595th Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate)Unit History

Fort Ord, Monterey, California, where the 595th Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate) was activated 15 September 1943. Left: Large formation on the parade grounds, with troops marching and band ready. Right: Enlisted Men’s bivouac area.

Fort Ord, Monterey, California, where the 595th Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate) was activated 15 September 1943. Left: Large formation on the parade grounds, with troops marching and band ready. Right: Enlisted Men’s bivouac area.

Introduction & Activation:

The 595th Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate), was originally Company C, 430th Medical Battalion, stationed at Fort Ord, Monterey, California, ZI (Landing Vehicle Board and Army Ground Forces Training Area; acreage 28,690; troop capacity 1,852 Officers and 51,253 Enlisted Men –ed) activated on 20 May 1943 (as Company C), and eventually reactivated and redesignated 595th Ambulance Company, Motor, on 15 September 1943, per General Order # 82, Headquarters, II Armored Corps, San José, California, dated 3 September 1943. On 6 September 1943, the unit was assigned to the 430th Medical Battalion, Separate, per General Order # 84, II Armored Corps (this Battalion would later be attached to the 1st Medical Group serving in the ETO –ed).

Training:

Basic training began on 7 July 1943, and continued through 18 October 1943. Subjects stressed were first aid – field sanitation – emergency medical treatment – chemical warfare – map and compass reading – aircraft recognition – motor stables – and physical condition and fitness. Proper function of a medical unit under battlefield conditions was highly underlined, knowing that soon the Company would be destined for overseas duty. The training given in emergency medical treatment was recognized to be of a too technical nature to be of much use to ambulance drivers, so it was decided to spend more time in studying engines and their repair. During the service period and the course of the training, the Enlisted Men had indeed been called upon to perform very few minor forms of medical treatments.

The training program for truck drivers (MOS 245) consisted of a grand total of 176 hours subdivided as follows:

  • Basic program: 16 hours, including such topics as – dismounted drill – physical training – and inspections.
  • Technical program: 144 hours, including specific vehicle-related topics such as – starting engine – shifting gears – driving – braking – traffic rules – safe driving – lubrication – care of vehicle – trouble shooting – and convoy operation.
  • Open time: 16 extra hours.

The men passed their individual basic training tests with an average score of 94.6%, and continued into unit training. During unit training practical use was made of the knowledge and skills obtained during basic training. Simulated exercises and employment of the Company to clear Evacuation Hospitals, Clearing Stations, and occasionally Collecting Stations of their casualties under mock battle conditions, were concentrated upon. During this particular phase, map reading, chemical warfare, and emergency medical treatment were focused. The Ambulance Company went on field bivouac from Monday through Friday of each week to allow the various Sections to function properly under field conditions.
The three Ambulance Platoons evacuated simulated Clearing Stations patients working as long as 48 hours at a stretch, without stopping for rest, and operating over poorly marked roads in total black-out conditions necessitating a well-grounded knowledge of map reading.

The vehicle driver (or motor vehicle operator) provided first echelon maintenance (with some help from the assistant driver). This covered simple operations entrusted to the skills of the average driver using tools and supplies available on the vehicle. Such operations included inspection, servicing (replenishment of gas, oil, water, antifreeze, and air), cleaning, lubrication, and basic operations covering tightening or replacement of nuts, bolts, screws, and studs, as well as preparation of the vehicle for maintenance operations and for command and technical inspections. The driver furthermore had to keep trip tickets and file an accident report whenever involved in such incident.

Organization:

Medical Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate) T/O & E 8-317, Change 1, dated 20 May 1943
(designed for attachment to Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment, Medical Group or Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment, Medical Battalion, or Army, or Corps)
(composed of 1 Company Headquarters and 3 identical Ambulance Platoons)

Personnel
4 Officers
89 Enlisted Men

Vehicles
4 Truck, ¼-Ton
1 Truck, ¾-Ton Weapons Carrier
1 Truck, 2½-Ton Cargo
30 Ambulance, ¾-Ton
1 Trailer, 1-Ton, Cargo

The Ambulance Company was commanded by a Captain (the XO was a First Lieutenant), while each of the 3 Ambulance Platoons was headed by a Second Lieutenant. The unit’s Enlisted cadre consisted of 12 people. An ambulance crew consisted of 2 men; one the driver, and the other the ambulance orderly or co-driver. The driver was responsible for the vehicle at all times, and performed first echelon maintenance. The ambulance orderly acted as the assistant driver, prepared the ambulance for loading and unloading, and for departure (after loading and unloading), and rendered necessary emergency treatment to patients being transferred.

