of a member of the supreme war council, but these were not available. On April 3, Marshal Foch was made commander in chief of all the allied forces in France. In consequence of the grave crisis caused by the German offensive the building up of a distinctive American army as a tactical unit in Lorraine was postponed, though at this time there were some 300,000 American troops in France, and American divisions were ordered as expeditiously as possible into active sectors.18 Four combat divisions were then available, the 1st and 2d, then in line, and the 26th, and 42d, just withdrawn therefrom after one month’s training. Also one regiment of the 93rd was with the French in the Argonne, the 41st was in the Services of Supply, and three divisions were arriving. On March 28, the 1st Division was placed at the disposal of the allied high command, and on April 17 commenced its movement toward the battle front. On April 25 it took over the Cantigny sector 4.9 km. (3 miles) west of Montdidier, there relieving French troops and becoming a part of the French First Army.17 No other American troops were in its vicinity. Its sector extended from Mesnil-St. Georges to north of Cantigny, an important position whose reduction was desirable in view of a contemplated allied offensive.17 The defenses taken over by the division were not the more or less elaborately constructed trenches such as it had occupied in other sectors, but consisted merely of shell holes or shallow "fox holes" dug in the open wheat fields.19 There was no complete barrier of barbed wire to protect the lines, and there were no communicating trenches, but construction of the front line and communicating trenches was pushed as rapidly as possible under supervision of the Engineers.19 This construction between the front line and the Bois de Villers-a distance of some 6 km. (3.7 miles)-was practically completed in one night with very few casualties, though the troops often were subjected to heavy shellfire.20 During the first six weeks that the division remained in this line the sector was very active; the remaining period was active. Battery positions were made untenable by high-explosive and gas shells. Towns where the different unit headquarters were established were heavily bombarded, while roads leading to them often were under interdiction fire. On the night of May 3, a very heavy bombardment was concentrated on Villers-Tournelle, where approximately 12,000 shells struck the town at the rate of 50 to 100 a minute, causing 900 casualties, including 50 killed.21 The villages of Broyes, Villers-Tournelle, Coullemelle, Roquencourt, and Serevillers were entirely destroyed and their sites constantly subject to shelling and bombing. Air raids were frequent and severe.


On May 27, 1918, the Germans attacked Chateau-Thierry, and when the French appreciated how serious and how successful was the onslaught they began to withdraw both their air squadrons and the supporting artillery from the Cantigny sector. On the 28th the 1st Division made the first American offensive of the war-as contrasted with a raid-and captured the village of Cantigny.22 This was very strongly situated on rising ground in front of a



wood which afforded protection to enemy reserves. It lay within a small salient of the German line, was well equipped with machine guns, and protected by trenches some 637 meters (700 yards) to its front.

The 28th Infantry attacked at 6.45 a. m., and along a front of 2,002 meters (2,200 yards) advanced its lines from 273 to 1,456 meters (300 to 1,600 yards), taking all objectives. Seven strong counter attacks, beginning May 28 and ending May 30, were delivered by the enemy in a vain attempt to regain the ground lost. This regiment was then relieved by the 16th Infantry.6 Because of determined German efforts to retake the salient, losses were greater after the attack than during it. Beauvais, where a Red Cross hospital was located, though 38.4 kilometers (24 miles) to the rear, suffered very severely. Hospitals were not immune from attack, and operation of the evacuation service, particularly at night, was very difficult.23

FIG. 47.-Regimental aid station, 28th Infantry, lst Division, near Cantigny, May 28, 1918


The infantry attack launched by the Germans on the night of June 8-9, 1918, between Montdidier and Noyon, included the left of the French division which was on the right of the 1st. Though the latter was not directly engaged, it was subjected to intense artillery preparation and its units partici-


pated both defensively and offensively in several raids.6 The German lines were halted from 2 to 5 km. (1.2 to 3.1 miles) in the rear of the front which they attacked, and continued the assault during the next five days.2 Activities then diminished rapidly, relatively speaking, but from the time that the 1st Division captured Cantigny until it turned that sector over to the French, there was continuous heavy shell fire, with gas attacks and many raids, though all of the last mentioned were repulsed successfully. Service in this sector proved to be typical active trench warfare. It was conducted under the general direction of the French.24

