German Medics

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Timo
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Post by Timo » 22 Nov 2002 21:01

Alexander Fleming
1881 - 1955


Alexander Fleming was born in a remote, rural part of Scotland. The seventh of eight siblings and half-siblings, his family worked an 800-acre farm a mile from the nearest house. The Fleming children spent much of their of time ranging through the streams, valleys, and moors of the countryside. "We unconsciously learned a great deal from nature," said Fleming.

When their father died, Fleming's eldest brother inherited the running of the farm. Another brother Tom had studied medicine and was opening a practice in London. Soon, four Fleming brothers and a sister were living together in London. Alec, as he was called, had moved to London when he was about 14, and went to the Polytechnic School in Regent Street. Tom encouraged him to enter business. After completing school he was employed by a shipping firm, though he didn't much like it. In 1900, when the Boer War broke out between the United Kingdom and its colonies in southern Africa, Alec and two brothers joined a Scottish regiment. This turned out to be as much a sporting club as anything; they honed their shooting, swimming, and even water polo skills, but never went to the Transvaal. Soon after this, the Flemings' uncle died and left them each 250 pounds. Tom's medical practice was now thriving and he encouraged Alec to put his legacy toward the study of medicine.

Fleming took top scores in the qualifying examinations, and had his choice of medical schools. He lived equally close to three different schools, and knowing little about them, chose St. Mary's because he had played water polo against them. In 1905 he found himself specializing as a surgeon for almost as random a reason. His switch to bacteriology was even more surprising: if he took a position as a surgeon, he would have to leave St. Mary's. The captain of St. Mary's rifle club knew that and was desperate to improve his team. Knowing that Fleming was a great shot he did all he could to keep him at St. Mary's. He worked in the Inoculation Service and he convinced Fleming to join his department in order to work with its brilliant director -- and to join the rifle club. Fleming would stay at St. Mary's for the rest of his career.

In 1909 German chemist-physician Paul Ehrlich developed a chemical treatment for syphilis. He had tried hundreds of compounds, and the six hundred and sixth worked. It was named salvarsan (meaning "that which saves by arsenic"). The only previous treatments for this disease had been so toxic as to often kill the patient. Ehrlich brought news of his treatment to London, where Fleming became one very few physicians to administer salvarsan. He did so with the new and difficult technique of intravenous injection. He soon developed such a busy practice he got the nickname "Private 606."

When World War I broke out, most of the staff of the bacteriology lab went to France to set up a battlefield hospital lab. Here they encountered infections so drastic that soldiers quickly died from them. Yet they were still simple infections. Fleming felt there must be something, a chemical like salvarsan, that could help fight microbe infection even in wounds caused by exploding shells. During the course of the war, Fleming made many innovations in treatment of the wounded, but this was soon overshadowed by the work he did afterwards.

Back in St. Mary's lab in the 1920s, Fleming searched for an effective antiseptic. He discovered lysozyme, an enzyme occurring in many body fluids, such as tears. It had a natural antibacterial effect, but not against the strongest infectious agents. He kept looking. Fleming had so much going on in his lab that it was often in a jumble. This disorder proved very fortunate. In 1928 he was straightening up a pile of Petri dishes where he had been growing bacteria, but which had been piled in the sink. He opened each one and examined it before tossing it into the cleaning solution. One made him stop and say, "That's funny." Some mold was growing on one of the dishes -- not too unusual -- but all around the mold, the staph bacteria had been killed -- very unusual. He took a sample of the mold. He found that it was from the penicillium family, later specified as penicillium notatum. Fleming presented his findings in 1929, but raised little interest. He published a report on penicillin and its potential uses in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology. Fleming worked with the mold for some time, but refining and growing it was a difficult process better suited to chemists. The work was taken over by a team of chemists and mold specialists, but was cut short when several of them died or relocated. It took World War II to revitalize interest in penicillin, and Howard Florey and Ernst Chain picked up the work.

In recognition for his contribution, Alexander Fleming was knighted in 1944. With Chain and Florey he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945.

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Christoph Awender
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oh I see

Post by Christoph Awender » 22 Nov 2002 22:44

Oh now I see.. I think you should post more information and not just one sentence to help people understand what you want to say.

From http://www.101airborneww2.com/warstories4.html
Some individual medics carried a weapon, regardless of the rules. German medics carried a pistol in order to administer the 'Coup de Grace' to hopelessly injured battlefield casualties


This statement is totally bullshit thats all I have to say about it.

Christoph

Mark V
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Post by Mark V » 23 Nov 2002 16:20

Thanks Timo.

That was complete answer for this issue. I am too old and lazy for such details.

Mike R
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Post by Mike R » 23 Nov 2002 18:15

In the book "Infantry Aces" by Franz Kurowski, there is a chapter telling about the accomplishments of a medic on the Eastern Front. Although it never mentions anything about administering the "coup de grace" to any injured, this medic kills many Russians in close quarters fighting.

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Rob S.
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Post by Rob S. » 23 Nov 2002 22:14

I thought it was because Medics and Army Chaplains weren't recognized as non-combatants on the Eastern Front.

