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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Air Attacks on 5 ADS

Air Attacks on 5 ADS

At 5 ADS A Company was dive-bombed and machine-gunned four times during the day. Luckily there were no casualties among the staff, but a large bomb, which opened a gaping crater only 25 paces from the dressing station, caused considerable damage to tents and other equipment.

The cold, clear dawn of 15 April brought the first infantry attack at Servia. In bitter fighting the Germans, who had crossed the river during the night, paid heavily in killed, wounded, and prisoners. More air attacks on 5 ADS forced Maj Fisher, who was doing great work under trying conditions, to move the dressing station to some caves high up on the hillside. The raids further hampered the already difficult work of the ambulance men, whose task was made more hazardous through the necessity of treating many of the wounded in the open. On one occasion while wounded, page 83 including some forty Austrian prisoners, were being treated in the open, enemy aircraft dived in low to drop bombs and rake the area with machine-gun fire. By early afternoon the dressing station had treated and evacuated 53 patients. In the evening, when artillery took over the battle to fill the night with the flickering flash and flame of gunfire, Lt Lusk and the bearers again went into the front line to bring out more wounded.

Next day (16 April) the enemy intensified his artillery and bomber attacks; but he made no more infantry attacks at Servia. At 5 MDS the steady flow of casualties continued. From the hills came a bearer section of 2/1 Australian Field Ambulance, weary and footsore after a long, tiring journey, leading donkeys on which wounded were supported. The ⅔ Australian CCS withdrew from Elasson. Thus all forward medical units had to send patients right back to 24 British CCS at Larissa, a journey of over seventy miles.