5th Armored Division, (75-AMB)(Medic) Battle of the Bulge

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75-AMB-001-Illus

Prior to the start of the German counter offensive in Belgium, the 75-AMB (Armored Medical Battalion) was located in Luxembourg. On Oct 1 1944, Hq and Hq Co, were located in Ettelbruck (LU). Only one move was made throughout the month, a march of 70 miles to Waimes (BE) on Oct 3. Due to the lull in fighting of the division, most of it was in Army Reserve during the month, a training program was carried on throughout the month. Battalion and Medical Supply worked to bring up supplies to their original T/E strength. On Oct 21, flying bombs started coming over the area and continued the rest of the month. Casualties treated by the treatment section were 629. Evacuation was made to the 107th Evacuation Hospital, 44th Evacuation Hospital, and 42nd Field Hospital.


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A Company
Shortly after the first of the month, the combat command moved to the vicinity of Butgenbach (BE). We were tactically inactive there. The combat command developed a large number of respiratory cases. In order to keep the health of the command at a high level, in the face of changing weather, we began to operate a respiratory center. This prevented unnecessary evacuation and contributed materially to the health of the command. About October 12, the combat command moved to the vicinity of Heerlen (NL), in order to act as mobile Army Reserve in the area of the XIXth Corps, however we remained in reserve until October 25 without being committed. On October 26, we returned to the V Corps area, in the vicinity of Schoppen (BE). The combat command suffered no combat casualties during the month of October. The total number of casualties treated during the month were 335. Evacuation was made to the 67th Evacuation Hospital, 44th Evacuation Hospital, and 91st Evacuation Hospital.

B Company
Still in support of CCB, 5-AD, was at Stegen (Colmar-Berg)(LU) on Oct 1. While returning from evacuation hospital, S/Sgt Morris of the 587th Collecting Company attached to B Co for evacuation, was killed when the ambulance hit 4 Teller mines on main road north from Diekirch (LU) in the vicinity of Hoscheid (LU). Ambulance was completely destroyed, but other occupant was unharmed. On Oct 4, the company left Stegen and traveled 6 miles to Mosdorf (LU) leaving again the following morning to march 75 miles to Waimes. From Oct 5 to Oct 14, the company remained in the same vicinity on a rest period as CCB was not in contact. On Oct 15, the company left at 1600 and marched approximately 35 miles to Forstbach (GER), the last 6 hours of the march being blackout. Due to bad weather, vehicles ahead were bogged down and the company had to bivouac in driveways in town. The next morning, Oct 16, the company moved north of Forstbach where it remained until Oct 28. During this period, CCB was in mobile Army Reserve in the area of the VII Corps. On Oct 19, 150-MM German shells were landing all around the company, about 30% were duds. No casualties were suffered. Most every night German reconnaissance planes came over the area and two flying bombs were reported. On the 24, a British bomber was shot down and crashed ½ mile from our area. More enemy shells passed over the area. On the 28, the company moved via Eupen (BE) and Malmedy (BE) to the vicinity of Faymonville (BE) for a rest period and remained there until the end of the month. Approximately 10 flying bombs per day passed over or by during the three day stay. The company was given the responsibility for handling civilian medical cases in Faymonville, which included a minor outbreak of diphtheria. Capt Jewett and Capt Glick examined the entire population of the town, isolating the inhabitants of three households, and giving them temporary immunization. There were no cases of diphtheria among the troops. The total number of casualties treated during the month were 130. Evacuation was made to the 2nd Evacuation Hospital, 44th Evacuation Hospital, and 67th Evacuation Hospital.

