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Chapter VIII



Mediterranean Operations


After preliminary discussions held in the Arcadia Conference of December 1941 to January 1942, the Allied leaders decided to begin formulating definitive plans by late July for Operation TORCH, designed to gain complete control of northern Africa. These plans, which were completed in August and September 1942, provided that task forces of the United Kingdom and the United States should strike simultaneously at Algiers and Oran on the Mediterranean coast and at Casablanca on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in coordination with a planned offensive of the British Eighth Army from the El Alamein line in the East.1

Western Task Force

Despite the fact that medical supplies were limited, supply planning was adequate. The medical troops were to land with unit equipment and combat supplies, minus special items which would follow in later convoys. A 30-day maintenance of supplies, including blood plasma, special drugs, and biologicals, was to be unloaded on the beaches, and a 60-day maintenance was to be unloaded at the main port of entry. A 45-day supply level was to be maintained, and medical supply points were to be established on the beaches for each combat group after the landing of assault troops. Also, a medical supply depot was to be established at the main port of entry as soon as possible after D+5 to provide support for the entire task force.

To minimize disturbing the wounded and to maintain an even distribution of equipment, arrangements were to be made for the exchange of litters, blankets, splints, and similar items at transfer points.

The Western Task Force of 34,000 American troops was to land along the western coast of Morocco after sailing from the United States. In the assault on Safi, a company of the 9th Medical Battalion was to handle the medical supplies for Subtask Force Blackstone, a medical supply depot was to be established which would be responsible for obtaining supplies and hav-

1For a more definitive discussion of strategic planning for Operation TORCH, see Howe, George F.: Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West. United States Army in World War II. The Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1957, pp. 13-31.


ing them available for use by the collecting station, and property exchange with the battalion medical section and the naval shore party was to be controlled. The unit was also responsible for furnishing medical supplies for the battalion medical sections.

Medical support for Subtask Force Goalpost, which was to land in the Mehdia-Port Lyautey area, and for Subtask Force Brushwood, which was to land at F?dala and swing south to capture Casablanca, was to be furnished by detachments from the medical battalions organic to the divisions involved, augmented by a detachment from the 56th Medical Battalion.2

Center Task Force

The Center Task Force of 40,800 American and British troops of the II Corps was to land in the vicinity of Oran, Algeria. Its supply planning was conducted on a joint British-American level from 3 September to 20 October 1942.

Because of a shortage of medical supplies in the United States and limited shipping space, needed material had not been arriving in England. The British, therefore, were to furnish medical material whenever possible. To further satisfy supply shortages, assemblies not needed elsewhere were applied to the task force requirements. Additional supplies were sent to the United Kingdom from New York for initial depot stocks and to fill out hospital equipment assemblies turned over to the U.S. forces by the British.

Processing of requisitions for initial issue, and for replacement of medical supplies for the task force while it was in the United Kingdom, was accomplished by the 1st Medical Supply Depot. This depot, while operating 5 separate depots, accomplished the overwhelming task of equipping combat troops with 15 days of medical supplies, packing and shipping 27 medical maintenance units, reprocessing 3 surgical hospitals, 3 evacuation hospitals, 5 station hospitals, and 2 general hospitals.3

Eastern Task Force

The Eastern Task Force of 23,000 British troops and 10,000 Americans was to land in the vicinity of Algiers. For political reasons, the American elements, two regimental combat teams, were to withdraw and let the British have full control after the initial assault. Responsibility for logistical support

2(1) Headquarters, Task Force A, Washington, D.C., Annex No. 2 to Administrative Order No. 1, 10 Oct. 1942. (2) Annual Report, 9th Medical Battalion, 9th Infantry Division, 1942. (3) Journal, 56th Medical Battalion, 7 December 1941-1 May 1942 and 26 November 1942-17 January 1943. (4) Wiltse, Charles M.: The Medical Department: Medical Service in the Mediterranean and Minor Theaters. United States Army in World War II. The Technical Services. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965.
3(1) Annual Report of the Surgeon, II Corps, 1942. (2) Letter, Col. F. C. Tyng, MC, Chief, Finance and Supply Service, OTSG, to Lt. Col. Earle G. G. Standlee, MC [Chief, Finance and Supply Division], Office of the Chief Surgeon, ETOUSA, 1 Aug. 1942. (3) Annual Report, 1st Medical Supply Depot, ETOUSA, 1942.


fell primarily on the British First Army, which was to be supplied from the United Kingdom.4


Western Task Force

The leading elements of the Western Task Force landed at three points-Safi, F?dala, and Port Lyautey-on the western coast of Morocco during the early morning hours of 8 November 1942.

To protect the 30-day stock of medical supplies, they were evenly distributed in the convoy. The inadequate number of available vehicles was accentuated by the commandeering of some of them for other combat duties. Only 8 cross-country, and 12 armored, ambulances were available for medical support necessary between the beaches.5

The bulk of the supplies for Subtask Force Blackstone was unloaded at the Safi docks where a large warehouse was converted into a regimental aid and collecting station. However, because of the great confusion which was caused by sniper fire, landing of equipment was hindered considerably. The novel idea of stenciling exchangeable equipment did not work out in practice. Equipment which went back to the ships with casualties was seldom returned. A serious shortage of blankets was averted, however, because the 56th Medical Battalion had carried an extra supply.

As there was no equipment available other than that brought in by company B, cots and other needed equipment were borrowed from the Navy. An operating table was obtained, X-rays and sterilization were handled by the French hospital, and a much needed refrigerator was obtained from a local merchant.

Approximately 40 surgical operations were performed at night with three flashlights providing the illumination.6

Despite delays caused by heavy enemy fire, supply dumps were established on the main beaches near F?dala by the afternoon of D-day. Forward movement of these supplies was held to a minimum because of the serious lack of transportation. Shortages of essential medical supplies and equipment resulted because ships were behind schedule in unloading.

Encountering perhaps the stiffest resistance, Subtask Force Goalpost was forced to advance its H-hour, and only a few waves were landed by daylight.

Contrary to the expected practice, morphine tablets were issued and used. Syrettes, requisitioned by the medical depot of the command before embar-

4(1) Davidson, William L.: Medical Supply in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, U.S. Army. [Official record.] (2) Letter, Col. C. R. Landon, AGD, Headquarters, SOS, ETOUSA, to Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, and others, 18 Jan. 1943, subject: Supply of TORCH from U.K.
5Kenner, Albert W.: Medical Service in the North African Campaign. Bull. U.S. Army M. Dept. 76: 76-84, May 1944.
6(1) Clift, Glenn G.: Field Operations of the Medical Department in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, United States Army. [Official record.] (2) See footnote 2(2), p. 204.


MAP 4.-Medical supply depots in North Africa, 1942-43.

kation, were mistakenly held for base hospitals which did not arrive until later convoys.7

Center Task Force

Favored by the element of surprise, the initial assault on three beaches in the Oran area was successful. Arzew was secured at 0300 hours and the 48th Surgical [later redesignated 128th Evacuation] Hospital came ashore and began operating. Much of the necessary medical equipment was not available until 1800 hours, but a makeshift hospital nevertheless was set up in a French barracks. Emergency supplies and supplies obtained from transports were used until the morning of D+2, when the equipment of the 38th Evacuation Hospital arrived and was turned over to the 48th Surgical Hospital. Among these supplies were 480 units of plasma and 100 morphine Syrettes.

7(1) Final Report of Western Task Force, Operation TORCH, 7-11 Nov. 1942, Annex No. 2, Headquarters, Subtask Force Brushwood, 3d Infantry Division (Reinf.), F?dala, Morocco, Casablanca Operation. (2) Letter, Brig. Gen. L. K. Truscott, Jr., to Commanding General, Western Task Force, 18 Dec. 1942, subject: Report of Operations [Goalpost], in Final Report of Western Task Force, Operation TORCH, 7-11 Nov. 1942, Annex 3. (3) Camardella, Ralph A.: Medical Aspects of Landing Operations, Subtask Force Goalpost, 8-11 Nov. 1942. [Official record.]


By December 1942, the 38th Evacuation Hospital had the bulk of its equipment and was operating under tentage near Oran.

The 51st Medical Battalion, which arrived on the D+3 convoy, was responsible for setting up a medical supply depot after a detachment had distributed medical supplies to the beachhead troops. Some difficulty occurred in coordinating activities between the port regulating officer and the medical supply officer of the task force. The first medical supplies received at the port rarely reached the dump, or arrived in bad condition. Boxes were not properly tagged and packing lists were practically nonexistent.

After the fall of Oran on 10 November, the 1st Advance Section of the 2d Medical Supply Depot landed and relieved the 51st Medical Battalion of the supply dump operation. Unfortunately, many desperately needed vehicles were lost at sea. On Christmas Day 1942, the balance of the 2d Medical Supply Depot, commanded by Lt. Col. Elmer B. M. Casey, MC, arrived in Oran, where it joined its advance section in the operation of the depot (map 4).

Because of the critical shortage of drugs, surgical instruments, dental supplies and equipment, and some basic hospital and medical field items of equipment, subsequent issues were made on a priority basis according to the role


that a given organization was playing in the operation. As troops moved forward, it was necessary to build medical maintenance for their support. This caused a tightening of issues to local troops and caused an avalanche of complaints. This situation, however, was remedied rapidly, and by 21 November, practically all required items could be provided.

Perhaps the most serious problem of medical supply during the early stages of the Center Task Force was the lack of proper communication between principal medical supply personnel, probably because of the extreme secrecy of the operation.8

Eastern Task Force

The Eastern Task Force landed on the beaches near Algiers on schedule and was initially unopposed, but firm resistance was encountered as the troops began to move inland.

Medical support rendered during the operation came from company C and the 2d Platoon of company D, 109th Medical Battalion, and company A and the 2d Platoon of company D, 9th Medical Battalion, organic respectively to the 34th and 9th Divisions; and from four teams of the 2d Auxiliary Surgical Group. The first detachment of company C, 109th Medical Battalion, landed at 0730 hours on D-day (8 November), carrying its medical supplies and equipment on six heavily laden litters. A clearing station with one ambulance, six litters, and other medical supplies was established. Because of the delay in unloading the medical supplies and equipment, U.S. medical units had to obtain emergency supplies from the British, who hand-carried them from the beach. In several cases, rough seas prevented the rapid unloading of material.

It was not until D+6 that, by using borrowed vehicles, all supplies from the ship were unloaded and transported to a schoolhouse where the hospital was sited.

Lessons Learned From Operation TORCH

One of the paramount medical problems of the entire TORCH operation was that personnel did not have in their possession sufficient medical equipment to permit their proper functioning upon landing. To provide an initial supply dump, it was suggested that each medical soldier be issued a haversack or carrier containing vitally essential dressings, instruments, drugs, and blood.

It was also suggested that medical maintenance units be packed in 100-pound waterproof boxes, designed for hand-carrying during landings.

In addition, it was proven that the 4- by 4-ft. ambulance was inadequately

8(1) Annual Report, 128th Evacuation Hospital, 1943. (2) Annual Report, 38th Evacuation Hospital, 1942. (3) Annual Reports, 2d Medical Supply Depot, 1942 and 1943. (4) See footnotes 4(1), p. 205; and 6(1), p. 205.


powered and had too high a silhouette. A half-track or six-wheeled vehicle was suggested as a substitute.9


With the formation of Headquarters, Mediterranean Base Section, on 7 December, followed closely by the opening of Headquarters, Atlantic Base Section, on 30 December 1942, there began what might be considered the outstanding logistical agency in the war against the Axis. Activation and employment of the base section in the wake of the conquering Army became standing operating procedure.

Atlantic Base Section

The Surgeon's Office, Atlantic Base Section,10 with Col. (later Maj. Gen.) Guy B. Denit, MC, as Surgeon, was originally established in September 1942 as the Surgeon's Office, Headquarters, SOS (Services of Supply), Task Force A, located at Fort George G. Meade, Md. The medical supply section of this office was under the command of Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Theodore L. Finley, MC, the Medical Supply Officer, who coordinated the preparation and shipment of 6 tons of medical supplies by 13 December.

Upon arriving in Casablanca on 24 December 1942, the medical supply officer of Western Task Force, Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Marcel H. Mial, SnC, discovered that some medical supplies were already stored in warehouses situated in five widely separated locations. Need for additional storage space was evident, and sufficient additional space was gradually acquired.

During the early days in North Africa, all medical supply activities were under the control of Western Task Force; however, in the meantime, an agreement was reached whereby the supply officer of Headquarters, SOS, working closely with the task force medical supply officer, would familiarize himself with the supply operation. As only one officer among the supply personnel was experienced, this handicapped operations to some extent.

