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Medical Detachment, 395th Infantry, APO 449, U.S. Army, 4 February 1945

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Medical Detachment, 395th Infantry
APO 449, U. S. Army

  4 February 1945

SUBJECT:  Medical Detachment, 395th Infantry Regiment Report from 1 January 1945
    thru 31 January 45.

TO:  Division Surgeon, 99th Infantry Division, APO 449, U. S. Army.

I.  Mission of the 395th Infantry Regiment —

A.  The regiment, less the 3d Bn, participated in the defense of Elsenborn, Belgium from 1 January to 31 January 45.  It was a period of comparative quiet, because the enemy had likewise elected to defend his sector. However operations never ceased and the normal function of sustaining life under the most trying conditions had to continue.

B.  The regiment continued with its responsibility for maintaining the internal security of Elsenborn. Check points were established, patrols made spot checks of personnel entering and leaving the town and periodic inspections of all buildings were conducted each day.

C.  Improvement of defensive positions was carried out under the most trying weather conditions. Shifts from one location to another took place throughout the month. The 2d Bn, which had been attached to the 39th Infantry Regiment for operations, reverted back to its parent unit on 6 January 45 at 0400, upon completion of the re1ief of the 1st Bn, 39th infantry Regiment. The defensive sector occupied was approximately 2000 meters east of Elsenborn, and extended from K953079 to K945092.

D.  The 1st Battalion, in the division reserve, maintained positions in a half circle around the northern side of Elsenborn, extending from K930707 to K920802. From these positions plans were made to section counterattack, on a half hour’s notice, in any part of the division section, employing Company A, 741st Tank Battalion and the 924th Field Artillery Battalion.

E.  Company E, supported by Company H and 60 mm Mortar Section of Company F, made a diversionary attack at 0615, 15 January to the high ground to the left front of the battalion sector. This attack was in conjunction with similar attacks along the division front.  The 3d Platoon, Company E, after wading a creek, advanced against the enemy small arms fire to a point in the vicinity of K953093. At 0835, due to physical conditions of men who were suffering from wet feet and cold from the deep snow, a withdrawal to original defensive positions was initiated.
Other elements of the battalion continued the attack by fire through out the day.

F.  At 1600, 15 January 1i5, the 1st Bn reverted to corps reserve, being alerted to move from positions two and one-half hours after receipt of the corps order. The mission was to move by truck to the vicinity of Faymonville and repel enemy counterattacks in case of breakthrough in the 1st Division zone.


G.  On 25 January 45, orders were received to relieve the 2d Bn, 60th Infantry Regiment on the left flank of the 2d Bn, 395th Infantry Regiment. The 1st Bn, 395th Infantry, completed the relief at 0200, 26 January 45. In the Bn. Sector, the companies were dispersed as follows:

Company A, on the high ground in the forward line, with a platoon of HMGs. [heavy machine guns]
Company B, to the 1eft of Co A and on the high ground slightly to rear. The Bn sector covered 1600 kilometers [sic-meters].
 Company C, formed the battalion reserve.

As the 1st Bn was not committed to the line, they were relieved of Corps reserve status. The 2d Bn, 395th Infantry, was relieved by elements of the 394th Infantry on 26 January 1945, and on27 January 45, the 2d Bn, 395th Infantry, in turn relieved elements of the 39th Infantry Regiment, and assumed responsibility of a rear sector.

H.  Warning orders of an attack to be launched by the 99th Infantry Division, were received and preparations were made. The date and the time were to be announced later. At 0345, 31 January 45, the first battalion attacked from their defensive location to secure the nose of a hill K948103. The successful completion of the mission resulted in the capture of 5 enemy pillboxes, 3 of which were concrete. A total of 24 prisoners were captured.

I.  The third battalion maintained its defensive position of Hofen, Germany, carrying on aggressive patrolling throughout the period until 30 January 45, when they were relieved from attachment to the 47th Inf Regt at 1245. At 1600, they were attached to the 9th Infantry Division.

II.  Medical Service -

A.   Regimental Aid. Station – The Regimental Aid Station was located in a well-constructed school house in Elsenborn, Belgium. It maintained medical care for the Special units, and for men coming into a village house for a night’s rest. Most casualties were from harassing artillery fire. Evacuation to this station was accomplished wholly by ambulance-jeep. Dental service was offered throughout the month by the dentists of the 394th Infantry Regiment, alternating 6 days a week until the return of Captain Schechter on 10 January 45, when the three dentists rotated to give dental service to the 394th and 395th Inf Regiments.

