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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Medical Preparations for the Left Hook

Medical Preparations for the Left Hook

At El Haseiat the Division made final preparations for its 300-mile sweep into the desert as a self-contained force without roads or supply lines. Petrol for 400 miles and food and water for eight days were loaded up, and the medical units made plans so that facilities for treatment were in no way impaired by the unusual nature of the operation. In a move of 300 miles or more, with no established lines of communication, the evacuation of patients was not practicable. Dressing stations and their surgical teams were to operate wherever necessary and to hold patients or carry them with the Division as conditions demanded. It was arranged that 5 and 6 Field Ambulances and 14 Light Field Ambulance (the medical unit of 4 Light Armoured Brigade, again under command) would move with the Division, as well as two complete surgical teams equipped with hospital beds and additional equipment for brain, chest, and abdominal surgery, and 2 NZ Field Transfusion Unit carrying full stocks of plasma and serum and 104 pints of fresh blood preserved in special refrigerators. All the medical units were equipped with page 248 wireless, ready to be summoned or moved quickly as the need arose. Large quantities of extra dressings, blankets and stretchers, and Red Cross supplies were also carried.

Twenty-five extra AFS cars were attached to the Division, and ten extra to 14 Light Field Ambulance, to build the total number to 75 so that mobility could be maintained even in spite of heavy casualties. In the event of complete isolation, the medical organisation, by using empty ASC trucks to carry the less serious cases, would have enabled many hundreds of patients to be treated and held or carried with the Division until the situation improved.