Despite numerous difficulties involved in obtaining, transporting, and properly storing medical supplies and maintaining a stable work force, subdepot issue points were established at Casablanca and Rabat by December 1942. Personnel of hospital ship platoons began the first physical inventory of medical supplies at these points. Under the direction of Colonel Finley and Lt. Col. (later Col.) Karl H. Metz, DC, the assistant supply officer, necessary requisitioning was initiated. Colonel Metz undertook the establishment of

9(1) Platt, Edward V.: Record of Events, Company C, 109th Medical Battalion, October 15, 1942 to November 9, 1942. [Official record.] There are similar reports by Capt. Thomas E. Corcoran, MC, commanding officer of company C, and by Capt. Francis Gallo, MC. (2) Weiss, William A.: Record of Events [2d Auxiliary Surgical Group, Headquarters, Special Troops (Prov.), EAF], October 19, 1942 to November 20, 1942, 9 Dec. 1942. [Official record.] (3) Memorandum, Col. John F. Corby, MC, Deputy Surgeon, AFHQ, to Chief of Staff, AFHQ, 30 Jan. 1943.
10This part of the chapter, unless otherwise stated, is based on the Annual Report of the Atlantic Base Section, 1943.


necessary depot routine and organization of records. During this time, one issue point and four warehouses were opened.

On 26 February 1943, Maj. Frederick Schneider, MAC, arrived and was designated assistant supply officer. At this time, the 4th Medical Supply Depot [later 4th Medical Depot Company],11 commanded by Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Walter Smit, VC, arrived to assume the operation of the Atlantic Base Section Medical Depot. Supply points were immediately opened at Rabat and Mekn?s, and a final reserve warehouse was set up at Safi.

Before the acquisition of several warehouses in Casablanca, it became necessary to store valuable supplies out of doors in a bivouac area. In Casablanca alone, there were 14 small warehouses; consolidation was impossible because of the nonavailability of larger buildings and the competition for space which came from hospitals and the other technical services.

Emphasis abruptly shifted to the assembling of medical maintenance units needed in other areas of North Africa in support of combat troops. An effort was made to balance requirements in the entire theater. In April, a 25-bed station hospital was shipped to Marrakech (map 4), and two medical maintenance units were sent to Rabat for storage to facilitate forward movement of balanced medical stocks. Much equipment was moved by train to the Mediterranean and Eastern Base Sections at the request of the medical supply officer of the North African theater.

Despite many handicaps, more than 700 requisitions a month were filled by the Atlantic Base Section medical supply depot during the first months of operation, including a pressing demand for smallpox vaccine.

By June 1943, the level of supply had reached 141 days, and the problem of adequate warehouse space recurred. In July, the space problem was eased somewhat when 100 tons of medical supplies were turned over to the French, and additional warehouse space was obtained. The shipment of 400 tons of additional supplies to the Eastern Base Section to use in support of combat troops also helped considerably.

Mediterranean Base Section

Beginning with the cessation of hostilities in the Oran area on 10 November 1942, space, which was acquired where it could be found, was sufficient only to satisfy immediate needs. The principal storage and issue site consisted of 22,000 square feet, located in the outskirts of Oran proper. The buildings where all medical supplies were first delivered were new, two-story, permanent type. Here, both issue and warehousing functions took place. Practically all stocks during this early period were medical maintenance unit items shipped with the initial convoys.

A former wine storage warehouse of some 22,000 square feet was acquired subsequently in Oran proper, and all incoming supplies were first processed through this point, broken down into general groups, and stored

11History, 4th Medical Depot Company (formerly 4th Medical Supply Depot), 1940-45.


or redistributed to other locations. No absolute checking or "tally-in" was effected.

Another building, 2,250 square feet, was used exclusively for storing three medical maintenance units which were regarded as the final reserve units. Other lesser storage locations were acquired in the greater Oran area (fig. 45 A, B, and C) to accommodate the overflow of supplies received.12

The first depot of the Center Task Force, operated by the 51st Medical Battalion, had a depot and issue section under one officer, and a receiving and warehouse section under a second officer; the third officer, along with the port medical supply officer, undertook the considerable task of locating medical supplies and directing them to the receiving warehouse in Oran. During this period, identification and location of medical supplies at the port unloading points were made extremely difficult by the lack of personnel and by inaccurate ship manifests. Because information on berth locations of unloading ships was withheld as a security measure, a prolonged search for the supplies forestalled preplanning for the movement of supplies to the warehouses.

Competition with the French Army for storage space was more keenly felt in the Oran area than in the Casablanca area. The French Army had priority and, as a result, the U.S. Army medical supply requirements were placed low on the list. For these reasons, numerous small medical warehouse locations were scattered over a wide area.

Because of lack of proper warehousing and inequitable distribution of supplies, complete records of depot stock could not be maintained. All hands worked around the clock to accomplish an inventory, but it was not until after 8 December 1942, when the Mediterranean Base Section assumed control from Center Task Force, that physical inventory was ordered and accomplished, and a semimonthly stock status reporting system was established.

The medical supply personnel of the Mediterranean Base Section were inexperienced and were only hastily briefed on the supply situation. Their immediate problem was the location and consolidation of scattered medical supplies. Indigenous labor was employed to unload and load the scarce vehicles. Numerous incidents of loss of supplies resulted from exposure, pilferage, or accident in the port area, owing to lack of immediate transportation.

In the beginning, medical supplies were received automatically from the United States and the United Kingdom in the form of medical maintenance units (fig. 46), supplemented by items required for the geographical location and the type of operation involved. Automatic shipments from the United States ceased soon after the invasion.

During the first few months of the North African campaign, the need for balancing medical stocks with adequate stock control measures, for requirements determination by item, and for separate requisitioning on the Zone of Interior was apparent. Automatic supply served its purpose well during the initial stages, but even the first requisitions submitted by Mediterranean Base

12This section is based on the Annual Report, Mediterranean Base Section, 1943.


FIGURE 45.-A. Exterior view of a medical supply warehouse in Oran. B. Oran depot optical shop.


FIGURE 45.-Continued. C. Issue section of the Oran Medical Depot.

Section on about D+30 had to be prepared on a man-days of supply basis by item, rather than by a calculation based on actual item demand experience.13

In North Africa, where indigenous personnel provided most of the stevedore service (fig. 47), color markings appropriate to each technical service were placed on the corners of the boxes. This proved to be a great boon to the unloading and sorting process as natives, who were unable to comprehend the instructions on shipping documents or stenciled on the sides of the boxes, sorted the supplies on the docks and beaches by color, thus enabling faster and less confusing removal of supplies to warehouses.14

By February 1943, the problem of medical warehouse space in Oran became so severe that an unprecedented appeal was made to G-4 of that headquarters by the Surgeon. A tour of all depots impressed G-4 so much that a crash construction program was begun, and an excellent shed-type depot was established on the outskirts of the city.15

13Medical Supply History, Mediterranean Base Section, 27 Sept. 1943. [Official record.]
14Letter, The Adjutant General, Headquarters, ETOUSA, to Commanding General, SOS, ETOUSA, and others, dated 9 Sept. 1942, subject: Information and Markings Required for Overseas Shipment.
15See footnote 13, above.


FIGURE 46.-Medical maintenance unit, the primary means of automatic supply from the Zone of Interior, underwent its first projected test of combat support in the North African campaign.


Supply Buildup

From the beginning of the Tunisia Campaign, launched when the Eastern Task Force turned east from Algiers on 11 November 1942, it was obvious that supporting medical units had to be highly mobile. The fluid front, the lack of a secondary road network, and the poor condition of the main road from Algiers were sizable obstacles. Inadequate single track, narrow gage railways were the main links from the Mediterranean Base Section to the Tunisian front.

As fighting developed into a seesaw battle in Tunisia, American medical units and their supplies were building up in the Mediterranean Base Section in preparation for their concentration in the T?bessa-Kasserine area. They were to join in support of the II Corps, which was preparing to drive to the eastern coast of Tunisia to prevent the uniting of the Afrika Korps and the


FIGURE 47.-Indigenous personnel unloading supplies at Casablanca. After color markings were introduced which identified the material for each technical service, natives were able to sort as well as unload despite the fact that they were unable to read English.

German forces in Tunisia. The 1st Advanced Section of the 2d Medical Supply Depot was detached to furnish medical supply support for this operation.16

Resupply of the advancing units was effected automatically by shipment of 18 medical maintenance units from Oran and the United States. This was later augmented by a balanced stock of supplies, shipped directly from the United States on requisition initiated by the Surgeon's Office, NATOUSA (North African Theater of Operations, U.S. Army).

In coordination with the II Corps offensive of 26 January, medical units were concentrated in the Constantine-T?bessa area and, 10 miles south of T?bessa, the 1st Advanced Section of the 2d Medical Supply Depot went into operation. As part of the buildup, a heavy forward movement of medical supplies and equipment took place from Oran by way of the single rail line

16See footnote 8(3), p. 208.


through Algiers to Constantine and the narrow gage link from there to T?bessa. An initial stockage of four medical maintenance units, consisting of 70 tons of medical supplies, was set up and subsequent resupply for the corps was carried out with medical maintenance units and special requisitions. Because of the various problems of transportation and communication, timely coordination and shipment of required supplies and equipment were extremely difficult. Activation of the Eastern Base Section and establishment of their medical depot at Constantine (map 4) greatly improved this situation.17

Eastern Base Section

On 22 February 1943, during the most critical point in the Tunisian struggle, Headquarters, Eastern Base Section (map 4) was activated. Consistent with the pattern of base section employment, personnel were drawn from the previously established Atlantic and Mediterranean Base Sections. The first medical depot in the new base section was established at Ain M'Lila and went into operation with 40 tons of U.S. supplies and supplies from the British depot near B?ne. By May, the original 40 tons had been increased to 383 tons. To accommodate this rapid supply buildup, medical sections were opened in two general depots at B?ne and Philippeville. However, the main concentration of supplies remained at the Ain M'Lila depot, which, along with the two medical sections, was operated by the 4th Medical Supply Depot. Relief from this heavy burden was forthcoming with the assignment of a section of the 2d Medical Supply Depot to Ain M'Lila on 3 April 1943, and the arrival of the 7th Medical Supply Depot at Mateur, where they established a medical section in General Depot No. 6 on 26 May 1943.

The 7th Medical Supply Depot, commanded by Maj. (later Col.) Clark B. Williams, MC, had practically no warehouse space allotted to it and, therefore, obtained additional warehouse space by repairing several buildings. In spite of this, incoming supplies were received in quantities too great to place under cover and, in August and September, about 1,000 tons of supplies were in open storage. Fortunately, before the rainy season, a large warehouse in Bizerte was assigned to the medical depot and the situation was relieved somewhat. Proper warehousing was still difficult because of the scattering of supplies through some 26 warehouses of varied size. By 15 October, all medical supplies were consolidated into the 7th Medical Supply Depot [later 7th Medical Depot Company] at Mateur.18

Because of certain surpluses reported by Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Henry T. Lapp, MC, the Mediterranean Base Section medical supply officer, a revision of the medical maintenance unit (fig. 48) was proposed. In a conference held in Oran, which included representatives from all echelons of supply, a combat medical maintenance unit-a modification of the current unit-was created.

17See footnote 12, p. 211.
18(1) General Order No. 5, NATOUSA, 13 Feb. 1943. (2) Annual Report, Eastern Base Section, 1943. (3) Annual Report, 7th Medical Supply Depot [later 7th Medical Depot Company], 1943.


FIGURE 48.-While the standard medical maintenance unit served as a means of support to a theater, with emphasis on desert and tank warfare casualties, it was found that specific combat operations could be more proficiently served by a modified cut-down version.

Items and quantities included were tailored to the Tunisian combat requirements. Unessentials were eliminated or reduced while items in greater demand were added or existing quantities increased. The result was a compact 30-day supply for 10,000 troops, with a weight of 12 to 14 tons compared to the standard weight of 20 tons. This proved to be highly satisfactory, and information was cabled to the Surgeon General's Office for appropriate action. Subsequent modifications were made by NATOUSA as experience dictated. From this experience, the beach medical maintenance unit was designed for use in the Sicilian operation.19

Drive Through Tunisia

Preparations began for an anticipated offensive after the withdrawal of the German forces at Kasserine Pass on 22 February.

Medical units were hard-pressed during the subsequent action, which began on rugged terrain which somewhat handicapped movement of supplies.