FIG. 48.-Evacuation of wounded from regimental aid station, 28th Infantry, near Cantigny, May 28, 1918

In the latter part of June, orders were received for the relief of the 1st Division by the French 152d and 166th Divisions, whose commanding officers took over command of the sector on July 7 and 8.6The 1st Division was gradually withdrawn from the Cantigny sector and arrived in an assembly area near Beauvais on July 7, the sanitary train being near St. Omer-en-Chaussee.24


The history of the service of the Medical Department while in the Cantigny sector is of peculiar interest for the reason that here were applied,


for the first time, certain innovations in organization, equipment, and methods which eventually came to be utilized along our entire front. Among these the following were important: Designation and equipment of individual field hospitals to perform triage service and to care for nontransportable wounded, gassed, and sick, as the case might be; assignment of operating teams and a groupe complémentaire (made available by the chief surgeon, A. E. F.) to the hospital for nontransportable wounded; establishment of a field medical supply depot in the immediate rear of the division; replenishment of supplies at the front by ambulances which carried forward such articles as splints, blankets, and litters which they had exchanged for those they had brought with patients to hospitals; assignment to the regulating station which served the area in which this division was operating of a medical officer charged with railway evacuations of American casualties and related duties, and appointment of a medical officer who represented in the field the medical group attached to the fourth section of the general staff. This group, after the reorganization of the American Expeditionary Forces in February, 1918, represented the chief surgeon with that section and became vested with responsibility for the medical service of troops in the zone of the armies. One of its members was now directed, on April 9, to carry out, in reference to the medical service of the First Division, the verbal orders given him by the commander in chief.25 His orders were made of the broadest character, for it could not be foreseen exactly what questions would arise nor how they should be met. He was also accredited, May 8, to the commanding general of the French Army, to which the 1st Division would be attached, as liaison officer for all questions dealing with its medical service. His duties were, on a small scale, those of a corps or army surgeon, and pertaining to supervision of medical department activities within the division, evacuation of its casualties, provision of supplies, and maintenance of contact between the divisional medical service, on one hand, and the medical group at General Headquarters, on the other. He was also the liaison officer between that service and the chief surgeon of the French Army to which the division was attached. Duties assigned him at this time and services performed by him forecast those later discharged by corps and army surgeons and formed a step in their evolution. Further allusion to them will be found at appropriate points in the following text.

The division surgeon’s office was located at Chepoix until June 5,26 when it moved to Breteuil, where it remained until July 7, when the division left the sector.26


Great difficulty was experienced in establishing aid stations in positions that would provide sufficient space and reasonable safety. Deep cellars, covered with débris from destroyed superstructures, generally were utilized, though in some localities, notably Broyes and Mesnil-St. Firmin, it was necessary to excavate, the labor being performed by regimental medical personnel, assisted as opportunity permitted by the Engineers.20 Battalion aid


stations were rough dugouts in the sides of the hills behind the trenches or holes in semiprotected positions in the woods.21 Back of the most advanced positions regimental and battalion aid stations were located in houses and barns, in various stages of dilapidation except those in the extreme rear of the area. From 10 to 20 men from the several ambulance companies were on duty with each Infantry regiment.27 During the Cantigny operation all available members of the ambulance companies were thus attached to the Infantry, and when, early in May, the detachment of Medical Department men with the 18th Infantry was severely gassed, it was for a time completely replaced by a detachment from Ambulance Company No. 2.27

