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Headquarters, 180th Medical Battalion, APO #230


APO #230
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                                                                                                                                                                12 January 1945

SUBJECT: Annual Report.

TO: The Surgeon General
                   Washington, D. C.
THRU: Channels

    In compliance with AR 40-1005, dated l9 November 1942, and Circular Letter No. 143, Headquarters European Theater of Operations, Office of the Chief Surgeon, dated 18 December 1944, the following Annual Report is submitted.
    1.  The 134th Medical Regiment, while on Second Army maneuvers in Tennessee, was redesignated the 134th Medical Group, 15 September 1943, at Shelbyville, Tennessee.  The Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 180th Medical Battalion was activated at this time per Letter Second Army, File No. AG 322.05 - 17 (GNMBF), dated 4 September 1943, as one of the two Battalion Headquarters under the 134th Medical Group. More than three mouths of training and practical application of Medical Service under combat conditions were completed during the Tennessee Maneuvers. On 1 December 1943, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 180th Medical Battalion moved by motor convoy to a Concentration and Staging Area at Camp Tyson, Tennessee.
    2.  The unit while stationed here, went through an intensive training period and was further equipped for overseas movement. On 14 January 1944,  the unit proceeded by rail to Port of Embarkation at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey and arrived 16 January 1944. Final preparation for overseas movement was accomplished and on 27 January 1944, the unit embarked from Hoboken, New Jersey on the motor ship Rangatiki. The crossing was uneventful except for one enemy air alarm. Emergency life boat drills and calisthenics were held daily.
    3.  The unit disembarked at Liverpool, England on 15 February 1944, and proceeded to Kerby Hostel in Liverpool for overnight sleeping accommodations. The following morning the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment left by rail for Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, arriving in the late afternoon. Effective upon arrival, the unit was assigned to First Army and attached to the 134th Medical Group. On 23 February, the Detachment wasp relieved from attachment to the 134th and attached to the 31st Medical Group, involving a move from Henley to Castleman’s, Berkshire. On 3 March 1944, the unit was re-attached to the 134th Medical Group (which also moved to Castleman’s) with the 621, 622 and 633 Clearing Companies as attached units.

    4.  Castleman’s near Maidenhead was a small estate belonging to the late Sir John Dill, and consisted of a three story house, garages, several small outbuildings and fourteen British hutments.  Offices, one kitchen and an officers’ mess hall were provided on the ground floor of the main building with officers’ quarters on the two upper floors. The three companies alternated in using the main kitchen, providing mess for all of the officers and for the men of the two Headquarters Detachments in addition to their own enlisted personnel. There were two kitchen buildings for use by the other companies. Billets were provided for enlisted personnel in hutments and pyramidal tents. While occupied by this Battalion, the buildings and grounds were greatly improved. Some landscaping and grading as well as the draining of several pools considered a mosquito hazard, were the main activities in this direction. A dispensary was maintained servicing various units in the vicinity. There was a shower building on the premises and laundry and cleaning was taken care of through the Quartermaster.
    5.  A sixteen week training program was carried out by units under this command with the immediate objective of reaching and maintaining the highest possible state of readiness for combat service. Units were thoroughly grounded in basic Military subjects and achieved technical proficiency to a degree calculated to insure superior medical service. High standards of training were maintained by all units. Full use of data contained in FM’s, TM’s, MTP, TC and Training Memorandums covering special subjects or phases were complied with. Frequent inspections and tests were held to determine the proficiency in basic, technical, and tactical training of the units. Although the units were grounded thoroughly in basic subjects, this phase was held to a minimum, unit and specialized training was emphasized. Schools established by the American and British Armed Forces for instruction in Intelligence, Counter-intelligence, Waterproofing of Vehicles and Medical Service wore attended by an allotted number of enlisted men and officers. Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer classes were held twice weekly outside the normal training day. Athletics were incorporated in the weekly training schedule. Competitive sports between units including baseball, football, basketball, volleyball and soccer proved to be a decisive factor in maintaining the excellent morale which the Battalion possessed. Passes were available to London and educational excursions were arranged including trips to Windsor and Stratford on Avon. In May the 622d Clearing Company was designated by Army as an Exhaustion Hospital. This necessitated revised and additional training. A group of Psychiatrists were assigned to the unit to train officers and enlisted personnel in this branch of Medical care. Six officers from the 633rd Clearing Company were assigned to Detachment “A” and landed in Normandy shortly after D-Day.
    6.  Due to confusion in the delivery of movement orders, the attached units of Battalion left Castleman’s for the continent approximately 3 and one-half weeks before Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 180th Medical Battalion. Upon receipt of the delayed orders, the unit departed Castleman’s by motor convoy on 6 July 1944, for a Marshalling Area, vicinity Dorchester.  On 8 July 1944, the unit boarded an LST at Portland, made an uneventful channel crossing, disembarked 10 July 1944, at Utah Beach, Normandy and were directed to a bivouac area vicinity Ste. Mere Eglise adjacent to Headquarters, 134th Medical Group. As a result of the late arrival all our former units