19(1) See footnote 12, p. 211. (2) Report, Maj. Gen. A. W. Kenner, Chief Medical Officer, SHAEF, to Chief Surgeon, ETOUSA, and others, 13 Apr. 1944, subject: Report of Visit to AFHQ.


FIGURE 49.-Col. Charles F. Shook, MC, Surgeon, Services of Supply, North African theater.

However, in one area a modified ammunition cart proved invaluable in carrying medical supplies to battalion aid stations, which as a result were able to function closer to the front than would have otherwise been possible.20

After redeployment of 100,000 men and equipment of the II Corps as the enemy withdrew toward Bizerte, various problems of medical supply came to the attention of Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Ervin H. Markus, MC, Medical Supply Officer of the Eastern Base Section. As of 1 May 1943, II Corps was supplied with one combat medical maintenance unit every 5 days; this was augmented by TBA (table of basic allowance) shortage replacements that were requisitioned every 2 weeks. Many items were critically short, the most serious being dental items, because of shortages in the United States, limitation in medical maintenance units, and severe combat losses experienced in the Tunisia Campaign.

It was apparent in such an operation that initial depot stocks should include provision for replacement of combat losses of all basic medical equipment. Losses were also attributed to fair wear and tear, deliberate destructions to prevent enemy seizure, losses at sea, and theft. Losses at sea were made up automatically by the U.S. port, but delays necessarily ensued, thus slowing down the reequipping of arriving units. Adding to all these problems was the

20Recollections of Lt. Col. Douglas Hesford, MSC, included in an early draft of this chapter.


further task of supplying units arriving with shortages in basic equipment. It was not until June 1943, after the Tunisia Campaign had ended, that units began receiving their full authorization of equipment. By August 1943, more than 1,400 tons of medical supplies were on hand in the Eastern Base Section, units were well equipped, and critical shortages were virtually nonexistent. Consolidation of equipment was accomplished and, by the close of 1943, all medical supplies were received, stored, and issued at one location, the Mateur depot operated by the 7th Medical Depot Company.21


A high point in the logistical effort to support the Mediterranean campaigns was the activation of SOS, NATOUSA, on 15 February 1943 in Oran.22 Lack of coordination between the base sections made this move necessary. The Medical Section of SOS, NATOUSA, was organized by Colonel Finley, medical supply officer of the Atlantic Base Section, who was followed in May by Col. Benjamin Norris, MC. In August, Col. Charles F. Shook, MC (fig. 49), became SOS Surgeon. The new organization assumed the function of centralized stock control and made all requisitions on the port of embarkation while maintaining necessary stock levels in the various supply depots of the theater.

Centralized Operations

The strength of the Medical Section, SOS, soon began to make itself felt in medical supply operations of the theater. By operating with base section medical supply officers, theater medical supply activities took on coordinated order and purpose. Conferences were held with hospital commanders, chiefs of professional services, and medical supply officers to reassure them in matters of medical supply.

Perhaps the most significant contribution made to medical supply by the Services of Supply was the establishment of a theaterwide central stock control system, which was inaugurated when SOS assumed responsibility for editing requisitions sent to the Zone of Interior.

Coincident with this was the development of item replacement rates for the theater, based on 90 days, in lieu of those developed by the War Department. Control of incoming shipments and intertheater shipments was also a significant feature. In the meantime, the theater had notified the Surgeon General's Office of the imbalanced stock position resulting from medical maintenance units and requested a one-time shipment of a balanced depot stock. The shipment arrived in late 1943 and helped to balance theater stocks of medical supplies and to fill any quick requisition for these supplies in any part of the theater.23

21See footnote 18(2), p. 216.
22General Order No. 6, NATOUSA, 14 Feb. 1943.
23Annual Report, Medical Section, SOS, NATOUSA, 1943.


FIGURE 50.-U.S. lend-lease equipment and supplies, turned over to the French Army and warehoused in Casablanca, April 1943.

Medical Supply and Aid to the French

As soon as the North African landings had been completed and the French surrender was made final, the Allies wasted no time in gaining complete French support. Under the direction of the Joint Rearmament Committee, the reequipment of the French was accomplished in three phases, the first having as its goal the supply of forces for the defense of North and West Africa.

Supplies for the French began arriving in early April 1943, and the U.S. bases were then instructed to assist with the reception, storage, assembly, and issue of serviceable equipment (fig. 50). French technical personnel, attached to those base section service units which handled equipment for delivery to French units undergoing resupply, were instructed in supply procedure by 2d Lt. (later Capt.) Douglas Hesford, MSC, of the Mediterranean Base Section, and 1st Lt. (later Maj.) Alexander F. Striker, SnC, of the SOS medical section. Several warehouses were occupied by the French, but followed U.S. procedures. All tricolor marked supplies were turned over to them. By the time responsibility for resupply of the French was turned over to the Fifth U.S. Army, supplies for 1 month for 100,000 men had been built up in the Oran warehouse.24

24(1) See footnote 4(1), p. 205. (2) Notes on Conference Concerning Supply of French Expeditionary Corps, held at Headquarters, SOS, NATOUSA, 29 Sept. 1943.



Preliminary Planning

Contrasting sharply with the lack of detailed planning and poor communications of the North African campaign, planning for the invasion of Sicily, begun as a result of the British and American conference held at the Anfa Hotel near Casablanca in January 1943, was thorough and centralized. Plans which were approved on 13 May 1943 established the reconstituted 1st Armored Corps, designated "Force 343," as the American element of the invasion force.

Under the direction of Col. L. Holmes Ginn, Jr., MC, who left the 1st Armored Division to become Surgeon, 15th Army Group, and Col. Richard T. Arnest, MC, II Corps Surgeon, results of Operation TORCH were closely scrutinized, and issue and maintenance requirements were established. Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Howard C. Jones, SnC, of the SOS medical section, and Major Lapp, of the Mediterranean Base Section, were the officers principally responsible for medical supply planning and coordination with the preinvasion training which was taking place at Mostaganem, Algeria, in April 1943. Plans had to provide for supply over the beaches for a period of 30 days because of the lack of a readily available port. The first supply convoy which was to originate in the United States was scheduled to arrive at D+14 after a port was secured.

In an AFHQ (Allied Forces Headquarters) communication of 28 March 1943, items estimated to be essential were listed, and those not in stock or on order were to be requisitioned from the United States. All items requisitioned by Force 343 that could be furnished from theater stocks were extracted to base sections for packing and marking, while the remainder were to be held in the Zone of Interior under receipt of disposition instructions. Limited shipping space made it necessary to mount the invasion in three separate convoys, landing at 4-day intervals. If beach resupply should prove inadequate, arrangements were made for the partial use of the port of Syracuse (in the British area) after D+14.

After carefully studying the lessons learned from the North African invasion, planners decided that medical units would land with unit equipment plus special supply items, such as blood plasma, extra morphine Syrettes, and dressings. A balanced stock of medical supplies for a 7-day maintenance of the forces (fig. 51) was to be unloaded on the beaches on D-day. Medical supply dumps were to be established in widely dispersed, yet protected, points on the beaches immediately after the landing of assault groups.

Under the supervision of the beach surgeon, property exchange was to be accomplished on the beaches before supplies were moved forward.

The first followup convoy was to carry a 7-day maintenance in addition to its own 7-day maintenance. The second followup group was to carry a 7-day maintenance for the assault group and a 7-day maintenance for the first followup in addition to its own 7-day maintenance, except II Corps, which


FIGURE 51.-This beach medical maintenance unit, which derived its stocks from the standard unit, embraced those items and quantities that would best support an amphibious operation, such as that in Sicily.

was to carry a 14-day maintenance. Each subsequent followup was to bring in a 7-day maintenance plus 7 days for troops in, up to five followup convoys previously landed.

Special items, such as sunburn cream and seasick capsules, were to be drawn and issued before embarkation. Thirty days' combat maintenance of certain expendable supplies and pest control materials was to be prepared by SOS, NATOUSA, or the New York Port of Embarkation, and was to be available on call of the Commanding General, Force 343.

An additional 30 to 60 days' maintenance was to be laid down by the Surgeon, SOS, NATOUSA, on call of the Commanding General, Force 343, to be built up in Sicily. A 10-day supply for troops of subtask forces served by beaches was to be available by D+32, and a 20-day supply for all troops by D+90.

The Force 343 surgeon was to requisition special supplies from the Eastern Base Section, whose surgeon was responsible for preparing supplies for shipment and delivery to ports.


Hospital ships and carriers were authorized to transport medical supplies, and were used to replenish stocks and to handle property exchange of items of equipment returned to North Africa with patients evacuated by air. As a secondary benefit, this procedure helped relieve the shortage of shipping space.

Emergency requisitions were to be placed in the same manner as those for other supplies. Force 343, however, was to give resulting shipments a priority in their daily requests for air transportation. Moreover, the Eastern Base Section surgeon was to maintain a small medical supply dump in the vicinity of Kairouan, Tunisia, to contain a balanced stock of those items typically required for emergency air shipments.25

Sicily Campaign

With plans completed, the pick-and-shovel work of medical supply support began, the main burden of packing and marking falling on the 2d Medical Supply Depot at Oran (fig. 52), which ran an around-the-clock operation for 2 months.

The advance detachment of the 4th Medical Supply Depot, which had been operating at Ain M'Lila, Algeria, was ordered to Ferryville, Tunisia, on 1 June 1943, where it operated around the clock, supplying task force units destined to make the Sicilian invasion. On 7 July, the dump was closed, and the unit (3 officers and 42 enlisted men) moved to Sicily, attached to the 3d Division, and landed at Licata on 12 July 1943.26

The 1st Advance Section of the 2d Medical Supply Depot remained near Algiers until 8 July, when it was attached to the 1st Division and subsequently landed near Gela, Sicily, on 13 July.27

After a period of heavy bombardment, the amphibious assault on Sicily began on 10 July. Despite the destruction of 20 percent of the landing craft by heavy seas, all beaches on the southern shore were secure by the end of the first day.

The landing of medical personnel at Gela was unduly delayed because of heavy opposition and lack of unit equipment on the beach. A clearing station of the 1st Medical Battalion was established, but was hampered by the lack of necessary equipment. A significant amount of medical equipment, including ambulances, was lost at sea as a result of rough landings and enemy action. These setbacks handicapped hard-pressed medical units, but did not seriously hinder supply support in general.28

25(1) Report of Operations of the Seventh U.S. Army in the Sicilian Campaign, 10 July to 17 August 1943. Part I-Summary of Operations. [Official record.] (2) Headquarters, I Armored Corps (Reinf.), Annex No. 2 to Administrative Order No. 1, "Medical, Part 3, Supply," 14 June 1943.
26See footnotes 11, p. 210; and 18(2), p. 216.
27(1) See footnote 11, p. 210. (2) Irwin, Lawrence J.: Medical Supply Field Operations, 10 Aug. 1945. [Official record.]
28(1) See footnote 25(1), above. (2) Wiltse, Charles M.: The Medical Department: Medical Service in the Mediterranean and Minor Theaters. United States Army in World War II. The Technical Services. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965. (3) Report, Col. Richard T. Arnest, MC, Surgeon, II Corps, to The Surgeon General (through channels), dated 30 Aug. 1943, subject: Report of Medical Activities; Sicilian Campaign.


FIGURE 52.-The box shop in Oran was extremely productive, providing boxes for amphibious operations in Sicily and Italy. Note the saw is powered by a vehicle motor.

The end of the amphibious phase on 16 July was followed by the rapid advance of the Seventh U.S. Army, which made it very difficult for medical units to keep pace. However, support never faded as the drive carried forward until 22 July, when Palermo fell to the Americans. The Sicily Campaign came to a close with the fall of Messina on 17 August 1943.

In spite of the careful planning and preparation, anticipated shortages of certain items, such as tincture of opium, glycyrrhiza and opium tablets, sulfaguanidine tablets, hydrogen peroxide, litters, blankets, mercury, some surgical and dental instruments, and canvas cots, did occur.

Approximately 110 tons of medical supplies were landed on 16 beaches between D-day and D+2. These initial supply loads consisted of combat medical maintenance units, heavily augmented by items which experience in North Africa had shown to be required. Medical supplies and equipment were unloaded on the beaches in haphazard fashion, and were later picked up by the beach group personnel, who issued them as needed until medical supply depot personnel came ashore. In the Scoglitti area, medical supplies were so widely scattered on the beaches that collecting them was a slow and difficult task.


MAP 5.-Medical supply depots in Sicily, July-August 1943.