C Company
Still in support of CCR was at Ettelbruck (LU) on Oct 1. On the 3, a march of 77 miles brought the company in the area of Schoppen (BE). For the next 8 days CCR remained in a rest period. On the 12, CCR moved north to protect the left flank of the Corps. The company marched 10 miles in the vicinity of Butgenbach and a week later moved to Elsenborn (BE). Flying bombs were sighted at this time. During the ensuing week Elsenborn was shelled twice by enemy artillery however there were no casualties in the company. On the 28 we moved to Sourbrodt (BE) where we remained the rest of the month. Here many more flying bombs passed over the area. The total number of casualties treated during the month were 323. Evacuation was made to the 67th Evacuation Hospital and the 44th Evacuation Hospital.

December 1944
On Dec 1 1944, Hq & Hq Co was located in Waimes. On Dec 11, the company marched to Venwegen (GER), a distance of 39 Miles. During the night of Dec 16 to 17 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 Fallschirmjäger (Paratroopers) however none were found. On Dec 27, the company moved back to Pepinster (BE), as the Division was placed in mobile Army Reserve to be prepared to work with the 1st or with 9th Armies. Training programs were discontinued during the month. Division Medical Supply and battalion maintenance functioned normally supporting the lettered companies.

West-Wall-001

The beginning of Dec 1944 found A Co in Roetgen (GER), where they were operating both a dispensary and convalescent home for CCA (5-AD). On Dec 2, one treatment section moved forward to Vicht (GER) 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 (GER). 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 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 (GER) and the rest at Roetgen (GER) were strafed on several different occasions. Through all these activities, no casualties to organic personnel were incurred. About Dec 8, we were returned to Divisional control under the VII Corps and retired with the combat command to the vicinity of Hahn and Walheim (GER). About Dec 13, the combat command was again ordered to the Huertgen Forest area to act with the 83rd Infantry 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 Dec 18, T/4 Walter Smolski liaison 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 1944. During the second phase of the Huertgen Forest action the main clearing station again functioned at Vicht with a forward clearing and emergency station located at Schevenhutte (GER). Both these areas were heavily strafed and bombed several times. On Dec 24, the company closed in bivouac in the vicinity of Baelen sur Vesdre (BE) 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 Dec 1944, B Co continued to support CCB (5AD).

From Dec 1-10, the company was in Corps Reserve at Mospert (BE). There were few casualties during this period as the command was not in contact. On Dec 3, 3 ME 109’s passed directly over the area without firing a shot. On Dec 10, the Company moved 18 miles to Zweifall (GER) to support line elements on line at edge of Huertgen Forest. At 1630, enemy planes overhead dropped bombs in the 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 Dec 12, 12 men of the company were sent to the front to act as aid men and litter bearers. After Dec 14, casualties were less in number and aid men returned to the company. Several enemy planes were seen over on Dec 16 but did no damage to the company. On Dec 24, the company left Zweifall at 1500 and moved to vicinity of Baelen sur Vesdre, 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 Dec 31 1944.

On Dec 1, C Company was rendering medical support to CCR (5AD), which was fighting on the edge of the Huertgen Forest. A forward treatment section was set up in the vicinity of Mularschutte (GER), while the balance of the company remained in Kettenis (BE). On Dec 2, the forward section moved deeper into the Huertgen 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 Dec 3, 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 Dec 8, casualties were heavy.

On Dec 6, Flam, Kabasinsky, and Atkins returned from the 47th and were replaced by Fred Smith and Steinberg. On Dec 8, CCR was taken out of action. The forward section remained in Mularschutte to help evacuate the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the 28th Infantry Division. Smith and Steinberg returned to the company that day. On Dec 9, the forward treatment section rejoined the company at Kettenis. On the 13, the company moved to Astenet (BE), taking over one wing of a convent. An 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 Dec 14, CCR was put on alert status and a surgical section moved to Roetgen (GER) in preparation for any future action. On Dec 15, Roetgen was shelled for 3 hours. On Dec 17 bombing and strafing was frequent during the day and night, enemy paratroopers (von Der Heydte) landed in the area. On Dec 19, CCR returned to VII Corps with the rest of the division. On Dec 21, CCR reverted to the V Corps and the forward section returned from Roetgen. 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
Capt., MAC
S – 3


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