[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — 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.]
CHAPTER VI: SUPPLY, EVACUATION, AND MOVEMENTS
Section V. EVACUATION
1. Maintenance and Repair of Equipment
a. GENERAL. Perhaps the fundamental German principle of repair and maintenance is that equipment should be repaired as far forward as possible.
Practically all the installations that deal with repair and maintenance of equipment also participate in the flow of supplies, both in transferring repaired equipment back to units and in moving newly manufactured equipment to units (see Sections II and III). In the following paragraphs, therefore, they will be treated solely from the point of view of rearward flow.
b. MOTOR TRANSPORT. Maintenance of an individual vehicle is the responsibility of the driver and the crew, but for repairs it is sent to one of a number of repair centers. While the procedure that determines which center shall undertake the repair has changed from time to time, it probably is determined by two factors: the number of working hours; and the facilities needed to effect the repair. Thus maintenance (Instandsetzungs) detachments and sections probably carry out repairs requiring less than four working hours with the tools at their disposal, while mobile field workshop (Werkstatt) units carry out repairs requiring less than 12 working hours. If the damage inflicted is too extensive for the facilities of the mobile workshops, the vehicle is sent to an Army Motor Transport Park (AKP) or to a Field Army Motor Transport Park (HeKP). The difference of functions between these two types of installations is not clear: it is likely, however, that the more difficult repair jobs are sent to the HeKP, while the AKP handle repairs that can be completed in less than 24 working hours. The disposition of the vehicle from these centers may be as follows: it may be repaired or scrapped; it may be forwarded to a Home Motor Transport Park (HKP), which is capable of carrying out all types of repairs; or, in the case of an AKP, the vehicle may be forwarded to a HeKP.
While the exact position of collecting points in the rearward movement of damaged vehicles is not certain, it is very likely that whenever possible vehicles move directly to repair and maintenance centers under their own power without passing through collecting points.
c. TANKS, ARMORED VEHICLES, AND SELF-PROPELLED WEAPONS. Minor repairs to armored vehicles (including tanks, self-propelled weapons, and other armored vehicles) are made by unit mechanics and by mobile tank-workshop units. If the repairs cannot be completed in the division area within three days, the vehicles may be sent to semi-permanent army tank workshops or to Field Army Tank Parks or Bases. When armored vehicles are so badly damaged that they cannot be repaired in the field, they are cannibalized or forwarded to tank equipment depots or factories in the home area. In the latter case the vehicles are no longer under Field Army control and are not returned to the units to which they were originally assigned.
Armored vehicles are repaired on the spot if possible. Otherwise they are moved rearward under their own power. Tank transporters are used only when long movements are contemplated or when vehicles cannot move under their own power.
d. OTHER EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING. All types of equipment including weapons, signal equipment, bicycles, and clothing are repaired within the division area if possible. If the equipment (other than clothing and individual equipment) requires more specialized attention, it is forwarded either directly or through equipment collecting points or workshop units to one of the army parks. Equipment which cannot be repaired in the field is directed to a home equipment park, depot, or factory. Damaged clothing and individual equipment generally pass from collecting points direct to home clothing depots and dumps. Figure 6, which is largely compiled from German schematics, should be examined for other details of the German repair methods.
2. Evacuation of Installations
With the narrowing of the Zone of the Interior, the Germans have been faced with the problem of what to do with depots that were formerly part of the Zone of the Interior system of supply. Variant courses adopted have been the conversion of the installation into a field installation, the evacuation of the depot to the new Zone of the Interior, and the operation of the depot as though it were still within the Zone of the Interior.
3. Evacuation of Wounded
a. GENERAL. The German system for the evacuation of casualties is based upon an immediate sorting of the wounded so that soldiers who are not seriously injured can be returned to their units as quickly as possible, and those who are severely wounded can receive medical care with maximum speed. Under combat conditions the accomplishment of these ends in many cases will cause deviations from the normal system. A good example of this was shown in the early part of the Russian campaign when the great distances between the combat zone and the Zone of the Interior forced the Germans to use a chain of Casualty Collecting Points to control and expedite the rearward movement of sick and wounded.
Now that the combat zone has moved into Germany proper, deviations of an integrating nature should be anticipated.
b. CHANNELS OF EVACUATION. (1) Casualties unable to walk are carried from the battlefield by battalion stretcher bearers, while those still capable of walking are directed to the Battalion Aid Station (Verwundetennest) which is located as close to the front line as is practicable. The Battalion Aid Station gives first aid in emergency cases. As quickly as movements can be made, it passes the wounded to the Regimental Aid Station (Truppenverbandplatz), which is generally some 200 to 500 yards to the rear of the front line. At this station the wounded receive first aid and are sorted into ambulatory cases and stretcher cases. Stretcher cases are carried by litter to an Ambulance Loading Post (Wagenhalteplatz) for rearward movement, while ambulatory cases are instructed to make their way rearward on foot.
