MEDICAL DETACHMENT, 112TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
APO 28 , U. S. ARMY
11 November 1944
SUBJECT: Report on Medical Evacuation.
TO: Division Surgeon, 28th Div., APO 28, U. S Army.
1. The following is a Medical Report of the 3rd (Blue) Bn., 112th Inf. from 3 November 1944 to 1730, 9 November 1944. This is an eye-witness report of the undersigned, Alfred J. Muglia, xxxxxxxx, 2nd. Lt. MAC, 3rd Bn. Surgeons Asst. Map coordinates used below refer to Sheet 5304, Nideggen, Germany, scale l/25000.
2. On the morning of 3 Nov. 1944 the Blue Aid Station was located at 018334. We were informed that Co’s K & L had passed Vossenack. With S/Sgt. Lester Repine, Cpl. Victor Machinski, two litter squads, and attached weasel driver, I established a forward aid station at the church in Vossenack (038326 ). Despite heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire, evacuation was excellent. Two jeeps and a weasel were used to shuttle patients from our forward aid station to the rear aid station where our ambulance loading point and been established.
3. On the afternoon of 3 November 1944 with Pfc John Jones attached weasel driver from 229th FA and Blue Trans. Officer, I entered the woods on the MSR at 045317. We drove out 200 yds on the MSR. Because of the narrowness of the road, the weasel jumped its tracks. Several patients had already accumulated. I gave first aid to two. Pfc. Jones and I placed them in a defiladed position. Enemy artillery here was heavy. I returned on foot with the Trans. officer to our forward aid station, got a litter squad and a jeep and returned for the patients. I told the litter squad to dig in at the edge of the woods. All the known patients were evacuated that night. After nightfall about 20 casualties occurred around Vossenack. They were evacuated by midnight. I returned to our rear aid station.
4. At 0500, 4 November 1944 Tec 3 John N. Shedio on duty at Blue aid station(rear)entered the dugout in which the Blue Surgeon, Capt. Michael DeMarco, MC was asleep. He said that he had received a phone call from Blue Trans. officer stating that the Blue CO wanted the Medics to move to the town of Schmidt. After evacuating all casualties we moved all our aid station equipment and personnel to the church at Vossenack. The Blue Surgeon with a minimum of personnel remained at the church. Tec 3 Shedio and I took the remainder of personnel and equipment to the point at the edge of the woods where we had left one litter squad. We immediately dispatched all litter squads to comb the area for casualties. Tec 3Shedio and I made a reconnaissance of the area to find a location for our new aid station site. We decided on 046316. Here was a log cabin dug-out approximately 12` x 18` x 8`. The entire cabin was dug in with the exception of the front which was partially barricaded by rocks. The roof was constructed of two layers of logs about 12 inches in diameter. It afforded good protection from everything save a direct hit. I contacted Capt. DeMarco who was evacuating new casualties caused by continuing enemy artillery fire on Vossenack. All communications were out. We used runners. When Capt. DeMarco arrived, some engineers were still in our cabin dugout using it for shelter. We immediately informed them that [we] were using it for an aid station, asked them to leave with all arms. We hung a red cross panel in the most conspicuous place. Immediately more patients began accruing from enemy artillery. Tanks were
SOURCE: National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 407, Records of The Adjutant General, U.S. Army, Combat Interviews (CI-76), 28th Infantry Division, Hürtgen Forest Campaign, Box 24032.
beginning to use our MSR. It was wet and narrow and their progress was slow. We established our new ambulance loading post at the edge of the woods (054308) [coordinates are incorrect, probably 045318-ed.]. Tanks were stuck along the route and blocked the narrow and slippery MSR the only available route.