About 10 percent of the initial medical supply load in all areas was lost because of enemy action.

At Gela, the 1st Advance Section of the 2d Medical Supply Depot established its first distribution point, which was stocked with supplies taken over from the beach group or later taken from the beaches. To accomplish this, the depot borrowed trucks from the 1st Medical Battalion while waiting for their own transportation to be unloaded.

The movement of the various supply depots (map 5), which were operated by sections of the 2d and 4th Medical Supply Depots, was indicative of the fast pace at which the combat situation developed. All medical supplies unloaded in Sicily were received, segregated, inventoried, and moved to appropriate distribution points, which were each stocked with 15 to 20 tons of balanced medical supplies and located as near the combat elements as the tactical situation would permit.

During the course of the campaign, several Italian medical supply dumps and military hospitals were captured. Some material found in these installations was adaptable for treatment of civilians and prisoners of war.

In spite of shortcomings and difficulties, medical supply support for the Sicily Campaign proved to be satisfactory because of careful preparation. Requisitioning of medical supplies and equipment estimated to be adequate for current maintenance plus a 30-day reserve was ultimately phased in on followup convoys from the United States. Acute shortages were satisfied by


emergency requisitions on base depots in North Africa, with air delivery of urgent requirements. The first such emergency requisition was for litters to replace those lost due to the failure of property exchange with hospital ships and air transports involved in the evacuation of patients during the first week. Because this failure occurred along the entire chain of evacuation, these items were constantly flowing to the rear and piling up. Canvas cots, also among the first emergency requirements, were needed to support extensive bed expansion in hospitals.

In preparation for the Sicily Campaign, a 1- by 1- by 3-ft. box was designed to provide uniformity for ease of storing and as a container one man could handle. A strip of wood was nailed across each end to afford a handle. Although the objective was practical and realistic, boxes were inadequately constructed because of the scarcity and poor quality of materials available in North Africa. Therefore, much of the advantage to be gained was outweighed by the large number of broken boxes arriving at Sicilian supply points.

To counteract the flagrant rifling of supplies, it was recommended that cases containing whisky be marked with a code known only to shipping and receiving depot personnel.29

Lack of coordination between the elements making the beachhead landing resulted in the breakdown of the property exchange system. Directives had been issued to leave all unused litters, blankets, and splints on the beaches. The Seventh U.S. Army medical supply officer was unable to locate many items which had been handled in this manner. Also, medical supplies scheduled for loading on LST's (landing ships, tank) before their departure from North Africa were never loaded. Medical personnel who were assigned to these ships were also missing. It was all typical of the innumerable, unexplainable aspects of war as no single cause could be identified at the time.30

The medical maintenance units were found to be generally adequate, but, again, the quantity of cotton was excessive and out of proportion to the other items supplied. Conversely, camphorated tincture of opium, plaster of paris bandage, and crinoline were furnished in quantities far short of requirements. Also, some "seasonal" items furnished were "out of season" for the time of year the operation took place.

As with other TOE (table of organization and equipment) medical units, medical depots and their elements were constantly hampered by the shortage of organic transportation. Vehicles of the 1st Advance Section of the 2d Medical Supply Depot were late in unloading. In any event, they were insufficient to transport all necessary unit equipment and personnel. Consequently, vehicles were borrowed from any available source.31

29(1) Letter, Capt. Charles D. McDonald, MSC, to Medical Supply Officer, Seventh U.S. Army, 25 Sept. 1943, subject: Medical Supply During Sicilian Campaign. (2) See footnotes 8(3), p. 208; and 25(1), p. 223.
30Letter, Col. L. Holmes Ginn, Jr., MC, Surgeon, 15th Army Group, to Brig. Gen. A. L. Hamblen, AFHQ, 20 July 1943, subject: Report of Visit to Sicily.
31See footnote 25(1), p. 223.


Following the successful conclusion of the Sicily Campaign, the Island Base Section was activated at Palermo on 1 September 1943, thereby perpetuating the process of base section employment.

With the capture of Sicily, the Allies had achieved a springboard to Italy and the Continent, and no time was lost in using Sicily for this purpose. On 9 September 1943, initial landings took place at Salerno.


Fifth U.S. Army Plans and Preparations

The Fifth U.S. Army, which was activated on 5 January 1943, at Oujda, French Morocco, began planning Operation AVALANCHE, the Salerno invasion, in July 1943. A target date of 7 September 1943 was set. The medical supply planning team of SOS-Mediterranean Base Section, so effective in the Sicily Campaign, joined with other Army personnel in planning the invasion of Italy.

Medical units were selected, tonnages were computed and phased, and requisitions were prepared for convoys through D+24. A supply level of 14 days was scheduled to be achieved by D+12. Supplies consisted of medical maintenance units, augmented by special items, such as plasma, litters, blankets, Atabrine, plaster of paris, and biologicals.

Experience developed in Sicily and the lessons learned in the Tunisia Campaign were integrated into Fifth U.S. Army medical supply planning. All medical units were to carry ashore their full TBA material, with selected units designated to carry additional special supplies and equipment. A medical supply dump was to be established on the beach and absorbed by medical depot personnel scheduled for early landing. Initially, no forward delivery of supplies was planned because of the extremely limited number of supply personnel in the assault phase. The depot group was to establish forward supply points as necessary and, later, to operate a depot to serve the entire force. Medical units landing with the assault force were to carry extra wheeled litter carriers, litters, blankets, Medical Department chests No. 2, splint sets, and other selected medical supplies and equipment. The splint sets, which were to be taken ashore in specially prepared waterproof containers by unit medical personnel, consisted of dressings, gauze, bandages, cotton, crystalline sulfanilamide, morphine Syrettes, blood plasma, sulfadiazine ointment and tablets, halazone tablets, together with specially prepared sterile packets of fine mesh gauze impregnated with boric acid or Vaseline ointment. The waterproofed packs containing these items weighed 70 pounds and could float while supporting a man in water. In addition, unit personnel each carried 13 units of plasma in the bottom extension of the individual medical kit. Contents of the kit not expended during the assault phase were to be delivered to the beach


FIGURE 53.-Landing craft, infantry, unloading supplies, Italy, September 1943.

medical supply depot, a feature which was an application of a recommendation made following the initial landing experience in North Africa.32

Salerno Landings

The 4th Medical Supply Depot and the 12th Medical Depot Company were selected for the Salerno operation, and a detachment of the 4th landed with the assault force on D-day. Because of heavily mined beaches and intense enemy artillery fire, depot personnel could do little but dig in until midafternoon when beaches were cleared of mines up to ? mile inland. Portable airstrip landing mats of wire were laid on the sands so that supply vehicles could operate freely. Because certain medical supplies brought in by invasion barges were dumped into the water near the shore, depot personnel had difficulty locating them and fishing them out.

On D-day, more than 100 tons of medical supplies were unloaded, secured, segregated by class, and stored at one location while an issue point was located at another spot (fig. 53). A total of 200 tons of unit equipment for the 16th and 95th Evacuation Hospitals was gathered and held by the depot group

32(1) Annual Report, Surgeon, Fifth U.S. Army, 1943. (2) WIltse, Charles M.: The Medical Department: Medical Service in the Mediterranean and Minor Theaters. United States Army in World War II. The Technical Services. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965, pp. 251-252.


pending arrival of unit personnel. This was a rare instance where equipment of major medical units preceded unit personnel in landing.

By D+4, all personnel of the 4th Medical Depot detachment had arrived and supply tonnages had doubled. During the first month, the depot commendably filled 1,102 requisitions while maintaining a detailed inventory of supplies.

As in most other beach operations up to this time, the unpredictable event was the chief cause of difficulty. In the Salerno landings, large quantities of gauze, cotton, adhesive tape, and medications were lost in the water. Transports carrying medical supplies and equipment were sunk while many items such as fluoroscopic screens, X-ray equipment, darkroom tents, and Coleman stoves were lost or damaged in transit.33

With the experience of Sicily behind it, the SOS organization responded quickly to the urgent requirements of the new beachhead. The Salerno landings were accomplished with this more fully developed advantage. Requisitions for shortages were radioed from the beaches to SOS in North Africa where resources of the theater could be employed in support.

It was not until 20 September 1943 that the beachhead was finally secured and the advance proceeded toward Naples and beyond the Volturno River. On 4 October, the 12th Medical Depot Company, commanded by Maj. (later Lt. Col.) George P. Wilson, MSC, replaced the 4th Medical Supply Depot detachment as the medical depot of the Fifth U.S. Army and took custody of the 50 tons of medical supplies on hand. The detachment then rejoined its parent organization, which, by this time, had established a base depot in Naples (fig. 54) following its arrival from North Africa.

The 12th Medical Depot was based on the Naples depot for support; however, the latter did not open until 15 October and, because of inadequate stock, full support of the 12th was not possible. Meanwhile, the 12th operated a depot first at Avellino on 11 October and, on 25 October, at Caserta. These locations were advantageous because most medical units being supported were concentrated in that area, and the tactical situation warranted it. By 17 December 1943 (map 6), the 12th was supporting a troop strength of 225,000 from a depot operated at Riardo and another containing some 120 tons of supplies and equipment set up in a monastery near Calvi Risorta.34

Peninsular Base Section

Meanwhile, the 4th Medical Supply Depot had established a forward dump at Secondigliano just north of Naples on 10 October (map 6). On 1 November 1943, the base element of the 4th was assigned to the Peninsular Base Section at Naples. With a wealth of experience to its credit, this unit quickly adapted itself to the necessity of running a base depot. During this period and up to January 1944, it handled a large input of supplies from

33See footnotes 11, p. 210; and 32(1), p. 228.
34Annual Report, 12th Medical Depot Company, 1943.


FIGURE 54.-Naples Fair Grounds served as a medical depot site.

North Africa and the United States and sustained the 12th Medical Depot Company and surrounding medical units (fig. 55) despite heavy air attacks which failed to interrupt operations to a damaging extent.

The 4th Medical Depot Company for the first time was forced to hire civilian laborers when a reorganization stripped it of 16 trained enlisted men. Meanwhile, crowded conditions caused another dump, called Dump 352, to be opened in the munitions factory tunnels located in the outskirts of Bagnoli. This new installation supported combat operations as well as several large medical treatment complexes.

At this point, it is to be noted that the theater was then operating two major medical depot systems: one represented by the 4th Medical Supply Depot in the Peninsular Base Section in Italy and the other by the 2d Medical Supply Depot in Oran, which was carrying tremendous operating stocks and reserves for the entire theater.

Adriatic Depot

In addition to the supply depots of the Peninsular Base Section, a depot was established by a detachment of the 4th Medical Depot Company at Bari,


MAP 6.-Movement of the 4th Medical Supply Depot and the 12th Medical Depot Company in Italy, 7 September-17 December 1943.

Italy, in October 1943. This depot functioned as support for Air Force and supporting troops until 20 March 1944, when it was turned over to the Medical Section, Army Air Forces Service Command. Supply responsibility was then handled by the Air Force in direct contact with the Zone of Interior.35

Anzio Operation

The 1st Advance Platoon of the 12th Medical Depot Company, after a secret move to Naples, was attached to VI Corps, then preparing for the Anzio operation. Again, this platoon was scheduled for D-day landings, but this time it immediately followed shore engineer battalions to keep medical depot stocks and unit equipment separate from supplies and equipment of

35See footnote 11, p. 210. (2) Annual Report, Army Air Force Service Command, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, 1944.


FIGURE 55.-Medical supply, 300th General Hospital, Naples, Italy.

other elements during the early hours on the beach. Again, shipping space was at a premium and, along with enemy action, the lack of it cut into supply and equipment levels.

Refinements in packing and loading of supplies were incorporated into the landing preparations while better features of the more recent Salerno operation were also adopted. Increased supply levels, improved requisitioning procedures, special items, and property exchange were adequately provided. Allied Forces Headquarters arranged for hospital ships to maintain a reserve of litters, blankets, and splints, while naval landing craft carried equipment to augment and further insure uninterrupted property exchange in patient evacuation. As an added feature, combat commanders were directed to establish guards over any enemy medical facilities or supplies encountered in the advance to prevent looting and preserve their serviceability for use in caring for prisoners of war. This was no doubt prompted by problems encountered in North Africa when it became the duty of some U.S. medical units to treat prisoner-of-war patients at a time when supplies, equipment, and medical facilities were at a premium.36

Arriving on the beach with the second assault wave on 22 January 1944, the 1st Advance Platoon of the 12th Medical Depot Company, commanded by Capt. (later Maj.) Richard P. Gilbert., MSC, had a temporary beach dump

36Annual Report, Surgeon, Fifth [U.S.] Army, 1944.


in operation by 0700 hours on D+1. Gathering supplies was no problem then because all that had arrived were several hundred blankets. On the following day, the dump was moved to a more permanent site on a hill near the Anzio-Albano road.