Mike R
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Post by Mike R » 23 Nov 2002 22:23

If they weren't recognized as non-combatants, that would make sense. I was unsure if they were or not. Thanks!

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Christoph Awender
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armament

Post by Christoph Awender » 23 Nov 2002 23:26

Medics were equipped with a pistol to protect themselves and the patient according to the Geneva convention. They were as the chaplains designated as non combatants.

But in the heat of the battle nobody looked at the red cross armband. Look at casualty lists where company medics are frequently on. But what would have happened if medics would have started to kill their comrades when they think they are hopelessly wounded? Beside it is totally against all basics of the nature of a medic...saving lives!
I also don´t want to start a discussion about the psychological and medical condition of seriously wounded... it is not like in the movies where a bullet in the head is the last wish.

Christoph

Wolf
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German medics...

Post by Wolf » 24 Nov 2002 00:43

Does anyone know the structure of the German WWII medical service? I mean, was there (only) one medic per company - got to have been one busy induvidual!

Also, did the medic serve within the structure of the company or did he belong to a dedicated medical unit, like a (Bn) aid post or something similar...?

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Christoph Awender
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Medic organization

Post by Christoph Awender » 24 Nov 2002 02:47

Hello!

A medical NCO was attached to a company. Each company had to determine so called Hilfskrankenträger (normally 8 ) during fighting. During engagements the medical NCO was at the Truppenverbandplatz which was commanded by the Btl.Arzt.
The casualties were then directed through the various medical installations - VErwundetennest - Truppenverbandplatz - Hauptverbandplatz - Feldlazarett and so on.
For more details have a look on the specific section on my site.

http://www.wwiidaybyday.com

regards,
Christoph
Last edited by Christoph Awender on 25 Nov 2002 07:05, edited 1 time in total.

Wolf
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Post by Wolf » 25 Nov 2002 00:18

Juha Hujanen wrote:Don't think it would have been too good for morale if medics goes around to shoot seriously wounted :roll:


No kidding! 8O

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HaEn
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Re: Medic organization

Post by HaEn » 25 Nov 2002 01:55

Christoph Awender wrote:Hello!

A medical NCO was attached to a company. Each company had to determine so called Hilfskrankenträger (normally 8) during fighting. During engagements the medical NCO was at the Truppenverbandplatz which was commanded by the Btl.Arzt.
The casualties were then directed through the various medical installations - VErwundetennest - Truppenverbandplatz - Hauptverbandplatz - Feldlazarett and so on.
For more details have a look on the specific section on my site.

http://www.wwiidaybyday.com

regards,
Christoph


If I remember it right, I received about 4 weeks total training as a "Krankentrager", by our Battalions Artz/stab; that was right after extended basic training. I wanted more but was told that it was all I would need. When I asked if I now was a Sanitäter, I was told that "Sanitäters" are in the railway station. Also seem to remember that after the course we were issued a blue aesculape (caduceus) to be worn on the lower left sleeve. I just had flunked Scharfschütze training (could hit bulls eye almost every time but when it came to silhouttes or pop ups, missed by a mile). Was send back with the notation that I just "did not have" it. So then became a Schreibstube hengst - Melder - Krankentrager. (after a few other short courses) Later got Kradmelder training, but mosttimes without a krad (no benzine). We were expressely told that our task was to "cause no harm", forgot the term they used, but it was latin. So I cannot understand where the quatsch ot the mercy shots came from. Regards. HN.

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Christoph Awender
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thanks

Post by Christoph Awender » 25 Nov 2002 07:11

Thanks Haen for the first hand experience!

Christoph

haoster
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Medical support

Post by haoster » 22 Dec 2002 23:35

I interviewed an enlisted man, who served in the Kuban in 1942. Resources were already very meager by that time, and he was evacuated with severe shoulder wounds in a horse-drawn wagon with straw, and many other wounded. He said that in the German army, if one complained at sick-bay of chest pain you were given aspirin, and for abdominal pain, mild of magnesia!

Another Austrian infantryman I interviewed, was wounded in Italy, then captured, and was in a series of Allied hospitals. The worst were Italian, and the best were the American.

Panzerrat
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Re: armament

Post by Panzerrat » 23 Dec 2002 21:23

:oops:
Last edited by Panzerrat on 02 Jan 2003 15:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Christoph Awender
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field medics

Post by Christoph Awender » 23 Dec 2002 23:52

Panzerrat!

As I said in an earlier thread of yours do some research before you post anything. Field medics did not use the apron. They were with the company in the first line during advance and I think it would not be clever to have a white aproned member in the company when advancing through a forest for example. He would bring his unit into danger. Regulations clearly state that the apron is used (if at all) by personnel of medical units at: Wagenhalteplätze, Leichterverwundetensammelstellen, Sanitätspark-Ausgabestellen, Verwundeten-Verladestellen (i.e. in harbors) - not in the field! Also show me one (just one!) foto of a medic in the field with a white-red cross marked helmet. I never saw a foto of a white helmet with a red cross although it would be thinkable on ships and Flughafen-San.Bereitschaften.

Christoph

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