The standard workhorse used by the 595th Motor Ambulance Company at the time was the Ambulance, ¾-ton, 4 x 4, WC 54, manufactured by Dodge Brothers Corp., a Division of the Chrysler Corporation. The vehicle’s major role was to transport sick and wounded personnel. The ambulance was provided with berths for 4 litter patients or could carry up to 8 sitting patients. Its main disadvantage was the lack of space for nursing litter patients while traveling.
When necessary, depending on circumstances, many common military vehicles could be converted into patient carriers with little or no structural change. In certain combat areas, ambulances were either unavailable or too few in numbers, or just incapable of evacuating certain regions due to the tactical situation or terrain difficulties. In such cases it sometimes became necessary to utilize whatever vehicles were available to transport the wounded. Since ¼-ton trucks (aka jeeps) and trailers were standard Army equipment and widely available, they could easily be adapted for carrying casualties. Other vehicles were equally used or converted for transportation of the wounded. Among the vehicles, likely to be adapted for use as a patient carrier, were the ¾-ton weapons carrier; the 1½-ton cargo or personnel truck; the 2½-ton cargo truck; the half-track; the 2½-ton amphibian truck; and quite a number of miscellaneous landing craft, in case of transportation by water.

Interesting copy of original Chart No. 174 “Arrangement of Clearing Station”, as illustrated in the “Intructors’ Guide for Medical Department Mobilization Training 8-101”, dated 8 November 1943, published by the “Medical Field Service School”, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, January 1944.

Interesting copy of original Chart No. 174 “Arrangement of Clearing Station”, as illustrated in the “Instructors’ Guide for Medical Department Mobilization Training Program 8-101”, dated 8 November 1943, published by the “Medical Field Service School”, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, January 1944.

Preparation for Overseas Movement:

After achieving the final phase of the training program which consisted of preventive maintenance of vehicles, map study and reading, setting up a bivouac, night and black-out driving, sanitation, and principles of camouflage, training was considered complete. The organization eventually reached authorized strength as per T/O & E, with unit staff and personnel all being processed in view of future movement overseas.

On 28 January 1944, the 595th Ambulance Company, Motor, left Fort Ord, California by rail enroute for Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts. After processing of the Company administration, personnel records, clothing and equipment, the Company boarded USAT “James Parker” (AP-46) in the Boston Port of Embarkation on 11 February. The following morning, 12 February 1944, she left port with destination the United Kingdom, where the Company was to get further prepared for operation on the continent. Traveling aboard the same vessel was the Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment, 168th Medical Battalion.

United Kingdom:

Following an uneventful Atlantic crossing, the “James Parker” arrived at Bristol port, Avonmouth, Bristol, England, on 23 February 1944. After debarking on 24 February, the unit’s journey continued by rail, with the organization detraining at Whitchurch, Cheshire, England, and entrucking for Hankelow Court, Cheshire, where the necessary billeting was waiting near Audlem, Cheshire County.

While following further training, instructions, lectures, and garrison duties, the Company was first assigned to the European Theater of Operations; at first attached to VIII Corps, and eventually attached to the 173d Medical Battalion, per Troop Assignment Order # 25, dated 22 February 1944. After training a whole month with these assignments, the Company was relieved and now assigned to General George S. Patton’s Third United States Army. It was to remain under Army control until 5 May 1944, after which it was assigned to XX Corps and attached to the 168th Medical Battalion (this Battalion, activated 10 September 1943 in the ZI, moved to its new station at Wootton Bassett, where the following medical units were attached: 439th Medical Collecting Company – 461st Medical Collecting Company – 573d Motor Ambulance Company – 584th Motor Ambulance Company – 585th Motor Ambulance Company – 586th Motor Ambulance Company – 595th Motor Ambulance Company – 614th Medical Clearing Company). As from 11 May 1944, the 595th Ambulance Company, Motor, was relieved and attached to the 174th Medical Battalion, while the 168th Medical Battalion was transferred to Exeter, Devon, for staging the D-Day operations.