B.   First Battalion Aid Station –
    1.  This section maintained its station in the basement of a house in Elsenborn, Belgium, in direct support of its unit which continued in division reserve until 15 January 45.

    2.  The section was placed on a 2 ½ hour alert at 1600, 15 January 45 to support its units as Corps Reserve, for possible employment near Faymonville. In support of the 1st Division. Two ambulances were attached and arrangements made for evacuation through 1st Med Bn. Relief from this assignment was obtained 25 January 45.

    3.  On 25 January 45, this section moved into the vicinity of K922098 to support its unit which had moved into line and covered a front of 1600 kilometers [sic, meters], northeast from Elsenborn. The snow was 12 to 24 inches deep with drifts up to 4 feet. Evacuation


was carried on by sleds, litters with attached skis, toboggans, and ambulance-jeeps when roads were open. Casualties resulted mostly from artillery fire and the cold weather.

    4.  On 31 January 45, the first battalion attacked from the defensive positions to secure the nose of a hill at K948103. Casualties were light, totaling 21 with the injured prisoners. Forward aid station was established in vicinity of K942096. Evacuation was difficultly accomplished with the equipment mentioned in B(3) with the addition of a weasel [M-29 Weasel] which greatly facilitated the process. Plasma could not be given in the forward position because of the intense cold. Men were sent to the Regimental Aid Station in Elsenborn, Belgium, where they were  treated before evacuation to the 2d echelon. Some shock resulted from the exposure, but the longest period from time of injury until reaching the Regt Aid Station was 3 hours – the case of an injured prisoner of war. The mission was accomplished and positions held at the end of the month.

C. Second Battalion Aid Section —

    1.  This section to render support to its units which occupied a defensive position from K953079 to K945092, established a rear aid station in Elsenborn, Belgium, in the basement of a house, and an advanced station in direct support at K936082. Casualties were relatively light, resulting mostly from enemy artillery and the severely cold weather. This set-up continued until 26 January 1945.

    2.  On 15 January, Company E made a diversionary attack to the vicinity of K953093. Litter teams were obtained from the 1st Bn section, Regt Aid Station, and Co C, 324th Med Bn for support of this effort. Casualties were light and in spite of the deep snow, evacuation was rapid with the use of sleds, litters on skis and toboggans.

    3.  The 2d Bn was relieved of their positions on 26 January 45. On 27 January 45, 2d Bn, 395th Inf Regt relieved elements of  the 395th Infantry Regiment, at left of 1st Bn, 395th Infantry from K945092 for 2000 meters. Aid station established in vicinity of K923118. Evacuation through the deep snow was accomplished by equipment mentioned in C(2) and the addition of a weasel. Casualties were light and resulted from enemy artillery and cold weather. This position was maintained until the end of month.

D.  Third Battalion Section — This section continued to support its unit in the vicinity of Hofen, Germany where it had remained since 9 November 1944. The station was in a house. Evacuation continued hazardous because of enemy artillery shelling. Casualties were light, resulting from enemy artillery fire and combat exhaustion.

III.  Evacuation – Ambulances were dispatched to the Regimental, 1st, and 2d. Bn aid stations, of the detachment from 324th Medical Bn, located at (in vicinity of) Saurbraut [Sourbrodt], Belgium. Evacuation was efficient and well-coordinated at all times. Medical supply was maintained at a highs standard  by this ambulance service. Third Battalion Section was evacuated to 9th Clearing Battalion by 324th Medical Bn. The service and cooperation rendered  by this battalion left nothing to be desired.


For the active file from 1 January 45 to 31 January 45 –

A.  The detachment had two (2) men WIA and transferred, and three men (3) WIA and returned to duty.

B.  The detachment for action this month received awards of one (1) Silver Star, [?-ed.] Bronze Stars, and numerous commendations.

V.   Conclusions –

A.  The period covered in this report might be characterized by the weather conditions. Operations were impeded by snow 12 to 24 inches and drifts as high as 4 ft. Men where exhausted more by fighting the elements than the enemy. Many mornings, men were forced to dig themselves out rather than to dig themselves in.

B.  Weasels were of great assistance in evacuation.

C.  Sleds, toboggans and litters with skis were absolutely necessary to expedite the evacuation.

D.  Plasma can be administered only with the assistance of some applied heat during such weather.

E.  Rapidity of evacuation is most essential during such conditions to prevent shock resulting from the cold.

F.  Support cannot be too great for the Battalion Aid Stations.

Captain, MC
Regimental Surgeon.