75th Medical Battalion After Action Report, September 1944
The following is a narrative report of marches and battles of the battalion by companies for the month of September.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company a component part of Division Trains in combat, was on September 1st bivouaced at Baron. The medical detachment from “C” Company continued to furnish medical support for the above mentioned major command throughout the month. Here we saw our first flying bombs. A long march of 96 miles was made on September 4th to the vicinity of Hatteville. On the 5th we made a short move of 18 miles to Puisseux. Another short move of 28 miles was made to Chemery on the 8th. On the 9th we arrived in Bleid, Belgium, a distance of 48 miles covered under blackout conditions. Another blackout march was made the next day to Steinsel in Luxembourg. On the 11th we marched to Angelsberg a short distance of 11 miles. At the end of September the company was located in Ettelbruck still in Luxembourg. During the month, Division Medical Supply thru the assistance of Civil Affairs picked up steel cabinets for one of their trucks from Gestapo Headquarters in the city of Luxembourg. Numerous visits by the staff were made to the companies throughout the month. Casualties treated during the month were 325. Evacuation was made to 91st Evacuation Hospital.
“A” Company continued to give medical support to CCA throughout the month of September. In the first few days we pushed directly north toward Belgium, crossing the Oise and Somme rivers on pontoon bridges. Only rear guard action was encountered and casualties were extremely light. At one point one of our ambulance drivers came upon an enemy column of artillery and promptly reported this. The column was attacked by our Thunderbolts and decimated. We reached a point near Cambrai and the Corps mission was changed. We then headed due east, CCR of the division capturing Sedan and CCA crossed the Meuse, near Douzy under heavy fire. The night of September 6th the combat command bridgehead received a heavy counter attack and suffered about 30 casualties. On the 9th of September the company was in three countries. We entered Belgium near Virton and by night fall were across the border of Luxembourg, near Althus. The following day the city of Luxembourg was liberated after a stiff fight with moderate casualties resulting. The following day other units of the division crossed into Germany and CCA had the mission of guarding the city of Luxembourg and the entire border of the Duchy from Remich to Echternach. During this period the enemy patrols were very active near Junglinster about the 16th of September. A small enemy patrol reached our bivouac area and was dispersed by combat elements. Although our bivouac area was in the line of fire no casualties occurred. Shortly before the month ended we moved to Consthum, Luxembourg to guard the northern portion of Luxembourg. During the month of September, total casualties of the combat command were extremely light and “A” Company had none. The total casualties treated during the month were 339. Evacuation was made to the 45th Field Hospital and the 67th Field Hospital.
Company “B”, 75th Medical Battalion Armored, continued to give medical support to CCB, 5th Armored Division through the month of September. On September 1st, the company moved in two columns thru the Compiegne Forest across engineer bridge at Compiegne to reach Passel at midnight, traveling 32 miles, the majority in blackout. The following morning, the company left on longest single advance of the campaign, 95 miles to reach Conde at 2330. On September 3, the company reformed and bivouaced on the Belgium border. At the time, there were many German wounded, mostly from snipers and German columns trying to escape from France. Sgt. Henri Gauthier crawled thru sniper fire to give aid to a French woman. On September 4th the company marched 90 miles thru friendly territory to vicinity of Rocquigny, and the next day marched 25 miles to Singly. On September 8th and 9th we moved to Douzy and Musson, Belgium, a total of 55 miles with no
special casualties. On September 10th and 11th, we moved from Musson to Lintgen and Flebour in
Luxembourg, another 55 miles, with mission of patroling German border. For four days, the company remained stationary and treated few casualties. On September 16th, we moved thru Diekrich across the Our river into