had been committed and attached to other headquarters. The 618th Exhaustion Hospital was assigned to this Battalion and Battalion Headquarters moved 12 July 1944, to Bernesq, France. Supply proved to be a major problem at this time since it was necessary as part of the Psychological treatment of Exhaustion cases to furnish duty patients with a complete new issue of clothing and equipment. The Battalion S-3 Department furnished orientation material for the Rehabilitation program of the hospital. While located at Bernesq, the 617th Medical Clearing Company and the 633rd Medical Clearing Company were assigned to this headquarters. These units augmented Evacuation Hospitals and the 618th Exhaustion Hospital.
    7.  Battalion Headquarters, 617th Medical Clearing Company, 633rd Medical Clearing Company and the 618th Exhaustion Hospital moved from Bernesq, 5 August 1944, to Tessy Sur Vire following the battle for St. Lo.  Battalion Headquarters moved with units to a Medical Concentration Area vicinity Gathemo, France, 18 August 1944, moving later to another concentration area near Senoches.. For the period 29 August to 9 September 1944, the unit was stationed vicinity La Capelle, France, moving on 16 September to Dinant, Belgium. From 18 August to 19 September 1944, the Battalion Headquarters had two Exhaustion Hospitals (618th and 622nd), the 617th, 621st, 633rd and 662nd Medical Clearing Companies attached and relieved from attachment at various times. As of the 10th of September, the 546th and 575th Medical Ambulance Companies, 464th Medical Collecting Company, and the 42d Field Hospital were attached to Battalion, thereby considerably altering the Battalion's mission. On 20 September, Battalion Headquarters and its attached units moved into area vicinity of Houffalize, Belgium. All units moved to Waimes, Belgium, 2 October. On 24 October, the 42d Field Hospital was relieved from attachment and the 47th Field Hospital was attached to the 180th Medical Battalion.
    8.  All units, 180th Medical Battalion, with the exception of one platoon, 47th Field Hospital, left Waimes for Malmedy, Belgium on 17 December in the face of an enemy advance. The first platoon of the 47th Field Hospital was captured, 18 December, at Waimes, Belgium by enemy soldiers. The 180th Medical Battalion Commander, the Battalion S-3 and their driver, who had remained behind to evacuate the hospital, were also taken prisoners. The unit was held for a brief period by the Germans and later released by an American Tank Reconnaissance Unit.
    9.  A series of rapid moves followed as the German salient expanded, presenting Battalion with difficult and variable problems of evacuation. On 17 December 1944, the unit moved from Malmedy to Spa, on the 18th from Spa to Beaufays, from there to Huy and from Huy to Vierset Barse, on the 19th to Seilles, on the 20th from Seilles to Huy, on the 24th from Huy to Spa, on the 26th to Verviers, and on the 27th of December to Wegnez. As of 31 December 1944, the following units were attached to the 180th Medical. Battalion; 423rd Medical Collecting Company, 464th Medical Collecting Company, 482nd Medical Collecting Company and the 575th Medical Ambulance Company.
    10.  The missions of this Battalion during operations in France and Belgium varied depending upon the nature of the attached units.

    a.  Exhaustion Hospitals (original bed capacity 375) treated and cared for all combat exhaustion patients. It was necessary in numerous occasions to expand these installations in order to accommodate over a thousand patients.
    b.  The Clearing Companies operated as Army Clearing Stations, holding units for evacuation and field hospitals. Dispensaries were set up for Army units in the area without medical care. These companies augmented Exhaustion Hospitals, Evacuation Hospitals, Field Hospitals and Division Clearing Companies with litter bearers, technicians and medical officers.
    c.  Collecting companies under this Battalion augmented Evacuation hospitals with their station and litter platoon. Litter bearers were also furnished to augment battalion aid stations. The  Ambulance Platoon supported Infantry and Armored Division Clearing and Treatment Stations by evacuating patients from the stations to the rear. When emergencies arise, ambulances went forward to Division Clearing Stations and evacuated to the Clearing Stations.
    d.  Ambulance companies were used to evacuate Infantry and Armored Division Clearing and Treatment Stations. Under normal conditions, one platoon of ambulances (10 ambulances) was sufficient to handle the evacuation of a clearing station.
    e.  Ambulances from Ambulance and Collecting Companies have been used to evacuate evacuation hospitals but since the revised plan of medical and evacuation service, army ambulances do not evacuate farther back [than] to evacuation hospitals.
Lt Col, MC

Source:  National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 112, Entry 54A, 180th Medical Battalion, Box 356