THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT: MEDICAL SERVICE IN THE EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS. By Graham A. Cosmas and Albert E. Cowdrey. (1992; 652 pages, 9 tables, 12 charts, 6 diagrams, 27 maps, 102 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 10-23.)
This volume tells the story of the U.S. Army medical service in the largest American land campaign of World War II. Primarily an operational and logistical rather than a clinical history, it follows the development of the theater medical service from the beginning of the U.S. Army buildup in Great Britain early in 1942 through the Normandy invasion, the advance across France and the Low Countries, and the overrunning of the Third Reich.
The European theater Chief Surgeon, Maj. Gen. Paul R. Hawley, and his assistants assembled and trained over a quarter million medical personnel; established hospitals containing hundreds of thousands of beds in Great Britain and on the Continent; solved problems of supply; safeguarded troop health; and developed a complex system of air, sea, rail, and ambulance evacuation. In occupied Germany, they encountered and overcame a situation new to American armies: the surrender and imprisonment of a whole enemy army, numbering in the millions; the liberation of other millions of prisoners and displaced persons; and the care of a conquered people who were both industrialized and highly urbanized. In the process, the medical service met the challenges of working with Allies, supporting fast-moving mechanized forces, adapting units and equipment for unanticipated missions, and integrating the latest findings of medical science into a comprehensive system of patient care. This is, however, more than a story of high policy. Also described are the efforts and achievements of frontline aidmen, litterbearers, and ambulance drivers; doctors and nurses in hospitals; and the thousands of other American medical soldiers. Often unsung, usually overworked, and occasionally in mortal danger, they gave effect to abstract plans through countless acts of courage and compassion.
This account chronicles theater medical planning and operations under conditions of modern, high-intensity combat. It also constitutes a case study in the workings of combat service support in wartime and illustrates principles of medical organization that remain timeless. Finally, this account dramatically reaffirms the truth that Army
medicine requires for success in war doctors who are also soldiers, who understand the workings of the other branches of service, and who are able to cooperate effectively with them.
1. The solution of problems of command and control of the medical service and its relations with other combat and support elements (Chs. I, II, III, XIII, XVI, XVII).
2. Forecasting hospital bed requirements and planning and executing new construction to meet them (Chs. I, II, IV, VIII, X, XIV, XVII).
3. Improvisation of new types of hospitals and evacuation units within a theater of operations (Chs. V, VII, IX, X, XI).
4. Operations of field army, corps, and division medical service in a variety of tactical situations (Chs. VI, VII, IX, XI, XII, XV).
5. Procurement and training of medical personnel and medical units in a theater of operations (Chs. II, V, XIII, XVII).
6. Integration of medical and operational planning (Chs. I, II, VI, IX).
7. Theater and field army medical supply (Chs. II, VI, VII, IX, X, XI, XIII, XVII).
8. Development of a theater evacuation policy and evacuation system (Chs. IV, VIII, X, XIV, XVII).
9. Preventive medicine in garrison and during combat operations (Chs. I, V, VII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII).
10. The medical role incivil affairs and disasterreliefinthe aftermath of war(Chs. XVI, XVII).
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