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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Evacuation of Wounded

Evacuation of Wounded


Evacuation to the MDS: The provision of twenty AFS ambulance cars at the beginning of the campaign built up adequate transport for the evacuation of cases from the actual battlefield back to the MDS. There were only eight ambulances normally available for each field ambulance at this period and five were destroyed during the Minqar Qaim breakthrough. The courage and efficiency page 359 of the ambulance drivers of both groups drew forth high praise, both at this time and generally throughout the later campaigns. The AFS's four-wheel-drive ambulance cars could go farther forward in soft sand or sticky mud than some of the other ambulance cars, and their drivers were always more than willing to take them farther forward to bring out wounded from battle areas. The foresight in obtaining the extra cars enabled many lives to be saved.


Evacuation from the MDS: This was regularly carried out by 2 British MAC. There was only one hitch when contact was lost during the retirement of 15 CCS with 2 MAC across the desert to the Delta, in accordance with an Army plan to provide a southern evacuation route, which was proved impracticable. Travelling by ambulance car over the rough desert militated greatly against the recovery of the serious cases. Extra transport by trucks was supplied at times for light cases by NZASC.

From the Alamein line air transport was utilised from the MDS area, both by air ambulance and by transport planes. Two of the latter were destroyed by the enemy and few air ambulances were available. Abdominal cases and chest cases with disturbance of respiration were held, but head cases, spinal injuries, and fractures travelled well and were saved much pain and exhaustion.