During their stay in England, Company personnel continued unit training on a large scale in preparation for overseas movement to France. Subjects concentrated upon most were land mines, booby traps, chemical warfare, map reading, black-out driving, vehicle waterproofing, and physical conditioning. Practical evacuation of casualties was carried out by evacuating Hospital Trains to numbered General Hospitals stationed over the area. At various times, during their stay in England, ambulance drivers and vehicles were often placed on temporary duty with Dispensaries serving Battalions and Regiments, and here again, the Enlisted Technicians had ample opportunity to handle real casualties!
After receiving adequate supplies and appropriate training, the unit was alerted for overseas duty and left Hankelow Court on 12 July 1944 enroute to its marshaling area at Pinkley Park, Wiltshire, England.

Somewhere in France 1944. First aid being applied to a wounded GI in the field, prior to evacuation.

Somewhere in France 1944. First aid is being applied to a wounded GI in the field, prior to evacuation.

France:

After boarding the S/S “Dan Beard” (Liberty ship) at Pier # 38, Southampton, England, on 18 July 1944, the vessel started her Channel crossing. The organization debarked at Utah Beach, France on 24 July 1944, and after proceeding to the prescribed Assembly Area, awaited further instructions on site. In the afternoon of the same day, the Company convoyed across the Cotentin Peninsula to the town of Emondeville, where they went into bivouac…
On 20 July, the unit was relieved from XX Corps and 174th Medical Battalion, and now attached to the 64th Medical Group and eventually the 170th Medical Battalion (Separate) on 22 and 25 July 1944, respectively, (at the time the 170th Medical Battalion consisted of the 590th Motor Ambulance Company – the 595th Motor Ambulance Company – and the 623d Medical Clearing Company –ed). 

Starting 1 August 1944, all three Ambulance Platoons were committed and started evacuating the wounded of CCA (codename “Bacon”), CCB (codename “Balloon”), and CCR (codename “Back”), of the 6th Armored Division (CG > Major General Robert W. Grow, codename “Bamboo” –ed). Company Headquarters had meanwhile moved to Périers and then on to Pontaubault. By 7 August, the routes of evacuation had considerably lengthened to a distance of approximately 160 miles. Because of this situation, influx of heavy casualties, and the length of the evacuation route, more Field Hospitals were necessary and went into operation. On 9 August, First Platoon was supporting CCR, 6th Armored Division, located in the vicinity of Ploudaniel; Second Platoon was servicing CCB, 6th Armored Division, in the vicinity of Bourg-Blanc; and Third Platoon was supporting CCA, 6th Armored Division in the vicinity of Plabennec. The Company CP had meanwhile moved to Rennes, Brittany, in order to establish contact with the Ambulance Platoons and for the purpose of setting up an ARP to control the flow of casualties to the different Evacuation Hospitals set up in the region. During the first month of evacuation (August), all three Platoons worked under most trying conditions and on several missions operated under a barrage of enemy artillery fire, as well as their own artillery. At this point, the Germans captured Second Platoon and held the men for six hours before release. On 1 September 1944, First Platoon, located at Plouay still operating in support of CCR, 6th Armored Division, hauled casualties 122 miles back to the 32d and 39th Evacuation Hospitals established at Vitré. Second Platoon was located at Orléans in support of CCB, 6th Armored Division, while Third Platoon was serving CCA, 6th Armored Division at Dinan. On 16 September 1944, Third Platoon was released and was instructed to support the 94th Medical Clearing Company then located at Plouay. Second Platoon moved to Troyes with CCB, 6th Armored Division and First Platoon accompanied CCR, 6th Armored Division to Châteauneuf. The CP was now established at Landerneau, near Brest, Brittany. It should be noted that during the drive to capture Brest, the 76th Armored Medical Battalion (organic medical unit of the 6th Armored Division –ed) was assisted by a Platoon from the 53d Field Hospital and personnel and vehicles pertaining to the 595th Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate).

