Monday, March 02, 2015

Following the 10h Armored (19): Ending February

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.

In the chaos of the Battle of the Bulge, no end-of-month After Action Reports were filed for either December 1944 or January 1945. They resumed with February.

After Action Report
80th Medical Battalion
10th Armored Division
1 Feb – 28 Feb 1945

There were 32 officers and 363 enlisted men. During the month none of the battalion was killed and three were wounded. Nineteen reinforcements were assigned.

At all three clearing stations of the battalion in February 1945 there were:

1734 admissions
326 were returned to duty
11 died in the stations
1342 were transferred and
59 remained in station on 28 Feb

It should be noted as we have said in previous posts that most of February was quiet as the 10th Armored was waiting for the attack on the Saar-Moselle Triangle to resume. Of the admissions listed above 1020 of them (59%) were between 23 Feb and 28 Feb after the action resumed. 90% of the admissions were transferred. The deaths all occurred after 20 Feb.

The report stated that the medical evacuation channels functioned effectively during the month of February.

A couple recommendation notes were added:

1) The recommendation is repeated that closer planning between the Operations Section and the medical Department should be effected so that adequate medical support can be given the division during an operation rather than “in the dark" or "on the spot" medical support.

2) That wheel ambulances be either replaced by properly equipped half-track ambulances in medical detachments; or that such armored ambulances be added to all infantry and tank medical detachments. The operation of wheel ambulances is both dangerous and expensive.

Fredrick D. Loomis
Captain, MAC.,
Battalion S-3

Fighting FOR The Tigers
Here, from The Last Offensive, is what also was happening at the end of the month behind the scenes.
While the events were taking place beyond the Saar, General Patton had been fighting a rear guard action against return of the 10th Armored Division to the SHAEF reserve. Eisenhower, seeking to prevent another Bulge-type problem due to lack of coordination had been insisting on more control. On 23 February all Patton could achieve was a 48-hour respite. When that period expired, he pleaded with the 12th Army Group commander, General Bradley, for help. Bradley himself took responsibility for letting Patton use the armor until nightfall of 27 February for the express purpose of taking Trier.

[By nightfall on the 27th] Trier still lay some six miles away and the appointed hour for release of the 10th Armored Division had come, General Patton again had to appeal to General Bradley for continued use of the armor until Trier fell. Having had no word from SHAEF on keeping the division, Bradley told him to keep going until higher authority ordered a halt. And, the 12th Army Group commander added, he would make it a point to stay away from the telephone.
All would continue as they were.

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