This sector having a narrow front, the division was in echelon, one brigade at a time occupying the lines, with brigade headquarters at Serevillers.21 The two regimental post control stations (at first the only ones employed) and the aid stations near them were located at Broyes and Villers-Tournelle, with the battalion post control and aid stations between those points and the front-line trenches.21 When, in June, the line was extended northward, additional regimental aid stations were opened at Quiry-le-Sec and Esclainvillers.28 Other regimental aid stations in this sector were located as follows: Folleville, Breteuil, and for the Engineer regiment, Varmaise.29 Other aid stations were located for the ammunition train in Bois Renault, for the Artillery at Mesnil-St. Firmin, Tartigny, and Serevillers, and for Machine Gun Battalions at Folleville, Breteuil, Belleassise Ferme, and Chepoix.19

Medical personnel with troops were occupied day and night caring for the disabled. "The regimental medical personnel not only gave all possible attention to the wounded arriving at the stations, but generally accompanied squads of combat troops in sorties and raids. Until communication trenches were established, evacuation was necessarily in the open. Because of visibility and the activity of enemy artillery, aided by aeroplane observation, it was almost impossible to remove wounded from the advance stations until after dark, though frequently in the daytime individual ambulances would rush down the road to Broyes or Villers-Tournelle, in response to an urgent call from an overcrowded aid station or to remove some desperately wounded soldier."30 The Signal Corps had connected all parts of the sector by telephone, and this made it possible for the Medical Department to receive prompt notification of the location of wounded, and in spite of the fact that roads were heavily shelled they were transported to hospital in the shortest possible time.30


The director of ambulance companies was located at Bacouel.31 With the exception of Ambulance Company No. 2 (horse drawn) all ambulance companies were motorized by April 1.32 On April 26, additional transport was provided by United States Army Ambulance Section 649, with 20 Ford cars.31 This unit established headquarters at Bacouel and evacuated patients from all parts of the sector.


Ambulance Company No. 13 established an advance dressing station at Mesnil-St. Firmin on April 23, but this was discontinued three days later when the unit moved to Convillers.33 Here it was engaged in evacuating the wounded of the division and in supplying litter bearers to regiments until June 8, when it took over the dressing station at Bacouel from Ambulance Company No. 3 and operated it until it was closed a month later.33

Ambulance Company No. 12 had established an advance dressing station at Bacouel on April 25 and operated it until May 17, when it turned over to Ambulance Company No. 3, this unit, as mentioned above, giving place in turn to Ambulance Company No. 13.27 Ambulance Company No. 12, however, remained attached to the station until July 4, detailing litter bearers and assigning ambulances to the several regiments.34

Ambulance Company No. 3 was stationed at Bonvillers on April 21, whence it furnished litter-bearer contingents to regiments to 30 per cent of its strength, while its ambulances evacuated patients to Beauvais.35 On May 17 it took over the dressing station and medical supply depot at Bacouel and also conducted there, until June 8, a hospital for the slightly wounded. This latter formation then had to be discontinued because of constant bombing by enemy airplanes.35 On June 8 the company returned to Bonvillers and resumed its evacuation service of Field Hospital No. 12.36

Ambulance Company No. 2 also was stationed at Bacouel and operated in connection with Ambulance Company No. 12 from May 28 to 31.37

Bacouel was 7 km. (4.3 miles) from the front line, 1 km. (six-tenths of a mile) south of the axial road, Le Mesnil-Breteuil, but adequately supplied with roads to make it a good evacuation relay point.38 The place was subject to occasional enemy shell fire, but as it was not occupied by other troops and was not the center of much traffic or enemy interest, it was better adapted to dressing-station purposes than any other available location.38 The station occupied a building protected by sandbags. It was expanded, when necessary, into neighboring houses. In addition to its other duties it operated an infirmary and, until June 8, when protracted bombing and shelling necessitated its discontinuance, a hospital for the slightly wounded.35 The village of Bacouel was made the station of reserve of ambulances regulated from that point, but the main reserve of ambulances was at Bonvillers, where one ambulance company was held in reserve.38 The remainder of the ambulance companies stayed well to the rear, at La Neuville-St. Pierre, but as many of their vehicles as were needed were attached to forward units.38 Evacuations were made habitually at daybreak and at nightfall except when, during the Cantigny offensive, the enemy concentrated attention on attacking troops, thus permitting constant ambulance operation during full daylight. When the line was extended northward after that operation a reserve ambulance park was established at Paillart and ambulances were advanced as needed to the battalion aid stations in front of Quiry-le-Sec and Esclainvillers.26 The slightly sick were retained at Paillart; the others were sorted and sent farther to the rear.