By 25 September 1944, all three Platoons had been released from the 6th Armored Division. Company Headquarters received a letter of commendation from Lt. Colonel Roosevelt Cafarelli, Division Surgeon, expressing great satisfaction with the service rendered by the unit throughout the Normandy and Brittany Campaigns.

Medical Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate) T/O & E 8-317, dated 5 December 1944
Personnel
4 Officers
(1 Captain – 1 First Lieutenant – 2 Second Lieutenant)
85 Enlisted Men
(1 First Sergeant – 6 Staff Sergeant – 3 Sergeant – 1 Corporal – 3 Technician 4th Grade
13 Technician 5th Grade – 27 Private First Class – 31 Private)

Vehicles
4 Truck, ¼-Ton
1 Truck, ¾-Ton Weapons Carrier
1 Truck, 2½-Ton Cargo
30 Ambulance, ¾-Ton
1 Trailer, 1-Ton, Cargo

Summer of 1944, France. Personnel of an Ambulance Company take some time to wash and clean their vehicles.

Summer of 1944, France. Personnel of an Ambulance Company take some time to wash and clean their vehicles.

Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg – Belgium:

After completing its mission in Brest, the Company CP moved from Landerneau, Brittany, to Troine, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, with the Platoons attached to new units, such as the 623d Medical Clearing Company, the 48th Field Hospital, the 108th Evacuation Hospital, and the 196th Field Artillery Battalion. It must be noted that as early as 9 October 1944, the following units reverted back to control of the 170th Medical Battalion. These were the 439th Medical Collecting Company – the 590th Motor Ambulance Company – the 595th Motor Ambulance Company – and the 623d Medical Clearing Company; this was completed by 11 October 1944. On 24 October 1944, the 595th Command Post moved to Mamer, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, with First and Second Platoons servicing the 110th Evacuation Hospital, and Third Platoon recently released from the 308th Medical Battalion, now held in reserve at the CP.

During the period preceding the enemy counter-offensive in the Ardennes (aka Battle of the Bulge –ed), the 64th Medical Group was assigned three different Medical Battalions (all located and operating in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg –ed) comprising the 169th Medical Battalion – the 170th Medical Battalion (to which the 595th Motor Ambulance Company was temporarily attached) – and the 240th Medical Battalion. Between 12 and 16 December, a general warning was issued among some medical units that personnel employed by the unit were to clearly wear the GC Red Cross brassards, since it was feared by some that enemy troops might break through and would therefore come in the immediate vicinity of some medical facilities.
On 17 December 1944, following the surprise German attack in the Belgian Ardennes, First Platoon, 595th Ambulance Company, Motor, went into support of CCR, 9th Armored Division; Second Platoon was supporting and servicing the 28th Infantry Division’s Medical Clearing Company at Wiltz, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, and Ettelbrück, also in Luxembourg. Third Platoon was in support of CCA, 10th Armored Division located at Fischbach, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, and CCB, was held up in besieged Bastogne, Belgium. The Company CP retreated to Virton, Belgium on 20 December 1944. Quite a few units bivouacking in the field operated a retrograde movement or simply moved to another site, and when some medical units lacked vehicles to evacuate their patients, these had to be borrowed elsewhere. On 17 December, 7 ambulances of the 595th were temporarily attached to Headquarters 240th Medical Battalion to be committed as follows: 2 ambulances went to Wiltz, Luxembourg; 5 ambulances were sent to Vielsalm. For many Hospitals, pooling of transportation as well as shuttling became the sole means of evacuation, which often had to take place under strict black-out conditions.
On 21 December, two Enlisted Men from Second Platoon went missing while in action in the vicinity of Wiltz. On 22 December 1944 a third man went missing, while a fourth soldier successfully escaped back through enemy lines, hiding out during the day and traveling by night.