Depot facilities consisted of a four-story building, 70- by 40-ft., which accommodated the headquarters, issue room, shipping section, and living quarters as well as two storage tents which were arranged so the large red crosses would be clearly visible to the enemy.

At first, supplies were distributed equally and stacked by class; however, the constant threat of shelling and bombing made it necessary to distribute the most important items of supply in several areas to avoid complete destruction of any one particular item. This was a rather complicated arrangement of stockpiles, but was worth the effort involved.

Despite the absence of unloading facilities on the beachhead during the first 5 days, medical supply operations were sustained during this period by the supplies carried in by combat and service units. These supplies were transported on the vehicles organic to the various units or often carried in mortar shell cases (fig. 56), and either dropped on the beach or carried to the supply dump.

By D+6, the first shipment of medical maintenance units packed by the 4th Medical Depot Company in Bagnoli was completely unloaded. Because of difficulty in item identification, the British maintenance units which were included were turned over to a British casualty clearing station.

Once again, despite precautionary efforts, property exchange in patient evacuation broke down on the beaches because LST's and other ships did not return with litter and blankets as expected. Unfortunately, large quantities of such items had been allowed to accumulate in Naples. This problem was solved by requiring litter bearers unloading patients in Naples to return a litter and blanket to the LST for each patient removed.37

Because of heavy seas and shallow beaches which prevented proper landing or docking, emergency requisitions were dispatched to Naples where LST's were loaded, transported to Anzio, and landed directly on the beaches. With improved weather conditions, ships in the harbor were soon unloaded and large surpluses began to accumulate in the depot. To handle this unmanageable workload, 20 Italian civilians were hired. All supplies were tallied and stored by D+15. To offset the constant turnover of the indigenous work force, a detachment of Italian soldiers was employed, but with no better results. Finally, the problem was solved by the assignment of 12 U.S. soldiers to the depot.

Harassed by air raids and shelling, the depot nevertheless processed requisitions in rapid time. Emergency requisitions for such items as distilled

37(1) GIlbert, Richard P.: Combat Medical Supply Operations-the Anzio Beachhead. [Official record.] (2) Wiltse, Charles M.: The Medical Department: Medical Service in the Mediterranean and Minor Theaters. United States Army in World War II. The Technical Services. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965.


FIGURE 56.-Mortar shell cases used at Anzio.

water, dextrose., and normal saline solutions, as well as essential items of equipment, were sent to the Peninsular Base Section to make up for hoarding and heavy losses of hospital equipment on the beaches. These supplies were rigidly controlled by the depot while items of equipment vitally essential to hospital operation were maintained in depot stock. Hospital equipment was not stocked according to usual procedure, but there was no other way to make equipment immediately available. Rapid delivery of replacement items from Naples was successfully accomplished.

A steady flow of supplies into Anzio was maintained by use of every conceivable form of transportation ranging from Piper Cub to transports, destroyers, LCT's (landing craft, tank), and LST's. Consequently, by 24 April 1944, a 93-day reserve of supplies was on hand. Again contrary to expectation, the boxes for medical supplies failed to hold up. By this time, the more


"popular" medical stock numbers stenciled on the boxes were well known to our troops, and whisky and narcotics again became a prime target of looters. Looting in Italy, in contrast to that in North Africa, was negligible. Difficulty was experienced in locating box numbers or the box which carried the master packing lists of a shipment. The inadequacy of the tables of organization and equipment for a storage and issue platoon of a medical depot company was a problem.

Between 23 January and 7 June 1944, the 1st Advance Platoon of the 12th Medical Depot Company, while operating the supply point for the Anzio beachhead, handled 842 tons of supplies and equipment, of which 610 tons were issued and 232 tons transferred. In keeping with the superior performance of the medical service as a whole, this was a highly significant accomplishment for a small depot section operating under severest handicaps.


Fifth U.S. Army Medical Service

U.S. medical units were regrouping near Carinola to support the Fifth U.S. Army in the spring offensive which was launched before midnight on 11 May 1944.

While the 1st Platoon of the 12th Medical Depot Company was supporting the Anzio beachhead, its 2d Platoon moved from the base depot at Calvi Risorta on 20 April to the town of Nocelleto before the Fifth U.S. Army attack. By this date, the unit was supporting a new Fifth U.S. Army area in which the troop strength had been increased to approximately 201,000. With the attack, the platoon again moved rapidly; first to Itri, then on to Rome by 9 June and Piombino by 28 June, finally reaching the vicinity of Florence on 31 August 1944.

Meanwhile the 1st Platoon, after reverting to company control when joined by the base section on 7 June, moved from Anzio to Civitavecchia on 11 June and to Cecina on 9 July. While in the Civitavecchia and Cecina areas, the 1st Platoon experienced great difficulty in obtaining supplies from its parent base section which had replaced it at Anzio. The small amount of supplies sent from Anzio, supplies flown in from Naples, and a limited amount of supplies remaining at Civitavecchia comprised the total stock available for the Rome-Arno offensive. Consequently, it would seem that were it not for excesses inadvertently built up during the early days at the Anzio beachhead, medical units could have experienced serious supply shortages during those crucial first few weeks of the campaign.38

During the Rome-Arno Campaign, the 12th Medical Depot Company was reorganized, its three platoons being redesigned storage and issue platoons (fig. 57 A and B). Throughout the campaign, one platoon supported each of

38(1) Annual Report, 12th Medical Depot Company, 1944. (2) See footnote 37(1), p. 233.
(3) Mial, Marcel H.: Fifth Army Medical Supply Activities, 1 August 1943-1 August 1944, dated 28 Aug. 1944. [Official record.]


FIGURE 57.-The 12th Medical Depot Company, Fifth U.S. Army, Volterra area, Italy, 9 August 1944: A. Two storage tents. B. Loose issue tent.


MAP 7.-Medical supply depots in Italy, 6 January-17 September 1944.

the two U.S. corps engaged, while the base element maintained a position accessible to both (map 7). Problems of delivering supplies over rugged terrain were solved by using every conceivable means of transportation, including pack animals and sleds.

During the period up to 11 September 1944, the 12th had operated entirely under canvas. As a result, supplies and equipment were subjected to the rigors of wind, dust, rain, and general dampness, which made operations unsatisfactory and costly.39

39Wiltse, Charles M.: The Medical Department: Medical Service in the Mediterranean and Minor Theaters. United States Army in World War II. The Technical Services. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965.


On 17 August 1944, regular requisitioning in the Peninsular Base Section was established by the Fifth U.S. Army. The use of War Department replacement factors, introduced as a means of determining medical supply requirements relative to troop strengths to be supported, had little effect on Fifth U.S. Army's medical stock position during the Rome-Arno Campaign. During the campaign, U.S. medical supply support was furnished to French, Brazilian, and various British units, and on occasion to Italian troops, as well as Fifth U.S. Army Forces. Where Allied troops were concerned, delicate political questions required equal delicacy in deciding when and what medical supplies could be spared for Allied troops.

The sensitivity of this situation was recognized by Brig. Gen. Joseph I. Martin, Surgeon, Fifth U.S. Army, and he manifested this in his policies. Expendable supplies going to U.S. troops were drawn directly from the depot; however, nonexpendables were processed through the Fifth U.S. Army medical supply officer, Colonel Mial, for control purposes before depot action, as were all requisitions from Allied units. Approved requisitions for the French were forwarded to the depot, which in turn transferred the specified material directly to the French medical supply depot which effected proper distribution. For the Brazilian units, Colonel Mial forwarded approved requisitions to the 12th Medical Depot Company for issue directly to the Brazilian units concerned.

It was observed that there was widespread hoarding by all organizations, which in some instances threatened their mobility. At this point in the war, units had become familiar with the unreliability of the forward movement of supplies. Although not to be condoned, their hoarding was not entirely without explanation. To cope with these problems, the Army Surgeon directed that a vigorous supply discipline program be implemented in the Fifth U.S. Army.

As a device to conserve medical equipment, a novel feature was employed to provide Allied units with equipment in excess of authorized allowances. In particular, when a request was found justified, the Army Surgeon authorized the issue to a nearby U.S. unit, which in turn released it on hand-receipt to the Allied unit. Emergency issues were always made without question. Such occasions were frequent, particularly as a result of destruction of supplies and equipment by the elements.

The Army Surgeon also exercised scrutiny of depot inventories, while records on the location of all medical equipment used in Fifth U.S. Army units were kept by his medical supply officer. Such extensive control of material was, perhaps, the most detailed procedure used in a combat area in the entire Mediterranean theater.40

Services of Supply Support

In February 1944, a realinement converted the year-old SOS, NATOUSA, into a true communications zone organization. Colonel Shook remained as

40(1) Administrative Directive No. 49, Headquarters, Fifth U.S. Army, 17 Aug. 1944, subject: Basis for Editing Class II Requisitions. (2) See footnote 36, p. 232.


FIGURE 58.-Two general hospital assemblies, stored under tarps at Oran as reserves, came into ready use as replacement for hospital assemblies lost during the bombing raid of Bari Harbor in December 1943.

Communications Zone Surgeon, with an enlarged staff to carry out his expanded functions. Lt. Col. (later Col.) Joseph G. Cocke, MC, became Colonel Shook's deputy in April, and Lt. Col. (later Col.) Jenner G. Jones, MC, was placed in charge of the medical supply branch. Although the communications zone medical section took over many activities for which the theater surgeon had previously been responsible, such as hospitalization and evacuation, working relations between the two groups continued to be harmonious.

Control of the base sections, also, passed to the communications zone early in 1944, together with base section supply problems. For example, most of the 2,000 tons of stock on hand in the Peninsular Base Section consisted of medical maintenance unit components. Stocks of hospital equipment, such as would be specially requisitioned through SOS, NATOUSA, were strictly limited.

On 5 January, Services of Supply assumed responsibility for supplying the various base sections in the theater and for keeping theater stocks properly balanced. Due-in records were maintained by Peninsular Base Section, utilizing SOS requisitions as sources of information. These requisitions were themselves based on the semimonthly inventory reports.

Extremes and urgency of support that SOS encountered were exemplified by the German attack on ships anchored off Bari, in December 1943, causing the loss of one general hospital assembly, two station hospital assemblies, and two field hospital assemblies. This would have been a catastrophe if SOS had not previously chosen to disregard instructions from the Zone of Interior to dismantle two general hospital assemblies stored under tarps at the Oran Medical Depot (fig. 58). Components of these assemblies comprised the bulk of immediate replacements.


FIGURE 59.-Walk-in refrigerators (with generators) at the medical depot in Oran were used as shipping containers from the United States for a large shipment of medical refrigerated items, and delivered to the depot site intact to serve as theater refrigerated storage.

During the summer of 1944, the Peninsular Base Section found itself not only supporting the Rome-Arno offensive of the Fifth U.S. Army, but equipping and reequipping units of the VI Corps in addition to providing resupply requirements for the southern France beachhead forces. During July and August, the latter requirements amounted to 184 tons of medical supplies and equipment.

The peak of activity for SOS, NATOUSA, and other major headquarters was the summer of 1944. An infinite variety of relatively unpublicized supply problems were arising and being solved. For example, shipment of dated items requiring refrigeration en route to, and while stored in, theater depots had been a problem from the beginning. Refrigerated space on ships was always overcrowded and inadequate. To solve both problems, SOS arranged with the New York Port of Embarkation to have appropriate shipments packed into Engineer Corps knocked-down, walk-in type refrigerators, which in turn were loaded aboard ship, intact. On arrival, the loaded refrigerators were delivered intact to depots (fig. 59). Thus, adequate storage in transit plus continued storage on arrival at the depot were assured, while uniform expansion of the theater refrigerated storage capacity was achieved concurrently.41

Support through Leghorn-Tonnage of medical >supplies in the Peninsular Base Section grew from 2,000 tons in January to 6,000 tons by August

41(1) Annual Report, Peninsular Base Section, 1944. (2) For a more detailed description of the organization of the medical service in the Mediterranean theater, see The Medical Department, United States Army. Organization and Administration in World War II. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963.


FIGURE 60.-U.S. Army Medical Depot, Leghorn, Italy, bounded by buildings marked with the Geneva Cross on the right and left.

