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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

3. Mobility of Forward Medical Units

3. Mobility of Forward Medical Units

It was stressed by all the divisional medical officers, especially the field ambulance commanders, that the transport on their ordnance equipment was not sufficient to enable the unit to carry all its personnel and equipment, as well as to provide room for casualties to be evacuated during the retreat. The unit had often to be moved in relays by sending back unit transport, and with the congested condition of the roads, crammed with the retreating army, this was very difficult. Although the position was greatly relieved by the detachment of ambulances to all the units by the Australian MAC, yet further transport was deemed to be essential for the future. No. 1 New Zealand General Hospital had no transport and, though a few trucks and ambulances were attached at Pharsala, the unit was in a helpless position at the time of the withdrawal, being entirely dependent on the unstable railway system. It was strongly held that all forward medical units should be self-contained as regards transport, and that no medical unit should be placed in the forward areas without it.