The Company was relieved from assignment to First US Army and reassigned to Third United States Army on 26 December 1944. On 29 December, First Platoon started evacuation of 101st Airborne Division casualties still located at Bastogne, Belgium. Second Platoon assisted with the evacuation of patients from CCR, 9th Armored Division, while Third Platoon was busy evacuating wounded from the 17th Airborne Division Medical Clearing Company, set up in the vicinity of Neufchâteau, Belgium.

Early 1945, First, Second, and Third Platoons were evacuating men from the 101st Airborne Division at Cobreville, and 17th Airborne Division casualties at Bertogne, Belgium. The total number of casualties evacuated from 1 August 1944 through 31 December 1944 inclusive, was 3,371. At the time, the Company was authorized 32 ¾-ton ambulances, plus 2 ambulances acquired upon memorandum of receipt from the 42d Field Hospital (while stationed at Wiltz, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg –ed) per VOCG, Surgeon Third US Army. The organization’s T/O amended by Letter, Third United States Army, dated 12 June 1944, subject: Reduction of Basic Privates, authorized an aggregate of 4 Officers and 86 Enlisted Men. The present strength (January 1945) consisted of 4 Officers and 80 EM.
The T/O & E for an Ambulance Company provided sufficient equipment with which to operate in the field under normal conditions. It was later necessary to augment the equipment with some tentage for use as a Command Post and later add a kitchen tent. However, it was often the habit of the supported units to mess with the Company, thus throwing a strain on the kitchen equipment and personnel. Under the latter setup, an extra stove and a water trailer would have been highly desirable.
The original allowance of 7 blankets per ambulance already proved to be inadequate during summer operations, and later was increased to 15 blankets per ambulance for winter conditions. With the harsh winter of December 1944-January 1945, the results were often dramatic, causing many hardships to personnel and patients. During summer and fall, the Company bivouacked in various fields living under tentage, but with the severe winter, it became necessary to move indoors. Buildings and farms were requisitioned from their owners so that the men could be more comfortable. Bathing was done in Quartermaster shower units (when available) and later in shower rooms set up in abandoned factories or other requisitioned buildings. It was always possible for drivers and stretcher bearers to clean up at one of the Evacuation Hospitals during lulls in the evacuation of casualties.

December 1944 – January 1945, winter scenes taken during the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. Left: 1/4-ton ambulance-jeep with litters. Right: 3/4-ton ambulance in the background.

December 1944 – January 1945, winter scenes taken during the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. Left: 1/4-ton ambulance-jeep with litters. Right: 3/4-ton ambulance in the background.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the supply situation remained under control for all critical elements, except maybe for ambulance springs, due to the nature of the local terrain. Winter conditions made maintenance of motor transportation difficult and critical was the breaking of springs on ¾-ton ambulances which were often difficult to replace in the field. The situation became increasingly serious at times also because of the increasing mileage and the lack of proper maintenance of certain vehicles. Although shortages of minor items were always in evidence, in no instance was the combat efficiency of the majority of the medical units impaired.
Supply of gasoline and oil to all units proved sufficient at all times. Class III truckheads were usually located well forward and their supply to using units was never really exhausted in contrast to the previous drive through France to the Siegfried Line when gas shortages became acute. Fortunately, Class II and IV depots were in close proximity of the Armies, with Battalion supply sections consolidating the drawing of Class II and IV supplies for units attached to them, except Field Hospitals (larger organizations).

List of Equipment in Use:

The following types of equipment were in use, based on T/O & E 8-317, dated 5 December 1944

Chemical:
1 Alarm, Gas M1
36 Apparatus, Decontaminating, 1½-qt, M2
1 Kit, Chemical Agent Detector, M9
89 Mask, Gas, Service, Combat
72 Respirator, Dust, M2

Engineer:
5 Case, Canvas, Dispatch
5 Templet, Map, Plastic, Transparent, No. 2
1 Compass, Lensatic, Luminous Dial Type, with Case
40 Compass, Wrist, Liquid Filled
18 Glasses, Reading, 3-inch, with Case
4 Net, Camouflage, Cotton, Shrimp, 22-ft by 22-ft (1/4-ton truck)
32 Net, Camouflage, Cotton, Shrimp, 29-ft by 29-ft (3/4-ton truck)
1 Net, Camouflage, Cotton, Shrimp, 36-ft by 44-ft (21/2-ton truck)