1944. With Leghorn captured, this base section acquired a supply base fully capable of filling all Fifth U.S. Army needs. Stocks were rapidly built up so that by the year's end, tonnages of medical materiel in Leghorn were equal to those carried in Naples (fig. 60). This was accomplished not without considerable difficulty as the actual point of receipt of individual items could not be predicted more than 10 days in advance of unloading. Problems arising out of necessity for transshipment were substantial.

The 4th Medical Depot Company, base depot for the Peninsular Base Section, continued operation at Bagnoli. By April 1944, tonnage had increased to 4,000 tons and issues reached an aggregate of 1,000 tons a month. During the Rome-Arno Campaign, the activity of the 4th increased markedly to a peak in May, when 2,228 requisitions were filled.

Preparations to move North African bases-Characteristic of operations in the theater as the war moved closer to the enemy heartland, base section operations of earlier campaigns gradually consolidated and phased out of operation. Consequently, excess stocks in North Africa were shipped to the Peninsular Base Section. A large shipment from the Eastern Base Section arrived simultaneously with an 8,000-package shipment from the Mediterranean Base Section. This deluge was a backbreaking task to handle, but in 6 days, the 4th Medical Depot Company had it all recorded and warehoused.


This and other depot workloads could not have been accomplished with the 136 men authorized under new TOE 8-667. Depot personnel who were rendered excess under the earlier reorganization were retained on temporary duty.42

Shifting of supply depots in rear areas-On departure of the base element of the 12th Medical Depot Company from Anzio, it was replaced by the 7th Medical Depot Company, which was at the time assigned to Peninsular Base Section. It operated the Anzio issue point from 11 to 21 June 1944, when it was directed to operate the depot at Civitavecchia. Being relieved by a detachment of the 4th Medical Depot Company, the 7th returned to Naples and, by 1 July, had begun preparations for the forthcoming invasion of southern France.

The supply of troops in the Rome area presented particular problems to the Peninsular Base Section. After considerable delay, a plan was evolved to institute service to these units directly from the Naples depot while the 4th Medical Depot Company detachment at Civitavecchia supplied only units in that immediate vicinity. In addition, the 12th General Hospital in Rome was stocked to distribute supplies to those units in the Rome area.

On 7 July 1944, a group from the Civitavecchia detachment established a small issue point at Piombino. Coincident with this, all medical depots south of the Volturno River were consolidated by 17 July. Operations were thereby centered in Bagnoli while all medical depot operations between the Volturno and Civitavecchia had been eliminated. Meanwhile, the 4th Medical Depot Company had been augmented by the 684th Quartermaster Base Depot Company, which previously had been attached to the 7th Medical Depot Company (map 7) and was further attached to the 4th on relief of the 7th from the Civitavecchia assignment.43


Following the capture of Rome on 5 June 1944 and the establishment of Headquarters, SOS, NATOUSA, at Caserta, on 4 July, the Coastal Base Section, with the specific mission to support the invasion of France, was organized. When the invading VI Corps struck the coast of southern France on 15 August 1944, it was accompanied by personnel of the section, now called Continental Base Section, who opened its headquarters at Marseille. To compensate for the long supply line, CONAD (Continental Advance Section), which was established close to the Armies at Dijon, replaced the deactivated Continental Base Section. Delta Base Section was activated simultaneously with headquarters at Marseille. Together CONAD and Delta Base Section constituted SOLOC (Southern Line of Communications), of which Colonel Shook was Surgeon.

42(1) See footnote 41(1), p. 240. (2) Annual Report, 232d Medical Service Battalion, 1944.
43(1) Annual Report, 7th Medical Depot Company, 1944. (2) See footnote 42(2), above. (3) Annual Report, 684th Quartermaster Base Depot Company, 1944.


Base Section Medical Supply

During their brief tenure in Marseille, Continental Base Section personnel located an excellent depot site near port and rail facilities, and unloaded and warehoused over 200 tons of medical supplies before the arrival of the 231st Medical Composite Battalion (formerly 2d Medical Supply Depot) on 10 September 1944. At the outset, the base surgeon, who had been supervising beach dump operations, was advised that several ships would unload 200 tons of medical supplies in the near future. Without depot personnel, warehousing, or transportation, the assistant base section medical supply officer took immediate action and, after scouring the city, found a suitable building which he claimed for use as a medical depot. Despite some difficulty unloading the supplies and rounding up needed personnel, all 200 tons of equipment were stored within 15 hours. Under these circumstances, the first medical supplies for base section operation were received, stored by catalog class, and readied for issue within 72 hours of arrival.44

With the arrival of the veteran 231st Medical Composite Battalion, commanded by Major Markus, base section depot operations began with vigor. Originally designated Medical Depot 356 (later European theater Depot M-452), it grew to be one of the largest and most ideally operated depots in the theater, with over 255,000 square feet of closed shed and open warehouse space (fig. 61 A and B).

To alleviate the manpower shortage, elements of the 46th and 81st Medical Base Depot Companies and the 320th Medical Service Detachment were attached to the 231st at various times. A mobile optical unit of the 7th Medical Depot Company was attached to the Marseille depot on 10 September to handle optical repair for the base section.

Early Depot Operations

On 16 August 1944, an advance section of the 7th Medical Depot Company, which had been attached to the Seventh U.S. Army for the Southern France Campaign on 13 July, came ashore at Sainte-Maxime, and took over the operation of the three medical supply dumps at Sainte-Maxime, Le Muy, and Saint-Rapha?l (fig. 62).

By 25 August, this section, after operating an issue point at Le Cannet, had moved to Saint-Maximin, where it was joined by the main body of the 7th Medical Depot Company (map 8).

Moving rapidly up the Rh?ne Valley in support of the Seventh U.S. Army offensive, units of the 7th Medical Depot Company briefly operated supply points at Meyrargues, Aspremont (map 8), Voreppe, Selli?res, and Baume before the entire company reunited on 20 September at Vesoul (map 9). Here the first permanent depot in southern France was established in a

44See footnote 41(1), p. 240.


FIGURE 61.-A. Unique inclined ramp with fixed skate conveyor set up to facilitate unloading at Medical Depot M-452, Marseille, France.

large tobacco warehouse, which provided adequate space for storage, issue offices, mess facilities, and billets.45

Through the efforts of the 46th Medical Depot Company and Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Oliver A. Parssinen, MAC, modern palletized storage methods and maximum materials-handling equipment were introduced, thus enabling the depot to better support the 6th Army Group.

By 31 October, 444,715 tons of general cargo and 147,231 vehicles had been disembarked in southern France. Because of the improved port, rail, and road facilities, supplies were handled and moved rapidly. Eventually the medical depot developed and maintained a 15-day level of supplies for the Combat Zone and a 15-day level for CONAD.46

45(1) Report, 231st Medical Composite Battalion, dated 28 Oct. 1944, subject: Medical Historical Data. (2) See footnote 43(1), p. 242.
46(1) Annual Report, 46th Medical Depot Company, 1944. (2) Headquarters, Communications Zone, NATOUSA, Circular Number 113, 6 Oct. 1944. (3) Wiltse, Charles M.: The Medical Department: Medical Service in the Mediterranean and Minor Theaters. United States Army in World War II. The Technical Services. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965. (4) See footnote 45(1), above.


FIGURE 61.-Continued. B. Skate conveyor placed in a truck bed facilitated transfer to rail cars or unloading of other local movements of stock.

On 26 October, the 71st Medical Base Depot Company was assigned to CONAD at Dijon, where it joined in operating the depot there with the 70th which had arrived several days previously. That depot site, although it had satisfactory billeting for personnel, lacked adequate covered warehouse space. Consequently, large amounts of stock were in open storage.47

Later Depot Operations

As of 1 November 1944, both CONAD and the Delta Base Section were absorbed by SOLOC. The original staff of this group was drawn from the Communications Zone, NATOUSA, organization, including its surgeon, Colonel Shook. Indeed, the personnel shifts were so extensive that Communications Zone, MTOUSA (as it was formally known after 1 November 1944), went out of existence in less than a month. Its functions, including medical supply, were resumed by the theater medical section. In southern France, meanwhile,

47Narrative Summary, 71st Medical Base Depot Company, November 1944.


FIGURE 62.-Beach medical supply dump in southern France.

in a radical departure from earlier policy, a Medical Administrative Corps officer, Lt. Col. Allen Pappas, became medical supply officer of SOLOC.

At first, both the Delta Base Section and CONAD were supplied by Communications Zone, NATOUSA, but all supplies for CONAD passed through the Delta Base Section. They were often transferred by DUKW's (amphibious trucks, 2?-ton cargo) from ships directly to waiting freight cars, bound for forward areas without ever entering the Delta Base Depot. Receipts at the depot were very small for the first 2 months. In fact, adequate stock levels could not be achieved in either base section because ship arrivals were uncertain. Also, because the Marseille port was only partially restored, unloading was relatively slow, and transportation from port to depot was tightly scheduled. In spite of this, the 231st Medical Composite Battalion managed to fill 60 percent of the requisitions received from the Seventh U.S. Army, the French Army, CONAD, and Delta Base units. No serious shortage developed within Delta Base medical units, fortunately, because they had arrived in France with a 90-day supply. Stocks up to the authorized levels were finally on hand in the Delta Base Depot by mid-November. During the preceding 3 months, the 231st had received 3,329 tons and issued 1,894.


MAP 8.-Seventh U.S. Army depots in southern France, 16-29 August 1944.

At this point in the war in southern France, stress on conservation was growing. Inducements were offered for return of salvage to depots, and emphasis was placed on repair. For some time, CONAD was without medical repair facilities of its own and was forced to farm out work to other military units in its area, but many items had to be returned to the 231st Medical Composite Battalion in Marseille.

Packaging of supplies received by the 231st was generally excellent, and breakage was minimal. In November, blankets were scarce and the shortage of certain immunizing biologicals was a cause for concern. By January 1945, the general stock picture was very good, with steady improvement in item balance and with no items in critically short supply.

Efforts made by the depot to institute modern warehouse and stock-handling practices were completely successful by March 1945, resulting in a com-


MAP 9.-Seventh U.S. Army depots, 5-19 September 1944.


mendation from G-4, Headquarters, Delta Base Section, as well as Army Service Forces representatives from Washington. During April, a substantial increase in tonnage received brought considerable pressure to bear upon the storage section of the depot. A special pallet-building crew was employed to avoid a growing backpile of stock. From this experience, a unique inclined plane, skate conveyor, receiving platform was devised which permitted simultaneous receipt, sorting, palletizing, and delivery of boxes to bay locations for immediate forklift stacking. Thus, sporadic receipts of large quantities of operating supplies no longer disrupted normal operations.48

Compared to previous base section operations, Delta Base Section operations were extremely smooth. This was due primarily to the confidence and experience with which the headquarters, staff section, units, and individuals performed their tasks.

In December 1944, the depot opened a large pharmacy to prepare bulk quantities of 31 standard stock preparations-such as tincture of green soap, cough mixtures, and ointments-for issue to small unit dispensaries of the area, thereby relieving overburdened hospital pharmacies of this considerable workload. During the first 6 months of operation, the depot pharmacy issued more than 13,000 units of these preparations.49


By the middle of August 1944, when the swift thrust into southern France was being launched, the Allied armies in Italy were slowed to a halt on the south bank of the Arno River and along the Met?uro River on the Adriatic. Both the Fifth U.S. Army and the British Eighth Army had outrun their supplies.

When it became apparent toward the middle of November 1944 that a hoped-for breakthrough into the Po Valley would not materialize and that Fifth U.S. Army operations for some time would be limited to patrol actions, the Army dug in for the winter.50 The next few months were used to regroup, reequip, and bring the Armies up to strength for the final drive.

The 12th Medical Depot Company at this time attempted to adapt local civilian help to its operations to offset the reduction in strength from 166 to 136 in the reorganization under the new TOE. This proved unsatisfactory because, with each move, a new group of civilian workers had to be hired and trained. In late 1944, some relief was provided by the attachment of a company of Italian service troops which remained with the depot as it moved.

Another remarkable feature of TOE 8-667 was the inclusion of dental teams, which were described by one depot commander as so much "dead wood" because of their chronic absence on detached service. A further analysis of TOE showed that, after discounting these-and allowing for personnel as

48See footnote 46(1), p. 244.
49See footnote 46(1), p. 244.
50See footnote 36, p. 232.


signed to the two storage and issue platoons operating remote from depot headquarters, to the optical team, to maintenance duty, and to Headquarters overhead-only 19 enlisted men remained at the base element to procure, store, and issue supplies and equipment, which usually amounted to an issue workload of 5 tons daily.

