German medics in WW2

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German medics in WW2

Postby D'haeseleer Guy » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:00 pm

Hello,

I have several questions about the German Army in general and its medics. Can any-one tell me: 1) How long some-one needed to serve in the German Army before the outbreak of WW2? 2) How old were the men who were called to serve in the German Army before WW2? 3) Were the medics who were accompanying the soldiers on the frontlines medical doctors or just 'first aid man'? 4) What was the training from these medics and how could one recognise a medic exept for his red cross sign, did they had special signs or labels on their uniforms? 5) Who took the wounded men to the fieldhospitals? 6) What did they carry in their medical bags? 7) Were they a part of a fighting unit? 8) Were these men forced to fight during the war?
9) When a German soldier became a prisoner of war, how long did they stay in prison after the war was over?

Thanks in advance,
Guy
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby John W. Howard » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:39 pm

Hello Guy:
Try the search function here on our site; there have been several threads dealing with medics in the German Military. Christoph Awender, a member of this site, has a special interest in this information. Here is a link to his excellent site:http://www.wwiidaybyday.com/ You will find all kinds of good stuff on his site. Feel free to keep asking if your questions are not answered. Best wishes, good luck, and welcome to the site :D .
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby Christoph Awender » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:56 pm

Hello Guy,

Unfortunately the part of my site John refers to is not yet online again so I answer your question this way.

1 and 2: Can surely be answered by someone else... I would have to look it up and I am in a bit of a hurry.

3) You have basically four types of medical personnel relevant to this question.
a) Hilfskrankenträger= auxiliary stretcher bearers - were normal members of a company with a little bit advanced first aid training. In case a combat situation made it necessary they "dropped" their weapon, got a armband (either "Hilfskrankenträger" or a red cross armband), a basic first aid pouch and mainly recovered wounded comrades from the field plus providing basic aid (bandages etc...).
There were usually 8 such men preselected for this.

b) Krankenträger - Stretcher bearers - were constantly with the company, constantly marked with a red cross armband, had two medic pouches and a pistol. There were usually four in an 1941 infantry company. They were better trained in first aid. These Krankenträger had the same colour of arms on their uniform as the company type.

c) Sanitätsunteroffizier - medical NCO - There was one in each company size formation. He was responsible for the professional medical treatment and organisation in the company during garrison and in the field. He was specially trained in a medical school (training about 6 months) + special courses. They always were marked with a red cross armband and a caduceus emblem on the left respectively right lower arm (army or Air force) and showed the cornflower blue colour of arms of the medical branch.
If necessary the medical NCO´s of the companies gathered and built the Truppenverbandplatz of the battalion.

d) Sanitätsoffiziere - medical officers - were doctors. The first level they were seen is the battalion doctor in the battalion headquarter. This was usually a young doctor who provided first professional life supprt at the troop bandaging station of the battlion. Of course in mobile situations etc.. directly at the patient in the field.

I think this answers 3 and 4.

5) Everyone!.... this could be the ambulances of the Krankenkraftwagenzüge or the headquarter formations as well as the comrades on horse drawn or manpower drawn coaches. In times of war everything was necessary.

6) Krankenträger had....
1 anatomical tweezers, 1 clinical thermoneter, 1 wood-spatula, 1 nail-cleaner, 1 scissor 14cm - 16cm long, 3 band aids 5m x7cm , 6 band aid packs, 1 ligature-bind, 1 leather case with 20 safety-pins, 1 piece waterproof band aid 50 x 45cm
1 paper-box with 2 iodine bottles 4ccm Tinctura Jodi, 1 artificial resine soapbox with 50g soap, 1 paperbox with 1 roll Collemplastrum Zinci 5m x 2,5cm, 5 band aid packs 8cm x 9,5cm in paper, 1 grey aluminium box with 1 one tube 10ccm Unguentum saliicylici 2%ig, 2 tubes 10ccm Unguentum Formaldehydi 8%ig, 1 tube 10ccm alcalic eye-ointment. 5 aluminium tablet-tubes with 20 tablets Acidum acetylosalicylicum 0,5g, 20 tablets Opium 0,03g, 15 tablets Rhizoma Rei 0.5g, 20 tablets Cardiazol 0,1g, 10 tablets Natrium bicarbonic 1,0g.
Weight: 1,6kg, dimensions: 17x8x10,5cm, Packordnung: H.Dv.208/4

7) As said above.. in each frontline formation there was medical personnel .
8) YES they were more or less often forced to defend themselves.
9) Well, there is no answer to this question. You have to specify it. That depends on when he was captured (some were exchanged during war), who catched them, who the soldier was, what he did, where he was taken to etc.. etc...
From the USSR the first returned on 22.JUly 1946 and the last 1955 or 56.