Medical:
89 Brassard, Geneva, Convention
6 Kit, Medical Non-Commissioned Officer ‘s, Complete
64 Kit, Medical Private’s, Complete
15 Blanket Set, Large, Complete
4 Kit, First-Aid, Gas Casualty, Complete
18 Kit, First-Aid, Motor Vehicle, 12-Unit, Complete
120 Litter, Straight, Aluminum
120, Pajama, Coat, Winter, Large
120, Pajama, Trouser, Winter, Large
12 Splint Set, Complete

Ordnance:
4 Watch, Wrist, 7-Jewel

Motor Transport Equipment:
36 Axe, Handled, Chopping, Single-Bit, Standard Grade, 4lb
1 Chain, Motor Vehicle Tow, 16 feet long x 7/6 inch diameter
36 Defroster and Deicer, Electric, Windshield
32 Mattock, Handled, Pivk, Type II, 5lb
35 Rope, Tow, 20 feet long x 1 inch diameter
36 Shovel, General Purpose, D-Handled, Strap Back, Round Point, No. 2
4 Tool Set, Motor Vehicle, General Mechanic’s

European Theater early 1945. A 3/4-ton weapons carrier (WC-52 type) converted for use, either as an ambulance for evacuating casualties, or just for hauling medical supplies, or transporting personnel (this particular vehicle belongs to the 59th Evacuation Hospital).

European Theater early 1945. A 3/4-ton weapons carrier (WC-51 type) converted for use, either as an ambulance for evacuating casualties, or just for hauling medical supplies, or transporting personnel (this particular vehicle belongs to the 59th Evacuation Hospital, Seventh US Army).

Quartermaster:
89 Bag, Canvas, Field, Olive Drab, M-1936
89 Belt, Pistol or Revolver, M-1936
89 Cover, Canteen, Dismounted, M-1910
89 Strap, Carrying, General Purpose
89 Suspenders, Belt, M-1936
2 Pair, Gloves, Protective, Impermeable
2 Suit, Protective, One-Piece, Impermeable
9 Axe, Intrenching, M-1910, with Handle
9 Carrier, Axe, Intrenching, M-1910
17 Pick-mattock, Intrenching, M-1910
17 Carrier, Pick-mattock, Intrenching, M-1910
59 Shovel, Intrenching, M-1943
59 Carrier, Shovel, Intrenching, M-1943
2 Cutter, Wire, M-1938, with Carrier
1 Bag, Canvas, Water Sterilizing, Complete, with Cover and Hanger
4 Bag, Delousing
2 Bucket, General Purpose, Heavy-Weight, Galvanized, without Lip, 14-qt
36 Bucket, Canvas, Water, 18-qt
1 Can, Corrugated, Nesting, Galvanized, with Cover, 10-gallon
1 Can, Corrugated, Nesting, Galvanized, with Cover, 16-gallon
1 Can, Corrugated, Nesting, Galvanized, with Cover, 24-gallon
1 Can, Corrugated, Nesting, Galvanized, with Cover, 32-gallon
18 Can, Corrugated, Nesting, Galvanized, with Cover, Water, 5-gallon
69 Drum, Inflammable Liquid, Gasoline, with Carrying Handle, 5-gallon
1 Chest, Record, Fiber
4 Container, Round, Insulated, M-1941, with Inserts
1 Desk, Field, Fiber, Company
1 Typewriter, Portable, with Carrying Case
34 Flag, Geneva Convention, Red Cross, Bunting, Ambulance & Marker
1 Flag, Guidon, Bunting, with Staff
1 Tent, Wall, Small, Complete with Pins & Poles
1 Stove Tent, M-1941
1 Tent, Kitchen, Flyproof
1 Range, Field, M-1937, 2-Unit
3 Heater, Immersion Type, for Cans, Corrugated
1 Screen, Latrine, Complete, with Pins & Poles
72 Goggles, M-1944, with Clear & Colored Lens
1 Kit, Barber, with Case
3 Clipper, Hair
7 Kit, Sewing
2 Lantern, Gasoline, Leaded Fuel
4 Lantern, Kerosene, Army
1 Puller, Nail, 18 inch
1 Tool Kit, Carpenter’s No. 2; with Tools
1 Trumpet, G with Slide to F, Plastic
9 Whistle, Thunderer 

Signal:
55 Flashlight, TL-122(-)
9 Panel Set, AP-50-A

Reflections on Operational Aspects:

Laundry: laundry was always a problem due to the constant moving of the Ambulance Platoons. The men had either to do their own laundry or arrange to have it done by civilian women. On a single occasion it was possible to utilize the services of mobile laundry facilities, but usually these were not available.