In the sector west of Montdidier the 1st Division employed the following evacuation system:39 Ford ambulances, including some of those from the United States Army Ambulance Section 649, were permanently posted at aid stations in all towns within 7 km. (4.3 miles) of the front, two or more being kept at the more active centers, Broyes and Villers-Tournelle. More ambulances as needed were obtained by dispatching a runner to the station in a neighboring town or by telephone or runner to Bacouel, where a reserve of cars was kept. A number of cars belonging to the evacuation ambulance company from time to time also served the French.

Three ambulance circuits, front, rear, and evacuation, were maintained. The front circuit, conducted by Ford cars regulated from Bacouel, took patients from the ambulance heads to the Bacouel dressing station, where all patients were inspected, and given emergency treatment and stimulating drinks, and where they underwent a tentative triage and were transferred to rear circuit ambulances.

The rear circuit took patients in heavy ambulances to the divisional hospitals. Nontransportable surgical patients who had been sorted out at the dressing station were taken direct to Field Hospital No. 12 at Bonvillers; all others were sent to Field Hospital No. 13 for distribution according to the following schedule, prescribed April 20 by the surgeon of the Sixth Corps (French) under which the 1st Division was operating:39



(a) Wounded:

Slight and moderate cases

Crèvecœur, distant 18 km. (French hospital).


Beauvais (Felix farm hospital, later American Red Cross hospital), distant 25 km.

Very serious and nontransportable


(b) Sick:

Slight and moderate cases


Serious cases


(c) Gassed:

Slight cases

Froissy and La Neuville-St. Pierre.

Moderate cases

Cempuis (French gas hospital).

The evacuation circuit was that in rear of the divisional hospitals. It conveyed patients from divisional hospitals to evacuation hospitals farther in the rear.39 Serious cases were sent in ambulances, but when necessary the lighter cases were sent in trucks.

During the operations against Cantigny, May 28, the following disposition was made of the sanitary train. At Villers-Tournelle, Ambulance Company No. 13 maintained a station for slightly wounded who were then conveyed to the rear on trucks held at that town for this purpose.28 This place became the main center of evacuation and ambulance control, as after completion of the attack the wounded transport could reach Cantigny and the ravines in its rear.28 Prior to the Cantigny offensive the dressing station at Bacouel then operated by Ambulance Company No. 3 was augmented by Ambulance Company No. 2, one of the companies on duty there then serving by day, the other by night.28 It also operated as a preliminary triage, sending the


slightly wounded on trucks directly through to Froissy, La Neuville or Crèvecœur, seriously wounded to Field Hospital No. 13 at Bonvillers, for hospital care, and all others to the same point for further distribution.28


The director of field hospitals was located at Bonvillers. With the exception of Field Hospital No. 2 (horse drawn) all field hospitals had been motorized by April 17.34

