[Lone Sentry: Some Notes on Health Precautions, WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
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"Some Notes on Health Precautions" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following article on military health precautions in WWII originally appeared in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 29, July 15, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


Certain elementary precautions for use in tropical warfare are contained in the following notes taken from British sources.

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Reports of the operations in New Guinea emphasize the necessity of a high standard of physical fitness; all troops must arrive in the area fit and hard. In order to maintain this high standard, close attention to unit and personal hygiene is at all times essential. In the jungle, troops often bivouac in small detachments, and it must be their personal responsibility to ensure that the precautions that they have been taught are faithfully observed. Strict adherence to malaria discipline is particularly important; otherwise, a force may suffer more casualties from malaria than through enemy action.

Clothing and boots are continually wet in the damp climate of most tropical countries, and full use must be made of every opportunity of drying them. In particular, boots should be removed at least once a day and the feet dried by vigorous rubbing. Neglect of this precaution may lead to personnel becoming ineffective through a form of trench foot. Arms and legs must be kept covered as protection against insects and infection from the undergrowth, and troops must be prepared to wear slacks instead of shorts in spite of the discomfort.

The provision of hot meals or hot drink is as important in the jungle as elsewhere, but when in close contact with the enemy, the necessity for concealment makes any form of cooking difficult. Troops should be capable of doing their own cooking, but experience has shown that supervision is necessary to ensure that mess equipment is properly cleaned after use in order to avoid dysentery.

Although what follows is not perhaps immediately related to this general subject, nevertheless it is not wholly out of place here. Many casualties have been caused among troops who have gone to the aid of wounded men during their advance. Troops must not be deflected from the operation in hand, and must realize that they will be of more assistance to the wounded by pushing on to their objectives and thus enabling medical personnel to come forward. The Japanese often fire along lanes in the jungle and, when possible, casualties should try to crawl to a flank where they can be aided in greater safety.


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