On this aspect of depot operations, the commanding officer of the 12th Medical Depot Company, Major Wilson, commented as follows:51

It is understood that the present table was inaugurated in order to conserve manpower. It does just that, but to the detriment of efficiency in an organization in which efficiency should be foremost.

It is neither practical nor possible to train civilians speaking only a foreign language to fill requisitions nor to properly warehouse supplies within such a short period of time as must be done in order for them to be of value to a field medical depot. An organization of this type may mean a matter of life and death to a soldier in the front lines. Also, it is suggested by War Department assignment that a Medical Depot Company be employed for each 75,000 troops. In reality this depot is servicing three times that number.

Changes in Theater Supply Organization

During the lull in fighting in the winter of 1944-45, theater medical supply responsibilities were being assumed by the Mediterranean theater surgeon's office. On 20 November 1944, a reorganization occurred in which the Communications Zone of the Mediterranean theater was dissolved and its responsibility in southern France was passed to SOLOC, which in turn became a subordinate command of the European theater. In this move, Colonel Shook, appointed SOLOC Surgeon, took most of his staff with him, thus causing a severe personnel problem in the Mediterranean theater. This deficiency at one point placed in jeopardy the timely submission of the theater medical supply requisition to the United States and of the supply consumption report until some relief was forthcoming.

Studies were undertaken to fix order times and shipping times for a more accurate theater requisitioning objective. Material status report items were found to have an order and shipping time of 45 days while other items took about 150 days. Further studies involving costs of transportation, storage, and issue of medical supplies were also undertaken.52

The role of the Peninsular Base Section as the intermediary in the chain of supply between the Fifth U.S. Army and the Mediterranean theater was being circumvented during this winter period. On several occasions, the Fifth U.S. Army went directly to the Mediterranean theater for supplies; in one instance, this resulted in a duplication when the 12th Medical Depot Company requisitioned on the depot at Leghorn at the same time the latter was acting on a cable request from the theater to satisfy the same requirement.

During the winter, the back-order system was improved within Fifth U.S. Army medical depot operations and with the Peninsular Base Section

51See footnotes 4(1), p. 205; and 38(1), p. 235.
52(1) Annual Report, Surgeon, MTOUSA, 1944. (2) See footnote 41(2), p. 240.


depot. Previously, back-orders were held until many became invalid before they could be filled, and the volume became so great that all were ultimately canceled. After 60 days elapsed, back-orders were canceled to prevent such accumulations and, at the same time, to realize a more efficient reorder process.53

Changes in North African Operations

The Mediterranean Base Section transferred its headquarters from Oran to Casablanca in November 1944. In addition to its normal mission, the 56th Station Hospital became a depot in the Atlantic Base Section on movement of the 60th Medical Base Depot Company to the Peninsular Base Section from Oran. The 56th Station Hospital received 100 tons of supplies from Oran, plus subsequent shipments diverted from their original Mediterranean Base Section destination.

Previously, as operations contracted in North Africa, about 1,000 tons of medical stock were transferred to the Mediterranean Base Section, from which point they were redistributed to southern France, Italy, the Zone of Interior, and to Allied and cobelligerent forces. Eventually, however, the center of gravity for supply in North Africa moved westward from Oran to Casablanca, owing to the concentration of U.S. forces, mostly Air Corps, in that area. Thus, by 10 December 1944, medical supply operations in the Eastern, Mediterranean, and Atlantic Base Sections, once a substantial part of a vast and unprecedented logistical machine, were relegated to the 57th Station Hospital in the Eastern Base Section area, to the 54th Station Hospital in the Mediterranean Base Section area, and to the 56th Station Hospital in the Atlantic Base Section area as an additional responsibility.54

Other Theater Changes

Peninsular Base Section headquarters moved from Naples to Leghorn on 25 November 1944, where it joined its advance headquarters section. With this move, the base section medical supply officer and his staff were permanently located in Leghorn while medical supply activities in Naples became the part-time responsibility of one officer. Stocks in Leghorn and Naples were fairly equally divided for a time, but the rapid increase at Leghorn was eventually matched by a similar decrease in Naples. A large portion of stocks on hand in Naples, however, was theater excess concentrated there as a result of shipments from the Mediterranean and Island Base Sections. The task of balancing stocks between Naples and Leghorn presented some extremely knotty problems. Meanwhile, emphasis was placed on the buildup of balanced stocks at Leghorn and avoiding the accumulation of any excess there.

53See footnote 4(1), p. 205.
54(1) Annual Report, 56th Station Hospital, 1944. (2) Annual Report, 60th Medical Base Depot Company, 1944. (3) Annual Report, 54th Station Hospital, 1944. (4) Annual Report, 57th Station Hospital, 1944.


Inspection of hospital supply activities in January 1945 by the medical supply officer of the Peninsular Base Section revealed that, after 2 years of virtually unrestricted activity, many glaring deficiencies existed in stock accounting, storage, requisitioning, and housekeeping. Accordingly, a series of medical supply conferences were held which served to revise the standards and to improve operations.55

The two Northern Base Section depots operated on Corsica since February 1944, by an advance section of the 7th Medical Depot Company, were consolidated in October 1944 into one depot operated by a detachment of the 684th Quartermaster Base Depot Company. By the end of March 1945, and before deactivation of Headquarters, Northern Base Section, on 25 May, medical supplies there had been reduced to only 75 tons; by 6 April 1945, the depot had closed and personnel departed for Italy. Units remaining in Corsica were supplied by the 40th Station Hospital, which carried a 120-day supply for 1,000 beds.56

In January 1945, a medical supply conference was held at Fifth U.S. Army headquarters. This conference improved inventory reporting, and clarified requirements determination and maintenance of stock levels, in addition to establishing policy for continuous review of stocks for determination and disposition of excesses.57

The increase in tonnage at the Leghorn depot, which had accelerated during November and December, abruptly halted in January 1945, prompted by an anticipated German offensive which had the port of Leghorn as its objective. Previously scheduled shipments were diverted to Naples and, in anticipation of attack, redistribution of large quantities of stock to the 12th Medical Depot Company at Florence was planned. The Fifth U.S. Army supply level was increased from 10 to 20 days, with tonnages jumping from 150 to 205 tons. However, plans and preparations were never brought into action because the German offensive did not materialize. Normal operations were resumed at Leghorn, and during February and March 1945, tonnage rose to almost 4,500 tons.58

Meanwhile, the 4th Medical Depot Company was redesignated and reorganized as the 232d Medical Composite Battalion. The 72d Base Depot Company assisted it in the storage and issue of supplies in the Naples area, while the 73d Medical Base Depot Company operated the Leghorn depot from October through December 1944.

The 232d was again reorganized into a medical service battalion of the same number, which improved its authorized strength and maintenance ele-

55Hansen, William L.: [Peninsular] Base Section Medical Supply Activities, 10 Aug. 1945. [Official record.]
56Annual Report, Northern Base Section. 1944 and 1945.
57Report of Supply Conference at Headquarters, Fifth U.S. Army, 2-3 January 1945, dated 4 Jan. 1945.
58See footnote 55, above.


ment. The 60th and 80th Medical Base Depot Companies, and the 684th Quartermaster Base Depot Company, all attached or assigned to the battalion, successively operated the depot at Leghorn which served seven station hospitals, five general hospitals, the 12th Medical Depot Company, various port battalions, Quartermaster detachments, Air Force units, and a variety of other elements in the area.

The Leghorn depot became the main medical supply point for the theater during February 1945, and maintained theater reserves for the Northern and Mediterranean Base Sections, and the Adriatic Depot. The fifth echelon maintenance shop, spare parts, stock of teeth, and optical repair shop had been previously transferred from Naples to Leghorn during January.59


Preparations for the final drive into the Po Valley were thorough and extensive. The Fifth U.S. Army was brought to full strength--almost 270,000 on 1 April 1945, as compared to the 170,000, 6 months earlier. However, resources available to the Fifth U.S. Army Surgeon were increased by only one 400-bed evacuation hospital over the inadequate number of facilities for the lesser strength supported in the North Apennines Campaign. Additional medical battalions, ambulance companies, or supply units were not added. Hospital bed capacity was less than enough to keep pace with the increase in troop strength. Close general hospital support of the Army medical facilities was necessary to absorb the overflow.60

Moving from their respective locations in Filigare and Lucca as the campaign advanced, the two forward storage and issue platoons of the 12th Medical Depot Company established depots at Porretta and Bologna. Each left behind a small detachment in its former location to operate dumps which supported units remaining in the vicinity.

By 30 April 1945, the 2d Storage and Issue Platoon had progressed to Verona by way of Mirandola, and shortly thereafter, the depot headquarters, maintenance section, and 1st Storage Issue Platoon moved from Florence to Modena, while the 3d Storage and Issue Platoon remained at Bologna (map 10). The headquarters section had barely completed setting up when hostilities in Italy ceased on 2 May 1945.61

During the final offensive, heavy casualties as well as nonavailability of trucks and ambulances and subsequent delays caused a great deal of confusion. The confusion was in no way lessened by the fact that medical units, following on the heels of the retreating enemy, often found themselves operating behind the German lines.

59See footnote 42(2), p. 242.
Annual Report, Surgeon, Fifth U.S. Army, 1945.
61Monograph, Lt. Col. George P. Wilson, MSC, dated 13 Aug. 1945, subject: Fifth Army Medical Depot Activities.


MAP 10.-Medical supply depots in northern Italy, 15 October 1944-1 May 1945.


Depot Operations

During the Italian campaign, the 12th Medical Depot Company performed herculean tasks of operation and movement (fig. 63). It received a total of 2,524 tons of supplies and issued 2,402 tons. Nonrepairable and surplus equipment and supplies were moved to the rear. New organizations entering combat for the first time drew heavily on expendable supplies until they


FIGURE 63.-Medics of the 10th Mountain Division pull sled with litter and bundle of medical supplies up a steep incline of the Apennines.

learned through experience that it was neither wise nor expedient to be burdened with excessive quantities.62

Changes in depot locations were necessarily governed by changes in the tactical situation. The pattern of depot movement normally put an advance detail at the new location to make preparations for receiving the balance of the depot. When time was not of the essence, the issue room and stock ac-

62See footnote 61, p. 253.


FIGURE 64.-Repair of X-ray generators, being performed by the improvised medical maintenance shop at the depot in Oran, was a perpetual requirement.

counting section were the last to move. Usually convoys of original-package stock were moved first. This gave the issue section time in which to pack loose stock. To facilitate these moves, men of the issue section premarked cases for the various classes with the medical catalog class number to identify the contents, thus permitting requisitions to be filled immediately upon arrival.

In effecting a move, experience proved that one convoy a day was the most practical as it permitted unloading at the new location before the next convoy arrived, and permitted men at the old location to strike tentage while preparing the next convoy. Fortunately, all moves were possible in daylight which helped to avoid undue confusion.63

Medical Maintenance

During the first 30 days of operations in North Africa, the need for a medical maintenance program was quite evident (fig. 64). Almost all field

63See footnote 61, p. 253.


X-ray equipment, which was irreplaceable, arrived with broken leaded glass screens. Even such minor items as wicks in the kerosene refrigerators burned out, and glass tubing on steam sterilizers and plastic knobs on the sterilizers arrived broken. With no maintenance program, even the simplest parts were not available for replacement. It is true that many replacement parts were in the medical supply catalog, but there was only a token number, and they were primarily of a type such as otoscope and ophthalmoscope light bulbs normally consumed in the use of the basic item.

The ingenuity of members of various medical units was relied upon to reconcile numerous maintenance problems. Many "Rube Goldberg" devices and modifications worked extremely well and were so practical that eventually a theater program was established wherein all such creations and modifications were reduced to drawings, gathered together, published, and distributed within the theater for the benefit of all units (fig. 65 A and B).

The parts problem gathered such momentum that, within 60 days from D-day, a recommendation was forwarded from the Medical Section, Mediterranean Base Section, that, as an interim measure, manufacturers be required to pack with each item they supplied, a 6-month supply of those component parts which they considered necessary for frequent replacement. This was never fully implemented, except for the Coleman stove. Parts provisioning of this type later became a feature in the Medical Department's maintenance program.

