75th Medical Battalion After Action Report, December 1944
The following is a narrative report of marches and battles of the battalion by companies for the month of December 1944.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company on the first of December was located in Waimes, Belgium. On the 11th of December the company marched to Venwegen, Germany a distance of 39 miles. The night of December 17th an increase in air activity was noted, flares were dropped and a few sticks of bombs were reported dropped in the vicinity of the town. The next day the company sent out a search party after German paratroopers however none were found. On December 27th the company moved to Pepinster, Belgium as the Division was placed in mobile Army Reserve to be prepared to work with the First or Ninth Armies. Training programs were discontinued during the month. Division Medical Supply and battalion maintenance functioned normally supporting the lettered companies.
The beginning of December found “A” Company in Rotgen, Germany where they were operating both a dispensary and convalescent home for CCA of the Fifth Armored Division. On the 2nd of December one treatment section moved forward to Vicht with some supporting personnel in order to give evacuation to the combat command in their first operation under the VII Corps. At this time elements of CCA were attached to the 4th Infantry Division for attack and capture of portions of the Hurtgen Forest in the vicinity of Grosshau and Kleinhau. Casualties were heavy averaging close to 50 per day. Total in this period were 203. During this period we were also evacuating casualties for both the 4th Infantry and 8th Infantry Divisions. Our ambulances were evacuating under very heavy shell and mortar fire and although no direct hits were suffered, many tires and windows were blown out. Men of the company answered a call for volunteers for battlefield evacuation and 12 of them went forward under extremely hazardous conditions and aided in evacuation of members of the 46th Infantry Battalion. Both the forward station at Vicht and the rest at Rotgen were straffed on several different occasions. Thru all these activities, no casualties to organic personnel were incurred. About the 8th of December we were returned to Divisional control under the VII Corps and retired with the combat command to the vicinity of Hahn and Walheim, Germany. About the 13th of December the combat command was again ordered to the Hurtgen Forest area to act with the 83rd Division in attempt to clear the area from Gey to the Roer. This was accomplished in about 10 days with casualties suffered somewhat less than in the Kleinhau area. The total casualties suffered by the combat command in both actions was 393. On December 18, T/4 Walter Smolski liason agent of the company with the combat command was injured lightly, ostensibly by flak burst and was evacuated to the hospital. This was our first battle casualty since August 16th. During the second phase of the Hurtgen Forest action the main clearing station again functioned at Vicht with a forward clearing and emergency station located at Schevenhutte. Both these areas were heavily strafed and bombed several times. On the 24th of December the company closed in bivouac in the vicinity of Baelen, Belgium where we are being held as Army reserve. At this point we have dissolved our convalescent home because of the improved efficiency of the Army evacuation and replacement setup. During this month we suffered our first deadline day in five months of campaigning. This was an ambulance which was struck with shell fragments and had to be battle evacuated.
During the month of December Company “B” continued to support CCB of the Fifth Armored Division. From 1st December to 10th December, the company was in Corps Reserve at Mospert, Belgium. There were few casualties during this period as the command was not in contact. On the 3rd December, 3 ME 109’s passed directly over the area without firing a shot. On 10th December the Company moved 18 miles to Zweifall, Germany to support line elements on line at edge of Hurtgen Forest. At 1630, enemy planes overhead dropped bombs in CCB Hq. Area causing approximately 20 casualties. Ambulance Relay post was set up in vicinity of
81st, 85th, and 15th Aid stations. For the next few days casualties were extremely heavy and taxed evacuation to the utmost. Extra ambulances from Army and 2-1/2 ton trucks were pressed into service. On the 12th of December, 12 men of the company were sent to the front to act as aid men and litter bearers. After the 14th of December casualties were less in number and aid men returned to the company. Several enemy planes were over on the 16th of December but did no damage to the company. On the 24th of December, the company left Zweifall at 1500 and moved to vicinity of Baelen, Belgium to remain in Army reserve until the end of the month. Occasional enemy reconnaissance planes were overhead during this period plus isolated enemy bombers. Estimated 200 pound bomb dropped 500 yards from CP about 0645 on 31 December 1944.
On the First day of December, “C” Company was rendering medical support to CCR, which was fighting on the edge of the Hurtgen Forest. A forward treatment section was set up in the vicinity of Mularschutte, Germany while the balance of the company remained in Kettenis, Belgium. On the second of the month the forward section moved deeper into the Hurtgen Forest to shorten the evacuation route however the next day the system of one way roads was changed and the treatment section returned to its original site in Mularschutte. Also on the third, 3 enlisted men from the company, Flam, Kabasinsky, and Atkins went to the 47th Medical Detachment to serve as company aid men due to the shortage there. During this period and thru the 8th of the month casualties were heavy. On the 6th, Flam, Kabasinsky, and Atkins returned from the 47th and was replaced by Fred Smith and Steinberg. On the 8th, CCR was taken out of action. The forward section remained in Mularschutte to help evacuate the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the 28th Infantry Regiment. Smith and Steinberg returned to the company that day. On the 9th the forward treatment section rejoined the company at Kettenis. On the 13th, the company moved to Astenet, Belgium taking over one wing of a convent. A hospital was set up to take care of trench foot, respiratory, and other non-serious cases – a total of 35 beds were available for use. On the 14th CCR was put on alert status and a surgical section moved to Rotgen, Germany in preparation for any future action. On the 15th Rotgen was shelled for 3 hours. On the 17th bombing and strafing was frequent during the day and night, enemy paratroopers landed in the area. On the 19th CCR returned to VII Corps with the rest of the division. On the 21st CCR reverted to the V Corps and the forward section returned from Rotgen. The combat elements of the Combat Command were in Eupen in mobile reserve. During the remainder of the month the hospital ward was continued, results proving very successful as more than 50% of the patients were returned to field duty.
For the Battalion Commander:
GORDON B. CAREY,
S – 3.