/Christoph
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby D'haeseleer Guy » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:20 am

Christoph Awender wrote:Hello Guy,

Unfortunately the part of my site John refers to is not yet online again so I answer your question this way.

1 and 2: Can surely be answered by someone else... I would have to look it up and I am in a bit of a hurry.

3) You have basically four types of medical personnel relevant to this question.
a) Hilfskrankenträger= auxiliary stretcher bearers - were normal members of a company with a little bit advanced first aid training. In case a combat situation made it necessary they "dropped" their weapon, got a armband (either "Hilfskrankenträger" or a red cross armband), a basic first aid pouch and mainly recovered wounded comrades from the field plus providing basic aid (bandages etc...).
There were usually 8 such men preselected for this.

b) Krankenträger - Stretcher bearers - were constantly with the company, constantly marked with a red cross armband, had two medic pouches and a pistol. There were usually four in an 1941 infantry company. They were better trained in first aid. These Krankenträger had the same colour of arms on their uniform as the company type.

c) Sanitätsunteroffizier - medical NCO - There was one in each company size formation. He was responsible for the professional medical treatment and organisation in the company during garrison and in the field. He was specially trained in a medical school (training about 6 months) + special courses. They always were marked with a red cross armband and a caduceus emblem on the left respectively right lower arm (army or Air force) and showed the cornflower blue colour of arms of the medical branch.
If necessary the medical NCO´s of the companies gathered and built the Truppenverbandplatz of the battalion.

d) Sanitätsoffiziere - medical officers - were doctors. The first level they were seen is the battalion doctor in the battalion headquarter. This was usually a young doctor who provided first professional life supprt at the troop bandaging station of the battlion. Of course in mobile situations etc.. directly at the patient in the field.

I think this answers 3 and 4.

5) Everyone!.... this could be the ambulances of the Krankenkraftwagenzüge or the headquarter formations as well as the comrades on horse drawn or manpower drawn coaches. In times of war everything was necessary.

6) Krankenträger had....
1 anatomical tweezers, 1 clinical thermoneter, 1 wood-spatula, 1 nail-cleaner, 1 scissor 14cm - 16cm long, 3 band aids 5m x7cm , 6 band aid packs, 1 ligature-bind, 1 leather case with 20 safety-pins, 1 piece waterproof band aid 50 x 45cm
1 paper-box with 2 iodine bottles 4ccm Tinctura Jodi, 1 artificial resine soapbox with 50g soap, 1 paperbox with 1 roll Collemplastrum Zinci 5m x 2,5cm, 5 band aid packs 8cm x 9,5cm in paper, 1 grey aluminium box with 1 one tube 10ccm Unguentum saliicylici 2%ig, 2 tubes 10ccm Unguentum Formaldehydi 8%ig, 1 tube 10ccm alcalic eye-ointment. 5 aluminium tablet-tubes with 20 tablets Acidum acetylosalicylicum 0,5g, 20 tablets Opium 0,03g, 15 tablets Rhizoma Rei 0.5g, 20 tablets Cardiazol 0,1g, 10 tablets Natrium bicarbonic 1,0g.
Weight: 1,6kg, dimensions: 17x8x10,5cm, Packordnung: H.Dv.208/4

7) As said above.. in each frontline formation there was medical personnel .
8) YES they were more or less often forced to defend themselves.
9) Well, there is no answer to this question. You have to specify it. That depends on when he was captured (some were exchanged during war), who catched them, who the soldier was, what he did, where he was taken to etc.. etc...
From the USSR the first returned on 22.JUly 1946 and the last 1955 or 56.

/Christoph


Thank you very much. It is already very helpfull. Now question no 9. It was about a soldier (no-one special let us say that this soldier was a Krankenträger) who would become a POW by the US forces on mai the 8th 1945, how long would be his imprisonment? and 2)was it possible that a hilfskrankerträger could become a krankenträger? 3) the training for these soldiers was it the same training that regular soldiers had but with more medical related, or did they have a completely different kind of training? and 4) how did one become a Hilfkrankenträger/Krankenträger? What it possible to chose when one joined the German Army or was is thanks to education in school that one became a medic?

Thanks in advance,
Guy
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby Alex Dekker » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:56 pm

Since my grandfather was a medic (or, officially: a Sanitäterunteroffizier), I can tell you the following things. He was trained at Blankenburg/Harz (Heeres-Sanitäts-Staffel) for six months, after this course he was in Bückeburg, 3. Kompagnie Sanitäts-Ersatz Abteilung 3 for two months and was transferred to Holland in december 1942. He joined the Pionier Bataillon 347. He became a POW on March 25 1945, Near the Rhine (Germersheim). He was released in februari 1947. I really can't tell why he was a prisoner for almost two years. He was a POW in AMerican, British and French camps. Why? Just because, I think.