The first requisition prepared in the Mediterranean Base Section included many nonstandard items, over half of which were uncataloged repair parts. In the absence of necessary catalogs and technical skills, identification of the wide variety of parts for the numerous manufacturers and types of equipment in use was, in most instances, nothing more than guesswork. Considerable effort was later expended over a 6-month period by the Medical Section, Headquarters, SOS, to establish a firmer basis of requirements, but the size and complexity of the task severely limited any broad approach to the subject. Meanwhile, item-for-item exchange and cannibalization caused large quantities of unserviceable items to accumulate in depots, and the irreducible minimum resulting from cannibalization was frequently reached. It was in this climate that a semblance of medical maintenance activity developed in medical depots from a part-time operation of expediency into activities in base depots which could be called shops.

With the capitulation of Italian and German forces in North Africa, maintenance shop activity was accelerated. Many skilled and eager electricians, metal workers, and craftsmen were found among the prisoners. When the invasion of southern France was launched, this type of augmented maintenance shop activity in base depots was at the peak of its development. The medical depot at Marseille, operated by the 231st Medical Composite Battalion, boasted a very active and capable shop supervised by a maintenance trained officer. This, however, was the exception rather than the rule.


FIGURE 65.-Austerity fathered improvisation, and publications distributed to all medical units in the theater carried descriptions of the more practical devices, such as: A. Wash sink made from an oildrum. B. Home-made lamp, used in searching the abdomen for a shell fragment.


In spite of these developments, maintenance of medical equipment in general and of spare parts in particular remained a painful problem throughout the theater's active period.64

Local Procurement

Early in the Tunisia Campaign, it was directed that the procurement of supplies, services, and facilities interfere as little as possible with the local economic situation.

Practically all drugs and chemicals which had been imported into North Africa before the war began had been consumed at the time of the Allied invasion. However, small amounts of alcohol and mercury were found and subsequently procured for use of U.S. forces.

An important service was performed by a small metal-plating shop which had sufficient stocks of basic materials to produce a plated finish superior to the poorly plated knives, forks, and spoons of U.S. issue. A program was instituted wherein all medical units in the Oran area turned in unserviceable utensils for an item-for-item exchange at the depot. This was later expanded to some surgical instruments when total production was increased to about 300 pieces per week. What promised to become a thorny problem was partially solved by this unexpectedly available local service.

In all of the Mediterranean campaigns, the possibilities of local procurement were examined and exploited whenever possible. In Sicily, all that could be located were 7? pairs of spectacle lenses and some lens surface-grinding equipment. This, of course, had no practical application to the U.S. optical activities. However, 20,000 liters of 95 percent proof ethyl alcohol at 10 cents a liter was found as well as usable quantities of hydrochloric, sulfuric, and picric acids. Also in Sicily, local laboratory services were contracted for during February 1944, with an expenditure totaling $2,796.35.

A firm in Rome was located, capable of producing a satisfactory artificial eye for $2.50, which was one-third the prevailing price for this item in the United States. Artificial eyes were thus procured at a rate of 24 per week. A source of medicinal oxygen was also located in Italy, and some 350,000 gallons were procured.65

64(1) Semiannual Report, 231st Medical Composite Battalion, 1 January-30 June 1945. (2) See footnote 52(1), p. 250.
65(1) Administrative Memorandum No. 7, Allied Force Headquarters, 15 Oct. 1942. (2) See footnote 52(1), p. 250. (3) Letter, Commanding Officer, 6th General Hospital, to Surgeon, Peninsular Base Section, 1 Aug. 1944, subject: Eye Prostheses. (4) Letter, 1st Lt. Peter F. Heinrich, SnC, 7th Medical Supply Depot, to Surgeon, SOS, NATOUSA, 24 Oct. 1943, subject: Report of Findings Relative to Purchase of Optical Supplies in Palermo, Sicily. (5) Letter, Commanding Officer, Island Base Section and 10th Port, to Commanding General, SOS, NATOUSA, 5 Mar. 1944, subject: Monthly Report of Local Purchases for February 1944. (6) Letter, Commanding Officer, Island Base Section, to Commanding General, SOS, NATOUSA, 27 Oct. 1943, subject: Local Purchases.



Role of Allied Military Government

The management and support by Allied Forces of civilians in occupied areas of the Mediterranean theater was initially the task of AMGOT (Allied Military Government of Occupied Territory). Initial medical supply planning took place in preparation for the Sicily Campaign when the British planning unit provided for a director of public health, responsible for making available drugs, dressings, pharmacies, and hospitals.66

Before this, the use of U.S. medical supplies to treat civilians was accomplished for either political or other purposes which had an immediate effect on the capability of the United States to prosecute the war. In Oran, for example, French civilian health authorities established clinics for the treatment of venereal diseases. These clinics were furnished U.S. medical supply support.

Supply requirements for AMGOT necessarily took lower priority than those for purely military purposes. Beginning with the Sicilian campaign, however, AMGOT supplies were allotted space which was included in the task force quotas. Because the Combined Chiefs of Staff had not yet approved the items to be made available to AMGOT, U.S. medical supplies for civilian purposes in Sicily were limited to what could be spared by combat and occupation forces.

In planning for Sicily, AMGOT, in the British plan, was responsible for estimating and providing medical stores for the civilian population. Arrangements were to be made to issue these supplies through public health centers, hospitals, drugstores, or direct issue as necessary. Units were made up of biological units, basic medical units, and Engineer and Quartermaster Corps sanitary supplies designed for specific purposes.

The Italian medical depot captured in Caltanissetta, Sicily, used as a U.S. Army medical depot and later turned over to AMGOT, was the first supplying depot to AMGOT regions I (Sicily) and II (toe-and-heel provinces of Italy). Later, AFHQ arranged to stockpile Civil Affairs Division units in regions I and II with a buildup covering 9 months beginning September 1943. Over 1,100 Civil Affairs Division units of various types were the estimated requirements to service the population of 8,862,000 in regions I and II for 90 days (fig. 66).

Responsibility for the distribution and storage of civilian medical supplies was originally based on a coordinated effort between the Medical Section, NATOUSA, and the Military Government Section, AFHQ. This responsibility later was given entirely to the Medical Section, NATOUSA, to

66For a detailed study of civil affairs and public health in Italy, see Medical Department, U.S. Army. Preventive Medicine in World War II. Volume VIII. Civil Affairs and Military Government. Public Health Activities. [In preparation.]


FIGURE 66.-Italian personnel at Medical Depot 3L50 sort surplus medical supplies, most of which were eventually acquired by the Italian Government.


improve control. Within the medical section, this responsibility fell to the medical supply officer.67

Medical Supply Branch, AMGOT

In November 1943, a medical supply branch was formally incorporated into the newly reorganized Public Health Subcommission of the Allied Control Commission, AMGOT, which ultimately relieved the 15th Army Group of its civilian medical supply functions. Col. Martin E. Griffin, MC, Chief, Medical Supply Depots, Allied Control Commission, was appointed its chief medical supply officer on 1 January 1944.68

Region III military government headquarters set up a central medical supply depot in a Red Cross warehouse in Naples in November 1943, and in January 1944, the Allied Control Commission took it over. Supplies from the United Kingdom, United States, or North Africa were stored and distributed to all regions of Italy. The NATOUSA policy for distributing supplies provided that, except for an initial 30-day period, medical supplies should not be issued automatically on a Civil Affairs Division unit basis to civilians in a conquered area. Supplies for the initial 30-day period consisted of a balanced stock of lifesaving supplies, warehoused in strategic supply areas, and issued on requisition to meet actual relief needs. These supplies could be replaced from theater stocks as required. After the initial period, medical supplies furnished to civilians in an occupied country were either medical supplies for restoration of health, or lifesaving supplies. Supplies were thus requisitioned by regional public health officers on the medical depot by line item rather than by Civil Affairs Division units.

Augmented by additional personnel, the central medical supply depot operated, under detailed accounting procedures, a price list, together with procurement, storage, and issue instructions. Supplies were received from North Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and distributed to the warehouses established in each region under the supervision of the regional public health officer. All supplies ceased to be the property of the Allied Control Commission when they were sold and shipped to the Italian agency, Medici Provenciali, established to distribute medical supplies to the population of each province.69

In addition to computing requirements, requisitioning, and accounting for supplies, together with their sale, distribution, and control, regional public health officers in Italy also assisted reputable manufacturers in resuming production of essential drugs and biologicals. Free issues from Italian warehouses were permitted only in emergencies. Fair prices to hospitals and

67See footnote 4(1), p. 240.
68See footnote 4(1), p. 240.
69(1) See footnote 4(1), p. 240. (2) Memorandum, Surgeon. NATOUSA, to Military Government Section, AFHQ, 17 Dec. 1943, subject: Requirements of Medical Supplies for AMG.


clinics, doctors and midwives, pharmacies and other retail channels were established, controlled, and issued in that priority.70

Growth of Medical Supply Support

By March 1944, the Naples depot possessed complete facilities. Regions I to VI, inclusive, had supply depots in operation and a subdepot was established in Bari concurrent with the move of region II headquarters to that city. Except for a few items which had been covered by special requisitions, there were adequate stocks of medical supplies in occupied Italy for civilian medical care.

From March to July 1944, the medical supply branch of the control commission operated depots at Reggio, Bari, and Rome for variable periods. Personnel was shifted from depot to depot, as the occasion demanded, to set up distribution in new areas. With the advent of cobelligerent status accorded the Italian Government, distribution of medical supplies in region II was turned over to Italian civilian organizations, such as wholesale drug houses. This arrangement proved highly satisfactory and helped to overcome the existing problem of shortages of military personnel.

The general policy in administering civilian medical supply support in occupied areas of the Mediterranean theater, as developed from experience by the Medical Supply Branch, provided that items and quantities must be the minimums essential for the area concerned, and luxury items were not to be supplied. Medical supplies and equipment in an area at the time of occupation were to be preserved with the cooperation of combat commanders. Drugs for the prevention and cure of venereal diseases and preventive biologicals for other communicable diseases were to be emphasized, and public health officers would be familiarized with the types of medical items available for the care of civilian populations. The supply organization, as well as procedures for supply, procurement, accounting, and control, was to be established as early as possible with maximum use of existing normal distribution channels within the civilian community. Finally, it was emphasized that issues would be on an item basis rather than a Civil Affairs Division unit basis.71

Use of Local Resources

Civilian supplies requisitioned for the period July to December 1944 did not arrive in the theater as scheduled, chiefly because of transportation problems. Insufficient transportation also aggravated the supply of northern regions from the Naples depot. However, during this period, as more and more local supplies were uncovered, it appeared that the theater stockpile would suffice for a much longer period than originally anticipated.

70See footnote 4(1), p. 240.
71See footnote 4(1), p. 240.


In 1944, the G-5 section was established in AFHQ to carry out the Supreme Allied Commander's responsibilities in civil affairs. Ultimately, the section assumed control of civilian supplies in the theater, and the central Civilian Medical Depot, Mediterranean theater, was established in lieu of the Central Medical Depot, and dealt directly with AFHQ.

During 25-28 September 1944, approximately 600 tons of supplies were unloaded at Naples, and many shortages of long standing were thereby relieved. On 1 November 1944, responsibility for distributing medical supplies in northern Italy, except Army areas under AMGOT control, passed to the Italian Government.

Beginning with the end of hostilities in Italy on 2 May 1945, AFHQ directed that military responsibility for civilian medical supplies in Italy was to be terminated as rapidly as possible. Effective 15 August 1945, the Italian Government accepted all shipments of medical supplies at boatside and assumed responsibility for their distribution throughout Italy.72


In the late spring of 1944, plans were being developed by SOS, NATOUSA, for the redeployment of U.S. troops and supplies when hostilities ceased. As a corollary, the Atlantic and Eastern Base Sections closed in November 1944, and the Mediterranean Base Section, once the supply giant of the theater, was reduced to a small role in North Africa. All medical materiel coming into the theater was received at either Leghorn or Naples, with the Peninsular Base Section having the responsibility for intrabase distribution. Eventually, the bulk of the theater reserves was also transferred to the latter base section, which assumed all medical supply functions of the Mediterranean theater on 1 October 1945. A month later, the Medical Section of the Mediterranean theater was also discontinued, leaving the Peninsular Base Section responsible for medical support of all U.S. forces remaining in the theater.73

72(1) See footnote 4(1), p. 240. (2) Letter, Surgeon, NATOUSA, to Col. George M. Powell, MC, SGO, 30 Dec. 1944. (3) Letter, Col. M. E. Griffin, MC, to Lt. Col. Ryle A. Radke, MC, Surgeon's Office, NATOUSA, 14 Oct. 1944.
73Final Report, Medical Supply Officer, Office of the Surgeon, MTOUSA, 30 Sept. 1945.