FIG. 49.-Field Hospital No. 13, near Vendeuil-Caply, July 2, 1918

One of the earliest duties devolving upon the medical liasion officer and the division surgeon in this sector was the location of the field hospitals. This was difficult, for not only did such locations have to meet tactical requirements but also had to conform to resources for shelter. Buildings at all suitable were few and tentage was scarce. Field Hospital No. 13 was established, in an orchard near Vendeuil-Caply, on April 24, in six United States Army ward tents, four French Dixon tents, and two turtle tents, and admitted the first patients received in hospital in the sector.40 Until July 5, 1918, when it was closed, it operated as a triage and gas hospital, receiving 4,418 patients, including most of the wounded.40 One part of this unit conformed, to a degree, to the triage of the French, which was a formation where patients were sorted, segregated, and recorded, but received no professional service other than bathing and necessary changes of dressings. The French stressed the importance of this procedure, which was an innovation in our service. The sick and wounded not requiring immediate operation were sent by the French immediately to base hospitals in the interior, while those requiring immediate operation were sent direct to a specified hospital. In this sector the latter were sent to an auto-chir at Grandvillers where they were kept seven days or


longer.41 Field Hospital No. 13, performed the duties of a triage; for instance, it sent to the hospital for nontransportables the most serious cases (some equally serious cases reached that unit direct from the dressing station) and other patients to other appropriate hospitals, but it also, unlike the French triage, rendered actual hospital service to a large number of patients. A large percentage of the latter were gassed patients, special arrangements having been made and special equipment provided for their treatment. In addition, some sick and slightly wounded were cared for. During the 24 hours which ended at 2 p. m., May 5, it received 634 cases, most of them coming from the 18th Infantry.24 This was the first large group of gassed cases admitted to one of our field hospitals. Some of these were transferred to Field Hospitals No. 2 and No. 3 and others to the French gas hospital at Cempuis.42 At this time no American uniforms were available for issue to these patients after bathing, and so, until May 10, when such uniforms were received, our convalescent gassed patients wore French clothing.43 The French turned over to this unit a bathing center at Vendeuil, and after May 16, it was served by a portable laundry unit.

Although the position of the hospital was clearly indicated by huge red crosses, air raids against it were frequent, and on June 14, when the hospital was bombed, four men were killed and three wounded.40 Later it was shelled.40 The French had begun to place an ammunition dump near this hospital on April 25, but when their attention was called to it by the medical liaison officer it was moved a few days later.

Field Hospital No. 2, at first in reserve, was opened on May 5 at La Neuville-St. Pierre to care for the sick of the division.40 It remained at this place until June 4, when it moved to Beauvoir and operated there until July 4.40 This unit cared for most of the sick of the division, recording 1,134 admissions in this sector. On June 4 it had 428 patients under treatment.40

Field Hospital No. 3 operated at Froissy, opening there on April 22 in a building (used for operating purposes) and in tentage.40 It was designed to care primarily for gassed cases. While at Froissy it received 465 such cases and some slightly wounded. In June 6 it moved to Paillart, where it cared for gassed patients and some seriously wounded.40 While at this point it operated also as a triage for the left flank of the division, whose lines were then extended northward.40

Field Hospital No. 12, after three other locations had proven impracticable because of lack of accommodations, arrived at Bonvillers on April 22 and opened in a large château.40 This building had been assigned by the French as division headquarters, but when the division commander learned that it was needed for the care of the gravely wounded he promptly relinquished it and located his headquarters elsewhere. The hospital augmented its housing space by Army ward tents so that sufficient accommodations were provided for all cases sent to it. On April 28 the personnel of this hospital was increased by Surgical Teams No. 2 and No. 3, including their Army female nurses, and Mobile Surgical Unit No. 2, which joined the division.40 A second similar unit which had joined was held in reserve. Field Hospital No. 12 cared for


the nontransportable wounded, of whom it admitted 1,220 between April 26 and July 2.40

After the Cantigny operation five surgical teams operated in the field hospitals, as the evacuation hospitals in the rear, with the exception of that at Beauvais, suffered from a shortage of operating teams and, consequently, could care for operated cases only.44 Mortality among nontransportable wounded averaged about 25 per cent, though this varied considerably from time to time. The mortality in gassed averaged 1.7 per cent.45

Field Hospital No. 12 was the first unit of that character designed in our service for the care of nontransportable wounded, and it was equipped accordingly. It was also the first to be supplemented by a groupe complémentaire and by surgical teams from outside sources. In emergencies this hospital also cared for a number of the seriously gassed.