(2) Usually the stretcher cases are sent to a Main Dressing Station (Hauptverbandplatz), whereas the walking wounded move to a Collecting Point for the Slightly Wounded (Leichtverwundetensammelplatz). The latter two installations, both controlled by the regimental medical officer, sometimes operate as a combined unit, and in practically all cases are located reasonably close to each other. Their functions are as follows:
The Main Dressing Station attends the serious cases. It contains a surgical unit which performs amputations, applies dressings and splints, checks hemorrhages, gives blood transfusions, and administers sedatives and preventative injections. After treatment the casualties are evacuated further rearward.
The Collecting Point for the Slightly Wounded administers to casualties whose treatment requires only a few days. When the treatment is completed, the men are returned to combat. If, however, a case has taken a more serious turn, the wounded soldier is evacuated rearward.
(3) From the regimental area casualties may be taken to any of the various types of hospitals (Lazarette) found in the field or at home. Casualty Collecting Points (Krankensammelstellen) usually are set up along the line of evacuation to facilitate the grouping of casualties and their distribution to the rear. These points are generally established at railheads and other traffic centers by ambulance units. They do not handle casualties whose condition will not permit movement. Mobile Field Hospitals (Feldlazarette) serve as way stations for casualties who cannot be moved through the Casualty Collecting Points. They may be operated either by an army or by a division. Wherever possible, the Field Hospital is set up in available permanent buildings. It is equipped to handle any casualty and has a capacity of 200 beds.
(4) Casualties who are physically able to be evacuated after treatment at the Main Dressing Station or the Field Hospital are moved either directly, or via the Casualty Collecting Points, to a Base Hospital (Kriegslazarett) or sometimes to a General Hospital (Reservelazarett).
Base Hospitals are large and relatively permanent installations which may be established by an army or the Field Army well to the rear of the combat zone. These hospitals are of two types: General Base Hospitals (Kriegslazarette), with normal accommodations for 500 cases, for casualties who require up to eight weeks' treatment before being discharged and for those who require a period of convalescence before moved to Reserve Hospitals; and Base Hospitals for Minor Cases (Leichtkrankenkriegslazarette), with accommodations for 1,000 patients, for casualties who need up to four weeks' of treatment or convalescence prior to discharge.
General Hospitals are permanent installations located inside Germany and are supervised by the Chief of Army Equipment; they are dealt with at length in Chapter I.
(5) A man may be pronounced fit for duty by any hospital. If he is in a forward hospital, he will be returned to his unit. If he is in a General Hospital for more than eight weeks, he will he returned to the Replacement Army for reassignment.
c. TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES. Hospital trains (Lazarettzüge) can carry between 358 and 386 lying cases or 920 sitting cases.
Standard German ambulances transport four lying cases, or two lying and four sitting cases, or eight sitting cases.
Horse-drawn vehicles, trucks, and hospital planes also may be used in evacuating the wounded.
4. Evacuation of Horses
a. CHANNELS OF EVACUATION. Sick and wounded horses are marched by foot from the battlefield to a Horse Dressing Station (Pferdeverbandplatz), where emergency cases are treated. They then are marched or transported in horse transport columns to a station set up by the Division Veterinary Company (Veterinärkompanie). This station can be established within a minimum of six hours and can treat 150 cases. If the horses require further treatment, they are moved by horse transport columns to the Army Horse Hospital (Armeepferdelazarett) or to the Field Army Horse Hospital (Heerespferdelazarett). Such field hospitals can be established within a minimum of 12 hours and can handle 500 sick horses. Horse Collecting Points (Pferdesammelplätz) are formed generally to expedite the evacuation of horses to the rear. Normally there is an Army Horse Collecting Point (Armeepferdesammelplatz), intermediate between division and army, and a Division Horse Collecting Point (Divisionspferdesammelplatz) at division. Evacuated horses may be moved either directly or through these collecting points to the rear. Horses which require special surgical operations and those not likely to be fit again for army use are moved by rail from the field hospitals to the Zone of the Interior Home Horse Hospitals (Heimatpferdelazarette).
b. TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES. Horse transport trains (Pferdetransportzüge) are composed of 55 cars, each carrying six sick or wounded horses, or a total of 350 horses per train. The standard horse transport road column can move 40 sick or wounded horses about 90 miles in one day.
5. Evacuation of Prisoners of War
Guard details drawn from the military police or from the combat unit itself take prisoners to the Division Prisoner of War Collecting Point (Divisionsgefangenensammelstelle). The Prisoners of War are next moved to the Army Prisoner of War Collecting Point (Armeegefangenensammelstelle), the guard details being drawn from military police, combat troops, or guard units. The Prisoners of War are lastly transferred from the jurisdiction of the Field Army to the Replacement Army Command. This is accomplished when the Prisoners of War are moved by rail to one of the Prisoner of War Camps within Germany. Officers are incarcerated in Officer Prisoner of War Camps (Offizierlager or Oflag); enlisted men are confined in Enlisted Men's Prisoner of War Camps (Mannschafts-Stammlager or Stalag).
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