5. About 0900, 5 November 1944, we were informed that the road was partially clear. I loaded two litter squads on a jeep driven by Tec 3 Carr and started to help the Red aid station. The road was winding, muddy and narrow the entire route. At the edge of the woods about 900 yds. from the Red aid station the road was again blocked by tanks. I told my litter squads to dismount and follow us with two litters from the edge of the woods to the Red aid station was an open field about 800 yards. I told my litter bearers to keep a 5 yard interval and keep following me. When we were about 300 yds. from the Red aid station an enemy artillery shell hit the center of our squad killing Pfc Switzer and injuring all others. The injured again made a dash for the Red aid station. Here I found two American tanks and mortars on each side of the aid station firing at the enemy. A few minutes later two Blue medical jeeps arrived, also the Blue Chaplains jeep driven by his assistant Tec 5 Owensby, and a Red medical weasel. That afternoon, under heavy enemy artillery fire, the three jeeps and the weasel shuttled patients from the Red Aid station to the Blue. Artillery shells continued to fall near the wounded in the aid station. I witnessed two direct hits which further injured some of the [wounded?] and killed one Red Medic. Capt. Wickens, MC was seriously injured there. Capt Linguiti, MC, Redsurgeon,2nd Lt. Morrison, MAC, Chaplain Madden, Red Chaplain and the undersigned were the officers present at the Red aid station. I returned to the Blue aid station about 1830 with a jeep load of patients. The remaining officers arrived about an hour later. When I left all the known patients were evacuated from the Red aid station to the Blue. Now the Blue aid station became the Blue-Red aid station. The old Red aid station was designated as a forward collecting point at Kommerscheidt. Pfc. Putney came running into the aid station stating the Germans had stopped him with a load of walking wounded. He could not understand them. They made him carry a German wounded at the point of a gun(all German medics we saw carry pistols) (Luger and P 38) and then released him.
6. About 0200, 6 November 1944 a knock was heard at the door of the now combined Blue-Red aid station. The knocker identified himself as German private. Pfc. Joseph Cally, Blue medical clerk spoke German with the German private. Result of conversation according to Pvt Cally was that we were German prisoners. The German Pvt. called another enemy soldier who identified himself as a Tech Sgt.in charge of the group. He asked if we had any arms. Pvt. Cally answered that we had no arms that we were American medical men taking care of wounded. He then asked if we had rations. Pvt Cally replied that we enough for one day. The Germannoncom then said he would bring us rations and some German medics. He further ordered us to remain there. A German guard was left at our door. We found an American .45 pistol on one of our patients and gave it to the enemy guard. At daybreak the German guard had left. Enemy soldiers could be seen from our aid station patrolling the woods that faced our dugout cabin. On a hill to the rear of our aid station were a company of engineers (1340th >Eng.).They fought with the Germans the previous night. Many of our patients came from this company. Evacuations for the day was [were] blocked.
7. On November 7th, we treated casualties from 109th, 110th and 112th Regts.,Co. A and C of l340th Engrs, 893TD Bn. and 707 Tank Bn. The patients stated that they were told that our aid station was the only means of receiving medical care in the vicinity. They also stated that they heard rumors that we had many ambulances to take them to the rear. That day
several groups of walking wounded were led to the rear guided by our enlisted medics who carried large Red Crosses. During that day 3 Germans surrendered to us at the aid station. I disarmed them, called a rifleman from the hill behind us. The rifleman took the prisoners away. We told the rifleman that our evacuation was being blocked by Germans and to tell the CO to try to clear the hill of the enemy. We further warned them to keep away from the aid station. That night Lt. Johnson arrived at the Aid station. He told Lt. Morrison he had 2 weasels. Our boys carried enough patients to load 2 weasels. Upon their return I learned only one weasel load and a trailer got back with patients and one litter patient had to come back. The road was still blocked by three knocked out tanks and enemy mines. It was almost dusk. End of evacuation for the day. Sgt. Repine, our section Sgt., and two Red enlisted medics disappeared that day.