He became a Sani, after he was wounded in Russia. He was in a Genesenden Kompagnie (Inf. Ers. Bat. 497) for five months. He wasn't (that's what I think) fit for frontduty, so he was placed in Alkmaar, Holland. Far away from any front. When he was captured, he was part of the artillery Bataillon 347. As far as I know, he worked in a Dutch hospital here in Alkmaar, not so much place for an artillery unit!

And Cristoph, thanks a lot for the part about the medical NCO! It sure helped clearing a few small things, again!
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby D'haeseleer Guy » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:57 pm

lexiebabe wrote:Since my grandfather was a medic (or, officially: a Sanitäterunteroffizier), I can tell you the following things. He was trained at Blankenburg/Harz (Heeres-Sanitäts-Staffel) for six months, after this course he was in Bückeburg, 3. Kompagnie Sanitäts-Ersatz Abteilung 3 for two months and was transferred to Holland in december 1942. He joined the Pionier Bataillon 347. He became a POW on March 25 1945, Near the Rhine (Germersheim). He was released in februari 1947. I really can't tell why he was a prisoner for almost two years. He was a POW in AMerican, British and French camps. Why? Just because, I think.

He became a Sani, after he was wounded in Russia. He was in a Genesenden Kompagnie (Inf. Ers. Bat. 497) for five months. He wasn't (that's what I think) fit for frontduty, so he was placed in Alkmaar, Holland. Far away from any front. When he was captured, he was part of the artillery Bataillon 347. As far as I know, he worked in a Dutch hospital here in Alkmaar, not so much place for an artillery unit!

And Cristoph, thanks a lot for the part about the medical NCO! It sure helped clearing a few small things, again!



Thank you lexiebabe, this clears up several things I was wondering about. Van harte bedankt alvast! But still, there are 100.000 questions remaining. One question is for example; Did German medics help wounded US, British, Canadian or even Russian soldiers? I know there were several pauzes on the battlefronts to help the wounded, but did they help only their own or also the so-called enemy? My interest in the second WW came to "life" in my youth and cause my mam is German. But also from the idea that the German Army did conquer Europe in several weeks with an almost almighty power and still lost the war. So first of all I began to search the why behind losing the war and now I am looking for some info about the army to get more insight.
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby Alex Dekker » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:48 pm

But still, there are 100.000 questions remaining.


Not so many! :wink: Same here, about my grandfather. I think I cleared a few questions for myself, still, there remain a lot more. Every answer pops up two or more questions...

Heinrich Haape was an Artz, he wrote a diary which was published after the war. It was repreinted somewhere in the nineties. He wrote that they (the Germans) did indeed help wounded Russian soldiers. Also, Russian Kommisaren shot, according to Haape, at the medics of his team, several times. Another written account (written by a German officer of the 267. ID) states the same about French soldiers. Some continued fighting while wounded, others where helped by German medics. This officer also stated that he was helped by German medics. And as long as I do read good books and talk with people who were at a front (east or west), these stories do continue. To me, it seems nationality wasn't a real problem. Wounds were the problem.

Also, maybe get your hands on the German Army handbook. Gives a nice overview how the German Army was organised, both in theory and in practice. Not so expensive, and a good book.

Veel succes!
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby ghp95134 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:22 pm

D'haeseleer Guy wrote:...I have several questions about the German Army in general and its medics. Guy


Guy,

One of Feldgrau's members is a veteran who had some first-hand experience and training as a medic. His comments can be found at viewtopic.php?f=42&t=16025

HaEn wrote:There also were a whole group of guys trained as "krankenträgers" or "hilfskrankenträgers'. (Wounded carriers and assistant wounded carriers.)

They got a few weeks or up to two months 'fïeld first aid en hygiene" training, and were returned to their own units, with just a little sleeve patch.

Sometimes (as in my case) they served in double capacity, for example I was a Krad melder (motorcycle dispatch runner) as well as a "krankenträger',

Due to lack of gasoline the "krad" melder in the end became "rad fuss oder bauch" melder. ( bike, walk or crawl runner)
Oh well.
HN


And:
Dr. HaEn wrote:The "Aesculape" (snake on a stick) that was issued to me after a mere two months training (in between regular training) as a 'hilfskrankenträger" was worn by me on the RIGHT sleeve, just like the picture shows. There were others who wore theirs on the left sleeve, so I am not sure what was the norm. If I am not mistaken the color of the aeasculape was blue, but I may confuse it with the one I wore much later with the Netherlands Red Cross Corps, looking identical, but on a rectangular piece of cloth. i never wore the red cross armband, as (according to seasoned vets of the time) it served ill willed opponents as a target.