Water Supply: water supply points were mostly available, and set up a short distance from the bivouac areas, insuring a sufficient supply of potable water.

Food Supply: the supply of food was always adequate and of good quality. The cooks by taking care in the preparation of food were able to maintain messing facilities of a high standard. Many of the men indeed continued to put up weight, and few were the complaints offered against the food variety and quality, and those only when C-ration stew was on the menu.

Disposal of Garbage: disposal of garbage and waste was always easily solved. In the field, a garbage pit was prepared and solid trash burned. Straddle trenches were used for disposal of human waste. When living in billets, local facilities were used in the disposal of both human and kitchen waste.

Insect Control: insect control was never a problem. Very few insects were encountered, only flies were around. Fly traps were therefore placed around the kitchen fly, oil or gasoline added to the straddle trench latrines and adjacent earth, and the garbage pits burned off twice daily.

VD Control: venereal disease control consisted of constant educational measures and placing both mechanical and chemical “PRO” measures within easy reach of all men. Education helped the men getting acquainted with the various venereal diseases, how they could be acquired, and how to keep from acquiring them if they cohabited with women. The personnel were frequently reminded of the fact that most women whom they could have intercourse with were diseased. From 1943 to 1944, the Company had not had a single case of VD since the day of its activation!

Another vintage photograph illustrating the use of the 1/4-ton truck for evacuation of casualties.

Another vintage photograph illustrating the use of the 1/4-ton truck for evacuation of casualties.

Recreation: recreation was rather difficult to provide for an active Ambulance Company. However, at some Clearing Stations, motion pictures were shown thus providing some form of diversion. When the organization was in reserve, passes to towns, dances, movies, and showers in the Company area were possible. Under the US Army’s Paris pass quota, a few men of the 595th were able to visit the French capital city and seemed to derive a beneficial morale boost from the trip. Due to the type of work performed by the personnel, the need for recreation was not as great as in other types of units. Driving from Clearing Stations to Evacuation Hospitals was considered to be a kind of recreation itself, since the men saw a constant change in scenery and many interesting sights (hard to believe –ed).

End of the War:

The 595th Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate) was currently attached to the 134th Medical Group which was now being reorganized in view of the recent Redeployment procedures. All the attached medical units within the Group became Category IV, while the following organizations were Category II. They included the: 45th Field Hospital – 53d Medical Battalion – 452d Medical Collecting Company – 586th Motor Ambulance Company – 590th Motor Ambulance Company – 595th Motor Ambulance Company – 617th Medical Clearing Company – and the 684th Medical Clearing Company.

Redeployment Policy:

Category I consisted of units to remain in Europe. Planning provided an occupation force for Germany that would consist of 8 Divisions and a total occupying force of 337,000 personnel to be reduced further in June of 1946.

Category II consisted of units to be re-deployed to the Pacific Theater. About one million soldiers were slated to be sent to the Pacific, including 13 Infantry and 2 Armored Divisions. Planning called for 400,000 soldiers to transfer directly from Europe to the Pacific and to arrive there between September 1945 and January 1946; another 400,000 men were to be sent stateside for eight weeks of re-training and then continue on to the Pacific to arrive not later than April 1946. About 200,000 Army Air Forces personnel were to transfer to the Pacific, either directly from Europe or via the United States.

Category III units were to be re-organized and re-trained before being reclassified into Category I or II.

Category IV units were to be returned to the Zone of Interior to be inactivated and personnel discharged. Such units consisted of soldiers who qualified for discharge under the Point system.