8. On November 8th, 1944 we sent two large groups of walking wounded to rear guided by our enlisted medics. One of the guides, Pvt. Passalacqua killed by shell fragments. Another was wounded. The guides reported that one or two of the patients from every group of walking wounded we sent to the rear were killed en route by shell fragments or snipers. No litter patients were evacuated. That night about 40 more walking wounded arrived at our aid station. We gave them no medical attention but guided them to the rear as we had done with previous groups. The walking informed us that approximately 40 casualties on makeshift litters were en route to our aid station from the area around Kommerscheidt. They were hauled by 160 infantrymen. Some of these Infantrymen had rifles; some were unarmed. These men informed us that they were guided to our aid station by a German patrol which guarded the bridge on the MSR about 200 yds. below our aid station. Our aid station [was] already packed with litter patients, we placed the new patients on the road by the aid station with guards holding Red Cross flags. It was raining and cold. We took all available blankets from the patients and personnel in Aid station and tried our best to cover the patients. One of the litter patients was 2nd Lt. Reed, MAC, Med. Det., 110th Inf. He informed us that all the known patients were on the litter train. We retained several of the infantry litter bearers and told them they were medics for the time being. We advised the rest to join the American troops behind us. We suggested they infiltrate in small groups. Later that night General Davis and another officer entered our aid station. Capt. DeMarco pleaded our situation. General Davis read a message he had with him. General Davis said “thank you” and left.
9. On 9 November 1944 we decided to make a desperate attempt to evacuate the litter patients in the Blue-Red aid station and on the road. Two 6 x 6 trucks were located about 200 yds. uphill from our aid station. These were supposedly left there by kitchen personnel. The German patrol had made a road block by felling several trees across the narrow road. Lt. Morrison contacted the engineers who removed the road block and mines. The road was too slippery to back the trucks to the aid station, so we carried the patients to the trucks, removed them from the litters and packed them on the trucks. We loaded about 19 patients per truck. We also found 5 cans of gasoline. The Germans had already captured all or [our] medical vehicles but one weasel which had several holes in its tank but still serviceable. The weasel was also loaded with patients. About this time Horseshoe Surgeon arrived at the Blue-Red station. He informed us the Blue battalion had withdrawn, that he would contact a German officer in an effort to make a 4 hour trace to evacuate patients, and that we should withdraw after all patients we evacuated. He returned stating that several American tanks blocked the narrow MSR near the entrance but he would make an effort to get out with the
weasel and its load of patients. This he did with Tec 3 Shedio. As the gasoline tank continually leaked, it was necessary for Shedio to pour gasoline into it as they drove along. About 1615 Lt. Johnson arrived with 8 ambulances from Coll. Co. A and C. All personnel acted as litter bearers to unload the two trucks of patients and those in the dugout.
10. About 1400 an enlisted Medic from Med. Det. 110th Inf. informed Capt. DeMarco that there were was a German Captain by the truckloads of patients and wanted to see the Surgeon in charge. I accompanied Capt. DeMarco. We saluted the German Officer and he returned a military salute. About ten other German soldiers were there. Result of the conversation was that we could evacuate the seriously wounded and medical personnel but linemen that were around and all the light wounded would have to be prisoners. I tried to send a runner to the few linemen who had acted as litter bearers to inform them of the situation but was informed that they had already surrendered to the enemy. While the other officers worked on unloading the trucks, Capt. Linguiti, Chaplains Madden and Mainess and I remained at the dugout to guide the evacuation there. We acted as litter bearers for the last patient to arrive at the ambulance post. Part way up the hill we were exhausted. Lt. Johnson then took the front end of the litter and I the rear. As we passed the trucks, I heard someone say that we still had five more patients to be loaded from the trucks. A few feet ahead about a dozen Germans were talking to Capt. DeMarco. The other officers were there too. It was muddy and slippery as I passed them, Lt. Johnson was now the rear litter bearer; another enlisted man and I were front litter bearers. At the top of the hill I slipped. A German soldier took my left hand and pulled until we were on the road. After the litter patient was laoded, a Lieut. whom I was later told was from Coll. Co. C, exclaimed, “Get in there, they want you too.” I soon gathered from the patients that the Germans had changed their minds and did not want the Medical Officers to leave. A man from the last ambulance to leave stated he saw the Germans and our four officers head in the direction of the Blue-Red aid station and that Chaplain Madden had shouted “Come back for us tomorrow.” I stayed at C Co. Coll,103rd Med Bn. that night and learned that all the ambulances had gotten through safely.
ALFRED J. MUGLIA
2nd. Lt. MAC 112th Inf.
3rd Bn. Surgeons Asst.