75th Medical Battalion After Action Report, March 1945
The following is a narrative report of marches and battles of the battalion by companies for the month of March, 1945.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company was located at Baesweiler, Germany, on 1 March 1945. On the 2nd of March a move of twenty (20) miles was made to Wockerath, Germany, and from here a move of twenty-eight (28) was made to Kempen, Germany, on the 5th of March. On the 11th of March a move of eight (8) miles was made to Vennheide, Germany. At the end of the month the company was enroute and at the Rhine River bridge near Wesel, Germany. M/Sgt George D Revis was appointed Second Lieutenant, MAC, on the 2nd of March and WOJG Roy P. Pittman was appointed Second Lieutenant, MAC, on the 6th of March. Second Lieutenant George O. Westhoff (a former member of this company) was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service as operations sergeant of this battalion. The battalion maintenance section functioned normally throughout the month bringing battalion vehicles in good mechanical condition. Division medical supply also functioned normally and at the end of the month has sufficient medical supplies for the coming operation. T/E equipment proved adequate throughout the month. There were no unusual experiences.
The beginning of March found Combat Command “A” in combat on the Rhineland Plain. The combat command passed through Combat Command “B” in the vicinity of Rhinedahlen. Within four days, meeting only light resistance, Combat Command “A” overran such places as Hamm, Anrath and St. Hubert and had crossed the Neiss canal which runs parallel to the Rhine and Roer Rivers through the middle of the Rhineland. After mopping up Kempen and Huls, Combat Command “A” was squeezed out by elements of the XIX and XVI Corps. About the 5th of March a married task force mopped up surrounding towns without major incident and active campaigning for the combat command ended. The entire campaign was very successful for the combat command which moved speedily from one objective to another. There were no major difficulties encountered. Our most difficult task was keeping up with the troops that we were supporting. To accomplish this, treatment sections leap-frogged. This plan was very successful and afforded rapid treatment and evacuation of casualties. No unusual circumstances faced the company during this period. The most exciting event of the month was the accidental dropping of one-hundred-eighty (180) anti-personnel bombs from U. S. medium bombers. These bombs dropped near the company area causing thirty (30) casualties, many serious. One man from Company “A” was slightly wounded. While at Anrath, one of the clearing sections came under sporadic shell fire, believed to be S.P. 88’s. No direct hit occurred and no casualties sustained. Normal T/E equipment proved adequate. The close of the month found Company “A” ready to cross the Rhine.
Except for the first two days of the month, Combat Command “B” was not in actual contact. During these two days mopping-up operations were under way southwest of Munchen-Gladbach. The remainder of the month was one of occupation of towns already captured. On the 1st of March, Company “B” was billeted at Rath, Germany. Three German planes dropped bombs in Company “B”, 22nd Engineer area and a few casualties were caused. During the early morning of 2 March the company made a short road march of seven (7) miles to Kolhausen, Germany. On the 3rd of March the company left Kolhausen at 2300 and traveled blackout for ten (10) miles as part of Combat Command “B” column to a new area east of Oedt, Germany. On the 4th of March we moved as a company to vicinity of Mulhausen, Germany, and on 6th of March moved to vicinity of Kempen, Germany. The company remained at this location until the end of the month. During this time intensive motor maintenance, including repainting of vehicles, took place. Several training films were shown and regular orientation classes were held. Road guards were posted for coordination of civilian traffic and approximately twenty-five (25) civilians without proper identification were apprehended and turned over to the military government. Physical conditioning of the men was instituted by mass athletics and short road
marches. Excess clothing and equipment was turned in. Tentage of the company was pitched, inspected and repaired where necessary, and repacked. Medical supplies were inventoried and new stocks were obtained through normal channels. No battle casualties were treated during this period, and only normal sick call and evacuation was necessary. The health and morale of the command were excellent. On the 23rd, 24th and 25th of March a few enemy planes strafed the general area but no units of Combat Command “B” were affected directly. During the month of occupation, German civilians seemed cooperative and fully subordinated to our occupation. No instances of sabotage in the area were noted. The civilian morale seemed fairly high and they are glad the war is over for them. Five reinforcements were received during the month. Of these, two were old members of the company and were reassigned to old jobs. One well trained surgical technician was received and will be of value to the clearing platoon. Two much needed drivers were received and are being utilized in this capacity. One man was rotated to a general hospital and one officer and one enlisted man left for thirty (30) day rotation furloughs to the States. Five (5) Bronze Star Medals were awarded to members of the company on 29th of March for meritorious service and heroic achievement. The following received the awards: Capt. John F. Jewett, 1st Lt. Charles Frank, S/Sgt Paul Nelson, Tec 4 Evan Weale and Tec 5 Arthur Gallagher. Capt. James P. Harbeson was awarded the Croix de Guerre. No new equipment was used during the month and no supply problems were encountered.
On the 1st of March Company “C” moved from Gavenich, Germany to Rhinedahlen, Germany. On the 3rd of March they moved into a field near Kempen, Germany, and in the ensuing twenty-four (24) hours cleared forty-nine (49) casualties, many of them severely wounded. The following day they moved into a building in Vluyn, Germany. Casualties continued to come in fairly steadily. The casualties resulted mainly from artillery fire. From the 5th to the 9th of March a ward was set up, enabling several patients to be returned to duty. On the 10th of March the Combat Command was pulled out of combat and we moved to St. Tonis, Germany, where we set up a dispensary. One treatment section was sent forward to Osterath, Germany, on the 15th of March to support the division artillery which was firing across the Rhine. On the 30th, due to regrouping of the division preparatory to going into combat, the treatment section was pulled back to the company. On the following day the entire combat command crossed the Rhine River and the company set up in a field in the vicinity of Senden. Very few casualties were sustained by combat elements. Normal maintenance of vehicles was accomplished during the month. There were no unusual experiences and no supply difficulties. The T/E equipment proved adequate.
RAYMOND J. WINKLER
Major, M. C.