11 January, 2012

11 January 1945

No letter today. Just this:

The following photographs were taken by Greg and labeled only "January 1945" "Ardennes" or "Belgium." With dates unspecified, they are shown here.

[Be sure to CLICK on each photo to enlarge it.]

Greg and his Driver in the Ardennes
Belgium - January 1945

Aid Station in Abandoned House (Notice "WILMA TOO" on Jeep)
Belgium - January 1945

Village in the Ardennes
Belgium - January 1945

Battle was Going On on the Other Side of the Hill
Yup - That's a Foxhole!
Belgium - January 1945

Note Shrapnel Marks on Houses Following German Shelling
Belgium - January 1945

Stayed in this Town Several Days
Belgium - January 1945


about Medics in the Bulge
Part 2

The following information is excerpted from a page posted by the Belgium-based "Center of Research and Information about the Battle of the Ardennes (C.R.I.B.A.)" concerning "Medics in the Bulge," by Ralph Storm. The photos are from various places on the internet.
During medical training

During medical training, army medics received training in the use of the carbine and .45 pistol since some medics went to the Pacific war in which the Japanese had not signed the Geneva convention. Although medics in the ETO were not armed, many medics carried pistols for self protection. Donald Ratliff, recalled how his 75th Division medics once captured a German in Vielsalm, Belgium:
One night in Vielsalm, Belgium, we went into a house to set up a battalion aid station. One of the men opened a closet door and a German soldier was sitting on the floor. He quickly surrendered when one of the men showed a .45 pistol.

517th PIR 3rd Battalion CP (left) and Aid Station (right)
Manhay, Belgium - January 1945

For the most part the Germans respected the rules of land warfare and did not shoot at combat medics while they did their first aid work and litter bearing in the forward areas.

Medic Transports Wounded Soldier

Medic Philip Hahn of the Medical Detachment, 13th Field Artillery observation recalled an extraordinary situation in which his German cousin in a German field artillery position observed an American army aid station near Walheim, Germany:
The last towns we were in before the Bulge were small towns near Aachen. One was Walheim. After the war I visited my cousin who was a Lt. In the German Field Artillery. In looking over his records I saw the name of Walheim. He said that he had the crossroads zeroed in… He knew exactly what farmhouse we had for an aid-station because of the Red-Cross hanging from a window and that there were probably German civilians living there.
There were many exceptions to the above incident. Peter Couvillion served as an evacuation Jeep driver with the 9th Armored Division in Luxembourg, and recalled one of these exceptions:
On the second day (of the Bulge) after all our line companies had been surrounded, we attempted to contact "C" Company. In route we encountered a battle line of Germans. They did not shoot at us. On this mission we evacuated 16 wounded and left the slightly wounded behind… Early that morning my assistant and I contacted our "B" Company. We found the Company Medic. Leading us to where he had some wounded, a sniper shot both the Company Medic and my assistant. Both died before I could get to them. Men from the platoon found the sniper and shot him.
During the early days of the Bulge

During the early days of the Bulge when German mechanized units broke through American lines at a number of place, some medical units were captured and sent into Germany as prisoners. Emil Keith Natalle of the 326th Airborne Medical Company of the 101st Airborne Division's Combat Surgical Hospital, was located at the Sprimont crossroads, southwest of Bastogne on December 19, 1944. On this "Day 4" of the Bulge and again during the night, the area was attacked by troops of the 116th Panzer Grenadiers. A number of medical vehicles carrying wounded were set afire:
Blood curdling screams were heard coming from the burning vehicles... The German officer told Capt. Van Gorder to select a soldier and go with one German soldier to the burning vehicles and try to rescue the trapped men… The German soldier (and Natalle) could not get closer than 50 yards from the blazing vehicles. Both soldiers returned to the officers…(Later this writer was assigned to drive one of the 2½ ton, 4x4 trucks carrying wounded. So with a German soldier beside me we pulled away from the site of capture, headed toward Germany and fearful of what lay ahead… It would take 12 days before some of us arrived at our first German prisoner of war camp - Stalag IV-B near Hulhberg.

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