It should be noted that though field hospitals were specialized, each of them, if circumstances required, was expected to care also for patients suffering from conditions other than those they were especially designated to receive. A certain elasticity in this matter was found essential. Thus, on May 16, Field Hospital No. 2 was treating 3 sick and 189 gassed; Field Hospital No. 3, 85 sick, 159 gassed, 38 wounded; Field Hospital No. 12, 8 sick, 43 gassed, and 16 nontransportable wounded; and Field Hospital No. 13, 29 sick, 37 gassed, and 8 wounded.46 Field Hospital admissions in this sector totaled 7,689.43


An advance medical supply depot for the division was located first at La Neuville and later at Bacouel.29 During the first month of service in this sector its supplies were very limited, as the amount carried by the division was insufficient and it was impossible to replenish supplies as contemplated, because of the inability of regulating stations to forward matériel north of Paris.47 Supplies, including bedding and tentage, were obtained from local French depots, but as these depots were small the amounts of supplies and of other materials obtainable were inadequate. Also, the French did not carry in stock a number of articles listed on our medical supply tables, and our large requisitions could be filled only after being referred to Paris, and with consequent delay. After the first month supplies in large amount were obtained from the American Red Cross, needed articles being brought to Beauvais by truck and thence forwarded by the divisional Medical Department trucks.47 On April 6 the Medical Department representative of G-4 reported that it was essential that an advance supply depot on trucks be established and that this be replenished by rail. When he visited Fleury on April 30 he secured almost all medical supplies then needed by the division.48 By May 4 the medical supply unit had arrived and was serving satisfactorily.

After May 16 two movable disinfesting plants, each capable of serving 16 platoons in 12 hours, and one "sterilab" water purifier with an output of 1,200 gallons per hour, arrived.46 On May 18 needed dental outfits were received and distributed.49



On April 13 the medical representative of G-4, G. H.Q., wired as follows to the head of the fourth section of the American general staff:50 "French evacuation hospitals will be situated so far in rear that it is necessary to amplify one field hospital, or perhaps two, for the care of nontransportable wounded. Recommend two groupes complémentairs (mobile surgical units) and two operating teams without female nurses be held in reserve. One auto-chir probably will be required later but not recommended now."

According to orders from the French mission to the chief surgeon French Fifth Army, evacuation of American casualties in rear of the field hospitals was to be effected by the medical representative of the fourth section, general staff, though the French offered to furnish such ambulances for that purpose as might be available.51 Fearing that these would be inadequate, the medical representative, G-4, G. H. Q., requisitioned a United States Army ambulance section, which was promptly furnished.51 In effecting this evacuation the liaison officer was requested to comply with the French system, which did not vest in the army surgeon responsibility for care of casualties, until these had arrived in the evacuation hospitals.51 The division surgeon, under this system, was responsible for all evacuations to the French evacuation hospital, which was not more than 16 or 24 km. (10 or 15 miles) from the front. At this time it was decided that nontransportable cases, and these only, should be operated on in the divisional hospitals, and that only one of these field hospitals should be equipped for that purpose.51

Evacuations to the rear of divisional units were made to the French hospitals mentioned above in the discussion of the ambulance service, there being available at first neither an American evacuation hospital nor facilities for evacuation by rail directly in rear of the division.52 While the need for additional motor transport had been met by the assignment of United States Army Ambulance Section No. 649, efforts to provide American Army hospitalization in rear of the division were not at first successful, though the need was stressed for several reasons. Differences in language, for instance, had caused inevitable misunderstandings which, despite the best efforts on the part of the French, had delayed ward service in some cases and led to mutual embarrassments.52 A very serious administrative difficulty arose through the fact that French hospital trains, under their method of allocating casualties, were distributing American patients to numerous French hospitals scattered throughout the country and thus they were lost to our authorities for months at a time.52 Some deaths occurred which were not reported for very long periods.52 Nothing but an emergency of the gravest nature was deemed justification for the continuance of the existing methods.