As departure of soldiers from the European Theater was to take place by units, a massive reshuffling of personnel was necessary to get soldiers eligible for demobilization into units designated for return to the Zone of Interior and deactivation. Turnover of personnel in some units, averaged 20% for Enlisted Men in one week and 46% for Officers in approximately 40 days, which undoubtedly seriously impacted efficiency and unit cohesion.

Somewhere in Germany. A 3/4-ton ambulance (WC-54) fords a shallow river (this particular ambulance pertains to the 593d Ambulance Company, Motor).

Somewhere in Germany. A 3/4-ton ambulance (WC-54) fords a shallow river (this particular ambulance pertains to the 593d Ambulance Company, Motor).

Field Armies served by the 595th Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate)
First United States Army
Third United States Army
Ninth United States Army

Battle Credits obtained by the 595th Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate)
Ardennes (War Department General Order # 114, dated 7 December 1945)
Central Europe (War Department General Order # 116, dated 11 December 1945)
Ardennes-Alsace (Department of the Army General Order # 63, dated 20 September 1948)

Individual Awards obtained by Personnel of the 595th Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate)

The Silver Star is awarded to Private First Class James M. Zimmerman, ASN 36674680, US Army, for gallantry in action while serving with the 595th Motor Ambulance Company, in action on 19 December 1944, in Belgium. On that date Private First Class J. Zimmerman was serving as an assistant ambulance driver, evacuating patients from a threatened Clearing Station at Lutrebois, Belgium. Although the route of evacuation was under heavy enemy artillery barrage, this intrepid soldier calmly rode his vehicle to and from the Clearing Station until a direct artillery hit overturned the ambulance and set it on fire. The driver was killed and Private First Class Zimmerman was himself wounded, but he courageously removed the casualties, while still under fire, and remained with them until they were evacuated. Only then did he accept treatment for his own wounds. Private First Class James M. Zimmerman’s conspicuous bravery and courageous, unselfish devotion to duty reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service. (Headquarters, Third US Army, General Order # 55, dated 9 March 1945)

The Silver Star is awarded (posthumously) to Private First Class Elwin Willms, ASN 36671724, US Army, for gallantry in action while serving with the 595th Motor Ambulance Company, in action on 19 December 1944, in Belgium. On that date Private E. Willms was serving as an ambulance driver, evacuating patients from a threatened Clearing Station at Lutrebois, Belgium. Although the route of evacuation was under heavy enemy artillery barrage, this intrepid soldier calmly drove his vehicle to and from the Clearing Station, completely disregarding his own safety, when a direct artillery hit overturned the ambulance and set it on fire. Private E. Willms was killed immediately. His conspicuous bravery and courageous, unselfish devotion to duty reflect great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and will live on as an inspiration to the men with whom he served. (Headquarters, Third US Army, General Order # 55, dated 9 March 1945)

The Silver Star is awarded to Staff Sergeant Verne W. Marten, ASN 36065646, US Army, for gallantry in action while serving with the 595th Motor Ambulance Company, in action on 19 December 1944, in Belgium. On that date Staff Sergeant V. Marten was in charge of a Clearing Station at Lutrebois, Belgium, which was in imminent danger of being overrun by the rapidly advancing enemy. Staff Sergeant Marten courageously remained at his post and continued to direct evacuation of the patients even when the enemy had come within small arms range of the Clearing Station. Through his calm determination and courage all patients were saved from capture by the enemy. His actions and his heroic devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military service. (Headquarters, Third US Army, General Order # 57, dated 13 March 1945)


Special thanks must go to George B. Eaton, Army Sustainment Command (ASC) Historian for gratuitously providing the MRC Staff with copies of 1944 reports covering the activities of the 595th Ambulance Company, Motor (Separate) in the European Theater. The authors are still looking for additional data detailing operations conducted by the organization in 1945, its eventual return to the Zone of Interior, and a complete personnel roster as well as Company-related photographs. Inputs will be very much appreciated and sources duly credited.

This page was printed from the WW2 US Medical Research Centre on 21st August 2018 at 16:25.
Read more: https://www.med-dept.com/unit-histories/595th-ambulance-company-motor-separate/