Evacuation of the Sick and Wounded, WWII

Every regiment in the field maintains a proportion of personnel who are trained and are proficient in first aid to the injured. In a unit as large as an Infantry battalion there is a party of stretcher-bearers, who provide the local transport, by means of stretchers, for the collection of the wounded of the unit.

The principle upon which the Medical Service is built up is that the troops must be kept fit for service, but when they become unfit they must be evacuated from the field of operations as rapidly as possible. The presence of a number of sick and wounded proves an encumbrance to a Commander, and since his mobility will be handicapped by being compelled to carry a number of unfit men, every effort is made to remove them to the lines of communication with all despatch.

Normandy summer of 1944; a Litter-patient is being carefully evacuated across difficult terrain. Note the enormous variety of Geneva Convention helmet markings.
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Medics are carrying a wounded doughboy to a waiting Ambulance, for further evacuation, the Bulge, Belgium, January-February 1945.
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Source: US National Archives

Image showing C-47 “Mary Co-Ed II”, which was used as a medevac aircraft throughout the Normandy campaign. The number of missions she has flown are clearly visible by the presence of the painted red crosses underneath the cockpit.
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Source: US National Archives

First US Army Litter Bearers aided by AAF personnel load a wounded German PW aboard a CG4A Waco Glider. Picture taken in Germany in spring of 1945.
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Source: US National Archives

An “Associated Press” photograph showing wounded American and German soldiers awaiting evacuation to England following savage fighting in Europe.
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Source: US National Archives

A wounded GI is brought to an Evacuation Hospital via ambulance in Italy. The litter bearer treads carefully in the mud, as the casualty is taken to the Receiving Ward.
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Source: “Life” Magazine

American soldiers await evacuation by ambulance to the next echelon on medical care. A French civilian hands out cigarettes and matches to the G.I.s; of interest is the fact that she wears the wool knit “Jeep Cap”.
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Source: US National Archives

Off Utah Beach, Normandy, casualties are transferred from a DUKW to a Water Ambulance (British LCA) for embarkation on the British Hospital Carrier “Prague”. Picture dated July 10, 1944.
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Source: US National Archives

A Flight Nurse feeds some fruit juice from a paper cup to Pvt Charles V. Reusch. These patients are on the first leg of a long trip home from the Pacific…
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Source: US National Archives

Allied casualties are being evacuated by American landing craft to a Hospital Ship. Picture taken after Operation Husky (Invasion of Sicily).
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Source: US National Archives

Wounded crew members of a B-24 “Liberator” bomber are being evacuated from the aircraft. They will be taken to a Base Hospital by one of the available Ambulances (WC-54 3/4-Ton Vehicle).
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Source: US Army Air Forces

Medical troops evacuated a wounded comrade in a Jeep adorned with Red Cross Markers. The wounded man and medical personnel pertain to the 36th Infantry Division. Photograph taken March, 1945, near Haguenau, France.
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Source: US National Archives

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