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Hospital at War

The 95th Evacuation Hospital in World War II

By Zachary Friedenberg

Publication Year: 2004

During World War II, the army established 107 evacuation hospitals to care for the wounded and sick in theaters around the world. An evacuation hospital was a forward hospital accepting patients from the battlefield. It was where the wounded first received definitive care. Formed at Camp Breckenridge, the 95th Evac arrived in Casablanca in April 1943, with seven thousand troops, thirty doctors, and forty nurses. First pitching their tents at Oujda, they moved eastward toward Algeria before making a D-day landing on the beaches of Salerno, Italy, on September 9, 1939. Shortly thereafter, they entered Naples, then set up shop at Anzio before moving on to become the first American hospital to penetrate Nazi-occupied Europe. After the guns were silent, records show that these doctors and nurses had treated over 42,000 Americans in almost all the critical battles of the European theater: Salerno, Monetcassino, Anzio, southern France, the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhineland, and finally, the invasion into Germany. Hospital at War is the story of the 95th Evac Hospital as told by Zachary Friedenberg, a young surgeon at the time, fresh out of his internship. He tells the story of how the men and women of the 95th survived the war. He describes how they solved problems and learned to treat the war-wounded in the extreme heat of North Africa and during the frigid winters of the Rhineland. He tells how they endured shelling and a bombing of the hospital and how they adjusted to the people and the countries in which they worked. By the end of their two-year tour of duty, the men and women of the 95th Evac were superbly efficient. A casualty who made it to their facilities had a 99 percent chance of surviving. For anyone who wants to know how so many of our boys made it home despite horrific injuries, this book provides part of the answer.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press


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pp. ix-x

When World War II ended, I hurriedly distanced myself from anything military and once again entered civilian life. My interrupted surgical training was resumed, and my time and energies were devoted in the years following to a career in teaching, research, and the practice of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. However, in time the pace of life ...

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Ch1 Preparing for War

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pp. 3-12

Camp Breckenridge was born in Morganfield, near Henderson, Kentucky, on March 15, 1942. Flames of war fanned the camp into existence. The Axis powers had conquered Europe, and their rolling Panzer divisions were now overrunning North Africa, threatening to cut off the Suez Canal and close the most direct route to India and the Far East. Having yet to suffer a defeat, they seemed invincible, with only ...

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Ch 2 Concluding the North African Campaign

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pp. 13-33

We caught up with the war five months after the Americans had landed at Oran and in Algiers the previous November. After many months of hard and bloody fighting, the North African Campaign was winding down in the Allies’ favor, but a few more weeks would pass before a general collapse of the enemy armies occurred and the roundup of prisoners—over a quarter of a million of them—began. ...

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Ch 3 Landing in the Bay of Salerno

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pp. 34-57

Oran Harbor was choked with ships. Troop transport were spaced throughout its limits, tenders and small craft scurrying about like so many ants in a busy colony. The gray hulls of battleships glinted in the hot sun, and planes droned overhead. Waiting on the dock to board our ship, we were fascinated by the spectacle taking place above us. ...

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Ch 4 Stalemate in Italy

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pp. 58-76

At Paestum the 95th Evac received its battle baptism. Here we became blooded, treating battle casualties directly from the front, within a few hours of their being wounded and in great numbers. By September 13, we had all our equipment and were set up according to the tables of organization. We were keeping five operating tables in full use twenty-four hours a day, receiving the newly wounded and evacuating treated patients to ships departing for North Africa. ...

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Ch 5 Anzio

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pp. 77-89

The diary of Maj. Howard Patterson describes the trip from Naples aboard our LST: “Our LST was waiting for us and into its open front we trooped. No luxuries here, only cramped noisy quarters. . . . Many of our men will sleep on the steel plated deck. Below are trucks and on the decks more trucks. Those on the deck are loaded with hospital supplies.” In army jargon, the 95th was combat loaded, with personnel and all equipment going to Green Beach, the invasion beach, in order to avoid the problems faced at Salerno when men were landed and equipment did not arrive until several days later. ...

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Ch 6 Concluding the Italian Campaign

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pp. 90-103

By this time, we had been overseas for almost a year and had treated casualties in the heat of the desert and the plains and mountains of Italy. Two D-Day invasions had taught us much about treating the wounded in different tactical situations. With this experience, and after several failed plans for reorganizing our internal structure, we had settled ...

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Ch 7 The French Rivierato Alsace

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pp. 104-126

On August 9, 1944, hospital personnel and some infantry embarked at Bagnoli, Italy, on two LCIs. Most of the hospital, without nurses and with only a minimum of equipment, traveled on LCI #188. The LCI was a steel-plated monster with a front loading ramp about 100 feet long with a narrow beam completely surrounded by diesel fumes. The craft’s vibrating motor threatened ...

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Ch 8 Peace,and a Job Well Done

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pp. 127-139

With the cessation of hostilities, we became witness to one of the most extraordinary events in history, the mass movement of refugees returning home. More than a million people packed their belongings in ancient battered suitcases, paper bags, and bundles and started their long journey homeward. Walking on the highway were also those members of the disbanded German Army not in a ...

Appendix A Basic Installation

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pp. 141-142

Appendix B Group Commendations

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pp. 143-148

Appendix C Statement of Service,95th Combat Support Hospital

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pp. 149-150


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pp. 151-158

E-ISBN-13: 9781603446365
E-ISBN-10: 1603446362
Print-ISBN-13: 9781585443796
Print-ISBN-10: 1585443794

Page Count: 160
Illustrations: 38 b&w photos. 3 maps.
Publication Year: 2004

OCLC Number: 774385282
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hospital at War

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Subject Headings

  • United States. Army. Evacuation Hospital, 95th.
  • Friedenberg, Zachary.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American.
  • Physicians -- United States -- Biography.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Africa, North.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Western Front.
  • United States. Army -- Medical personnel -- Biography.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Medical care.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Regimental histories -- United States.
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