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Echelon II Medical Treatment WW II
Description of Echelon II Medical Treatment in WW II
The second echelon of support, division-level health-services support, was provided in the infantry and armored division by the division's organic medical battalion.
The battalion had two types of companies: collecting companies and clearing companies. Organic to the battalion were three collecting companies and a clearing company. The collecting companies had ambulance and litter-bearer sections and were responsible for evacuating casualties from the regiments to the division clearing station. Normally, patients were evacuated by ambulance from the battalion aid stations, but if the terrain or the tactical situation would not permit this, they would be transported by the litter-bearer section from the battalion aid station to a collecting station established by the collecting company. There, they would be inspected by a Medical Corps officer, given emergency treatment if required, and then placed on ambulances for transport to the division clearing station.
At the clearing station established by the clearing company, patients were triaged (or sorted), and those who required care beyond the capabilities of the clearing station were prepared for transport to third-echelon treatment facilities, with emergency resuscitative care provided as required. Patients who would be returned to duty in a short period of time -- usually a few hours -- would be held at the station until released. This system is similar to the forward-support/main-support medical company concept employed decades later.
Second-echelon care for nondivisional troops assigned or attached to a corps was provided by a separate medical battalion assigned to the corps, which also provided first-echelon care to those units that lacked an organic medical detachment.
In the army area, first- and second-echelon care was provided to units without an organic capability to provide such care by one of the medical groups assigned to the army.
Material on this page adapted from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (Ft. Leavenworth, KS) publication, "From the Roer to the Elbe with the 1st Medical Group: Medical Support of the Deliberate River Crossing", by Donald E. Hall.
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