Wallendorf, Germany at 1950. We bivouaced north-east of town for night and on the 17th moved to Hommerdingen, only to move back to original area because of change in mission. That day and night and following day were quiet except for screaming mimmies over area at night. Casualties were light. On September 19th, enemy artillery fire landed directly in company area killing T/5 Valdy Davis. The company moved hurriedly several hundred yards to the north, and were rapidly receiving numerous patients. Because of German counter-attacks, all the company except one surgical section and 12 men, moved back across the Our river to Reisdorf where it was again shelled after giving position over CW radio. The company moved two miles further, gave position and was again shelled. It finally moved out of artillery range in vicinity of Diekrich. The following morning it was learned that the Division SOI had been compromised. During shelling during the day, a liason plane dropped a message to send help to an anti-aircraft battery, which was done. The strange movements of the plane and its relation to repeated artillery barrages caused suspicion, and later the plane was brought down and found to have a Nazi pilot. On the 20th, the company moved back to Reisdorf only to be shelled once more, whereupon it moved closer to Diekrich. Casualties were highest of campaign, totaling over 160 for the day. The section remaining in Germany was under constant mortar and artillery fire. Several ambulance drivers distinguished themselves by acts of gallantry in evacuating patients. Privates Znoj, Anderson, and Sandoval entered a burning home in Niedersgegen in face of enemy small arms fire to give aid to and to evacuate two wounded American soldiers. T/5 Wells and T/5 Scruton crawled in the face of enemy fire to evacuate wounded near Wallendorf. At the time, German counter-attacks continued and CCR, elements of 112th Infantry and one of CCB’s task forces withdrew across the Our river leaving only a skeleton force in Germany holding the bridge-head. On September 21st, the enemy blew the bridges at Wallendorf and mined the approaches, cutting off evacuation completely. Artillery fire continued to be heavy late in the afternoon. The 47th Infantry Battalion Armored crossed the river on foot to cover withdrawal of CCB. P-38’s and P-47’s gave excellent support in holding off German counter-attacks. Five armored half-tracks were obtained from service elements and approximately 30 patients were evacuated in face of continued fire at bridge. Three of the half-tracks had to turn back and wait for a whole column. Ambulances from aid stations, a truck from “B” Company, 22 Engineers, peeps [Yes, Jeeps were called “peeps”], and other half-tracks were all loaded above capacity with wounded men after dark during artillery fire. There was no room to evacuate five wounded Germans, who were put in fox holes and marked with Geneva Red Cross flags. The company moved with the combat command under strict blackout across ford at Wallendorf. There was slight mortar and machine gun fire on the column, but all withdrew safely in the early hours of 22nd of September. All wounded were then cleared, company reformed a bivouaced at Stegen, Luxembourg. The company remained at Stegen until the end of the month in semi rest period with only a few casualties from patrols along the border. The total casualties for the month were 649. Evacuation was made to the 42nd Field Hospital, 45th Field Hospital and the 67th Evacuation Hospital.
Company “C”, continued to give medical support to CCR through the month of September. On the 1st day of the month we headed through the forest of Compiegne handling a tremendous number of German casualties, all evacuations being performed while enroute under most difficult conditions. On the 2nd, while by-passing St Quentin which was in German hands, the trains, in whose column we were marching, got on the wrong road and very nearly entered the town, the error being discovered about 100 yards outside the town. A distance of 75 miles was covered before arriving at Avesnes on the 3rd. Here Captain Allington in an ambulance picked up a wounded officer about 8 miles away during the hours of darkness and under sniper fire. On the 5th a long march of 84 miles was made arriving at St Laurent the 6th. At Charleville, ambulance drivers Jones and O’Sadnick voluntarily helped the 47th Medical Detachment in carrying litter patients across the Meuse river. On the 10th the company was bivouaced in Cruchten, Belgium and moved the next day to Stegen,
Luxembourg. On September 15th we entered Germany with combat elements who were, according to press
reports, the first to cross the Siegfried Line. Here we were warmly received by Hitlerites being under continual artillery fire and “screaming meemies”. In a 24 hour period covering the 18th and 19th we handled 192 patients. On the 19th, ten men volunteered to assist company aid men of the 112th Infantry Regiment in clearing patients from the battlefield. On the 19th we left Germany to head back for Luxembourg, after escape routes had been cut off several times during the day. No army ambulance evacuation to the rear was possible during the day, necessitating the carrying of 65 patients, utilizing every available transportation, some of which was borrowed. T/5 Creaden was seriously wounded by enemy artillery in Germany and died the following day. Several others were wounded during this action and subsequently were evacuated. September 20th, Corporal Wood went back into Germany, voluntarily rescued a wounded American from a ledge which was under enemy small arms and mortar fire, and was subsequently awarded the Silver Star for this deed. On the 25th the company bivouaced in Ettelbruck in a semi rest period where it was located at the end of the month. The total number of casualties treated during the month were 1004. Evacuation was made to the 42nd, 45th, 13th, and 67th Field Hospitals.
GORDON B. CAREY