Also I was issued a "bag" rather than the Koppeltaschen; and at Arnhem I used a British medic bag when mine ran out of supplies. Actually that's the only thing I had left from that time, and I carried it through camps , later civilian life, and even took it with me to the U.S. At one point I spray-painted it aluminum and used it as carry all for my car-tools.
Not too long ago I gave it to a friend who had post war issues, but not one that visibly was stamped 1942.
B.T.w. I have stayed a medic all my life in one way or another.

Just an old memory
Dr. H.N.


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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby John W. Howard » Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:39 am

Hello Guy:
It is my understanding that German medics triaged the casualties brought to them, just as any modern hospital would, with the most serious cases going first regardless of nationality. With the brutality of the fighting on the Ostfront, this may not have always been the case there. Best wishes.
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby tigre » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:10 am

Hello guys :D; just as a little complement, take a look here.........

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=17366&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby D'haeseleer Guy » Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:21 am

tigre wrote:Hello guys :D; just as a little complement, take a look here.........

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=17366&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

Cheers. Raúl M 8).



Thank you all for the info on the medics. Can't thank you enough. Now only two questions remain. And that are these two: Can any-one tell me: 1) How long some-one needed to serve in the German Army before the outbreak of WW2? 2) How old were the men who were called to serve in the German Army before WW2?

Thanks again for all the info given,
Guy
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby Alex Dekker » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:38 am

How old were the men who were called to serve in the German Army before WW2?
Depends on the 'Welle', my grandfather was born in 1908 and called for service in 1939, in the fourth Welle. Before the ware the age was 20-21, after the service in the RAD. From 1943 on, boys from 17 year could serve in the Army. In 1945 were boys at the age of 16 enlisted, below that age service was voluntary. Not to mention a lot of the boys were pressed for service.
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby D'haeseleer Guy » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:16 pm

lexiebabe wrote:
How old were the men who were called to serve in the German Army before WW2?
Depends on the 'Welle', my grandfather was born in 1908 and called for service in 1939, in the fourth Welle. Before the ware the age was 20-21, after the service in the RAD. From 1943 on, boys from 17 year could serve in the Army. In 1945 were boys at the age of 16 enlisted, below that age service was voluntary. Not to mention a lot of the boys were pressed for service.


Thank you, I am getting alot wiser these days :D , but I think I need to specify my questions. Was it possible to enlist in 1936 or example on a volutary base at the age of 17? And once, one joined the army, was this a lifelong commitment or just for a year or two years? I guess, once the war broke out it was untill the war was ended or when death knocked at the door.

Grtz,
Guy
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby PaulW » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:13 pm

Chris, what about the more advanced medical facilities in the infantry division, ie the medical battalion that manned the field hospital?
I assume these wore blue waffenfarbe and like today, had higher proportions of Doctors/officers and senior NCO's. Was there much movement of "caduceus wearers " between medical Battalion and the infantry platoons? Would there be some lower ranks in this medical unit that had "caduceus training" (have seen photos of gefreiters with theis badge)

It is amazing how similar the modern US miltary medical orgainisation still is to the old german one! Corpsmen are assigned "to Division" ie they look just like front line marines, live with them, and carry rifles. Many regular marines learn "Buddy aid" ie first aid. And any can be assigned to help the corpsmen as stretcher bearers.

When attached "to Group", corpsmen are with the Medical battalion and usually have a much easier life! Living with the doctors and nurses of the surgical companies, usually out of harms way.
Interestingly all carry at least sidearms (and no-one wears the redcross of course)
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Re: German medics in WW2

Postby PaulW » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:32 pm

In summary Chris - levels of medical care.

HKT regular combat soldier with rudimentary first aid training.(?length) Redcross armband as needed but normally regular combat equipment.

KT (2months medical training) attached to each platoon wore the combat waffenfarbe of his combat platoon yet seen as medic by his redcross, pouches and sidearm - No caduceus right sleeve qual badge?

Santitats UO (6months training)The company medical NCO (wore blue waffenfarbe) and orgainsied the KT (medics) caduceus arm badge

Sanitatsofficer (Junior Medical Doctor/Officer- Battalion MO) wore blue waffenfarbe -In charge of the Unterofficers and direct advanced care(short of big surgery) in the battalion aid station (Truppenverbandplatz of the battalion.)

Presumably there was a more senior Doctor (Regimental MO) that advised the regimental commander as to medical matters and was in charge of/helped the junior doctors?
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