With a view to their remedy, permission was requested of the French to install an American evacuation hospital at Beauvais.53 While no such hospital was available in the American Expeditionary Forces at that time, some evacuation hospitals were expected daily from the United States, and it was hoped that one or more of these would arrive in time to meet the needs of the 1st Division. The matter was settled temporarily, however, by the decision


of the French that no American evacuation hospital could be established in the rear of the 1st Division.53 This ruling was unavoidable, in fact, in view of the limited facilities for railway evacuations near the 1st Division's sector; an evacuation hospital at Beauvais served by American hospital trains, to move patients from that point to American base hospitals in the interior, would have set up an additional current of travel and necessitated a practically separate line of communication for the service of a single division, which comprised but one part of a French army. Manifestly this arrangement was impossible. On May 5, it was suggested to our general staff that it learn from the French whether they would approve the location of an American Red Cross hospital at Beauvais under command of an officer of the Medical Corps.42 It was proposed, also, that this hospital be essentially for Americans, but otherwise be operated and evacuated as a French hospital. It was desirable that such a hospital admit surgical cases from the 1st Division and provide an annex for mumps and measles. Gas cases were to continue to be sent to the French gas hospital at Cempuis. At this time, too, difficulty was being experienced in having patients admitted to French evacuation hospitals, though this was corrected as soon as it was called to the attention of the French army surgeon.54 In view of the proposed establishment of a Red Cross hospital for the 1st Division, the liaison officer recommended (May 12) that an evacuation hospital which had now become available be held in reserve for the 2d Division, which he understood would soon enter a sector adjoining that of the First, or would relieve it. On May 13, it was arranged that the Red Cross hospital in question be under command of a French officer and that it occupy the École Normale at Beauvais.55 Considerable excess Red Cross personnel had accumulated in Paris at this time as a project for the establishment of a Red Cross hospital at Chalons had been abandoned. The medical group with G-4 was also arranging for groupes complémentaires and for supplementary teams to be sent up when the situation demanded it. Later, it was decided that the Red Cross hospital should occupy the École Professionelle at Beauvais, which was well adapted to hospital purposes and accommodated 230 beds, with ground space for 200 more in tents if necessary.56 It had been used for some two weeks by the French for hospital purposes. The Red Cross personnel was reënforced by others, including officers of the Medical Department; supplies furnished by the Red Cross were installed and the unit began to operate on May 28, as American Red Cross Hospital No. 104.44 The first evacuation by French hospital train from this hospital was arranged for on May 30.57

At this time the direct transfer of American patients to American Expeditionary Forces base hospitals was not practicable, but this establishment insured them initial care in rear of the division by personnel, most of whom, commissioned and enlisted, belonged to the Medical Department, and all of whom, except the commanding officer, were Americans. An agreement was made later whereby all French hospital trains carrying American casualties were halted near Paris so that these patients might be removed and transported by ambulances to American hospitals in that city.58


Location of this militarized Red Cross hospital at Beauvais was the first occasion when a unit of this kind had been established in our zone of the armies. Such use, of course, was a radical departure from the formerly accepted sphere of activity for Red Cross units, but under the circumstances it was a welcome innovation.

Beauvais was heavily bombed on a number of occasions, especially on May 31, when one French hospital was so badly damaged that it had to be abandoned.59


(1) Outlines of Histories of Divisions, U. S. Army, 1917-1919, prepared in the Historical Section, the Army War College. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College.

(2) Memorandum, brief history of operations, 1st Division. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College, 201-11-4.

