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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

The Medical Plan

The Medical Plan

The operation was of a type completely new to 2 NZ Division medical units. In earlier campaigns the field ambulances had almost invariably been able to collect patients from the RAPs by ambulance car. In the Sangro crossing, however, the regimental medical officers with their staffs and equipment were to move forward on foot; and between the RAPs and the ADS there would be a swiftly-flowing, ice-cold river, fordable only with difficulty even in the most favourable places.

It was certain that there would be casualties before bridges could be erected and ambulance cars could get through. The collection of casualties forward of the RAPs would have to be done by stretcher-bearers as usual, augmented when possible by jeeps, and evacuation from RAP to ADS would have to be by the same slow and laborious means.

The Strada Sangritada, the lateral road on the south bank of the Sangro, was the point nearest to the river to which it would be practicable to run ADS ambulance cars during the infantry crossing. Along this road, opposite the assault area, were the battalions of 5 and 6 Infantry Brigades, and on the evening of the operation car posts, with two four-wheel-drive ambulance cars and one jeep fitted with a two-stretcher frame, would be established. Two ADS stretcher squads and four battalion bearer squads were detailed to cross the river with each medical officer to carry back the wounded. page 318 The ADS bearers were also to be prepared to carry back across the river to the car posts any casualty whose chances of survival would be endangered by an enforced wait at the RAP for the completion of the bridges and the arrival of the ambulance cars. At the ADSs, preparations were made for the treatment of the inevitably large number of cases who would be suffering from shock as a result of the delay in evacuation and the cold, wet conditions.