75th Medical Battalion After Action Report, January 1945
The following is a narrative report of marches and battles of the battalion by companies for the month of January 1945.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company on the first of the new year was located in Pepinster, Belgium. Only one move was made throughout the month, a march of 23 miles to Aachen, Germany, on the 29th. Due to a lull in fighting of the division, most of it being in Army Group Reserve during the month, a training program was initiated and carried on throughout the month. An increase of flying bombs over the area was noticed during the month. Our S-4, Capt Seney, was awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious service during our first six months of combat. The company made about 700 red cross flags for use by the medical vehicles in the Division, the rest to be held in reserve for future use. Division Medical Supply and Battalion Maintenance functioned normally supporting the lettered companies.
The first day of the new year dawned bright and cold and found Company “A” in the vicinity of Baelen, Belgium, in their usual role of support to CCA of the 5th Armored Division. The division, as a whole, remained in mobile reserve for the 21st Army Group. About 0900 the same day the cold quiet morning was disturbed by the staccato-like reports of ack-ack. Six (6) ME 109 came in over our area, “on the deck”. A moment later one returned to the Fuehrer’s fold, the other five crashed earthward. Exploding ack-ack covered our bivouac area. Although three vehicles were hit by fragments of flak or 50 cal. A.P. slugs, no personnel were injured. When it became evident that we were to remain quiescent for the time being, a training schedule was put into effect. On the 25th of January we were alerted for movement to the Ninth Army. On the 26th we closed in bivouac in the vicinity of Raeren, Belgium. An advanced treatment section moved to Rotgen, Germany, in anticipation of the forthcoming combat. At 0700, January 30th, CCA jumped off from Summerath, Germany, in an attack, coordinated with elements of the 78th Infantry Division. The purpose was to make contact with and secure the north flank of the advancing First Army. In quick succession the fortified towns of Konzen, Eischerscheid, and Huppenbach were captured along with a considerable portion of the Siegfried belt. By 0400, January 31st, contact was made at Widdan with units of the First Army’s Ninth Infantry Division. By 2400 most of the armored elements were relieved by the 79th Infantry and we withdrew to Raeren, Belgium. For the first time we witnessed flame-throwing Churchill tanks in action against enemy pill boxes, apparently a very successful proceedure. During this entire action CCA had less than 25 battle casualties, total. Company “A”, 75th Medical Battalion Armored, suffered no battle casualties for the entire month. Tec 5 Henry Rochman won the company’s first Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry in the Hurtgen Forest. Now at the turn of the new month, CCA is resting awaiting a new assignment and still boasting the record of never having failed to take an assigned objective.
During the month of January, Company “B” continued to support CCB of the Fifth Armored Division. The first of the month we were in the vicinity of Baelen, Belgium, in Army Group Reserve. Considerable enemy air activity was noticed over the area and five out of six enemy planes were destroyed by our alert anti-aircraft men. Most of the month we spent in training and refitting and a few reinforcements arrived to bring the company up to its T/O strength. On the 25th of January, Tec 5 Gilhooley and Pfc Sandoval were awarded Bronze Stars for heroic action against the enemy. On the 28th of January the company moved by motor convoy to Busch, Belgium, a distance of five miles. The company remained at this location for the remainder of the month.
The first of the year found the company still located in its convent at Astenet, Belgium. The combat elements being in reserve, casualties were very slight. However, there was a large number of respiratory cases,
the majority of which were kept in the hospital set up by the company thereby enabling these men to be returned to duty without being evacuated to the rear. The heavy snows and cold weather made the men and officers most appreciative of by far the best quarters they had had since arriving on the continent. In a formal ceremony, the Commanding General of the Division presented a Silver Star to Sgt. Sidney Flam for gallantry in action, and Bronze Stars to LT. Randell and Tec Sgt Chastain and Privates First Class Jones, O’Sadnick, Scott and Gamble. Although the combat command remained in reserve throughout the month, the company, due to its hospital, was fairly active. The results obtained were extremely gratifying. For the month just ended, out of a total of sixty-six (66) men placed in the hospital ward instead of being immediately evacuated to the rear, fifty-six (56) were subsequently returned to duty. The totals to date since setting up in the present location reveal ninety-six (96) more being returned to duty out of one hundred and forty (140) men who were kept in the ward.
For the Battalion Commander:
GORDON B. CAREY