(3) Report of the Medical Department activities, 1st Division, 1917-1918, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part III, 41. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(4) Ibid., Part III, 3.

(5) Ibid., Part I, 40.

(6) History of 1st Division, April 6, 1917, to September 26, 1919, compiled by the staff of the 1st Division. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College.

(7) Report of the Medical Department activities, 1st Division, 1917-1918, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part II, 2. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(8) Ibid., Part II, 3.

(9) Ibid., Part II, 5.

(10) Ibid., Part II, 4-5.

(11) Ibid., Part I, 40-4l.

(12) Ibid., Part I, 41.

(13) Ibid., Part III, 4.

(14) Ibid., Part I, 42.

(15) Ibid., Part I, 43.

(16) Ibid., Part II, 6.

(17) Ibid., Part II, 8.

(18) Final Report of Gen. John J. Pershing, September 1, 1919, 30-32.

(19) Report of the Medical Department activities, 1st Division, 1917-1918, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part II, 12. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(20) Ibid., Part II, 13.

(21) Ibid., Part II, 14.

(22) Final Report of Gen. John J. Pershing, September 1, 1919, 32.

(23) Report of the Medical Department activities, 1st Division, 1917-1918, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part II, 10. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(24) Ibid., Part I, 22.

(25) Par. 8, S. O. No. 99, G. H. Q., A. E. F., April 9, 1918.

(26) Report of the Medical Department activities, 1st Division, 1917-1918, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part I, 49. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(27) Ibid., Part I, 44.

(28) Ibid., Part I, 48.

(29) Ibid., Part II, 11.

(30) Ibid., Part II, 15.

(31) Ibid., Part III. 6.


(32) Ibid., Part III, 5.

(33) Ibid., Part III, 31.

(34) Ibid., Part III, 29.

(35) Ibid., Part III, 26.

(36) Ibid., Part III, 27.

(37) Ibid., Part III, 24.

(38) Ibid., Part I, 45.

(39) Ibid., Part I, 47-48.

(40) Ibid., Part II, 9-10.

(41) Memorandum from the medical representative of G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., April 20, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).

(42) Memorandum from the medical representative of G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., May 5, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).

(43) Report of the Medical Department activities, 1st Division, A. E. F., 1917-1918, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part III, 7. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(44) Memorandum from the medical representative of G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., May 29, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).

(45) Memorandum from the medical representative of G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., May 25, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).

(46) Memorandum from the medical representative of G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., May 16, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).

(47) Report of the Medical Department activities, 1st Division, 1917-1918, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part II, 17. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(48) Memorandum from the medical representative of G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., April 30, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files, 319.2).

(49) Memorandum from the medical representative of G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., May 18, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files, 319.2).

(50) Telegram from the medical representative of G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the assistant chief of staff, G-4, G. H. Q., April 13, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Record Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).

(51) Letter from the medical representative of G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., April 13, 1918. Subject: Needs of Medical Department, 1st Division. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files No. 319.2).

(52) Report on the activities of G-4-B, medical group, fourth section, general staff, G. H. Q., A. E. F., for the period embracing the beginning and end of American participation in hostilities, December 31, 1918, 36. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(53) Ibid., 51.

(54) Memorandum from the medical representative G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., May 6, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).

(55) Memorandum from the medical representative G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., May 13, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).


(56) Memorandum from the medical representative G-4-B, G. H. Q., A. E. F., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., May 26, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).

(57) Memorandum from the medical representative G-4-B, G. H. Q., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., May 30, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).

(58) Report on the activities of G-4-B, medical group, fourth section, general staff, G. H. Q., A. E. F., for the period embracing the beginning and end of American participation in hostilities, December 31, 1918, 37. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(59) Memorandum from the medical representative G-4-B, G. H. Q., to the chief surgeon, A. E. F., May 31, 1918. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, Medical Records Section (Chief Surgeon’s Files 319.2).