Part VI

Section I -- GENERAL

  1. The Medical Annex of the HUSKY plan was based upon the primary functions of the Medical Department in the operation. These consisted of, first, the providing of medical and surgical care of all personnel involved in the operation from the time they embarked until they landed on the invasion beaches and, second, the evacuation of the sick and wounded from the reaches during the assault phase and until adequate medical facilities were established ashore.

  2. The medical departments of all ships assumed the responsibility for the treatment of the sick of all personnel of all services enroute to the invasion beaches. In the larger ships separate sick calls were held for Army and Navy personnel, and Army Medical Officers were invited to assist for the purpose of making required Army records. The medical personnel of both services cooperated in a most satisfactory manner for the best interests of all concerned. Boat crews of small landing craft were indoctrinated in first aid procedures and satisfactorily cared for personnel injured on trips between the ships and the beaches.

  3. The evacuation organization was made up of the following units:

    1. Medical Sections of the Navy Beach Battalions

    2. Ambulance Boats

    3. Evacuation Ships

    4. Hospital facilities on friendly shores.


  1. The medical sections of the Navy Beach Battalion functioned in a satisfactory manner. Causalities were evacuated from the beaches as expeditiously as planned and as could be expected tinder the existing circumstances but, because of their small number, the medical personnel were not called upon for as much activity as they had been trained to expect. This should not be allowed to modify in any way the recognition of their value and necessity in future operations. Casualty evacuation was handled satisfactorily. Identifying data on Army wounded and the ships to which they were evacuated were furnished Army commands promptly. There were no reports of Army causalities being carried as missing on Army rolls due to a lack of information concerning their evacuation.

  2. The duties of Navy Beach Battalions, including the Medical Sections, are difficult because the personnel must land in the earliest stages of the assault and operate in the initial period of overlapping Army and Navy jurisdictions. There was a lack of understanding on the part of the Army and Navy Medical Sections about the limits of their responsibilities, both in the treatment of casualties on the beaches and their evacuation seaward. The latter is purely a Navy responsibility and is under the control of the Beachmaster whose duty it is to decide when, where and how causalities shall be evacuated seaward. These responsibilities are clearly defined in Standing Operating Procedure, Amphibious Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet which has been placed in effect throughput this force. The difficulties which arose are considered to have been due to insufficient understanding of these instructions, particularly by Army Medical Personnel. There was much dissatisfaction expressed by the personnel of Navy Medical sections over lack of duties to be performed as she fighting moved inland and the Army began establishing hospital facilities ashore.

Ambulance Boats.

  1. Beachmasters were instructed to make use of all landing craft for the evacuation of founded on the return trips. Patients were taken aboard at the beaches after having received satisfactory first aid ashore and were transported expeditiously to the evacuation ships. Here they were taken aboard either by litter hoists or by hoisting the boat to the rail and removing the patients. The latter was found impractical in a few instances to the delay entailed in moving urgently needed troops and supplies ashore, and occasionally in boats not rigged for the boom. Some the boats returning with stretcher causalities had carelessly allowed stretchers to be stowed on slings, resulting in delay in recovering the slings for hoisting the boats. Some ships made use disabled boats for hoisting patients aboard. Boat returning with patients came alongside the disabled boats, transferred their patients and the disabled boats were then hoisted to the rail.




  1. The Transports (APA's and AKA's) remained in the area D, D plus 1, and D plus 2 days during which time they received causalities from the DIME and CENT beaches. All types of casualties were taken aboard and treated in an efficient and business-like manner that entirely justified the increased medical personnel and equipment aboard. They were not over-burdened because casualties were much lighter than expected, but this does not detract from the excellent work they performed, since it is believed they could have handled capacity loads had the necessity been present. These ships are large valuable troop carriers and once their troops and equipment are unloaded, they should leave the area as quickly as possible to avoid unnecessary exposure to enemy action. They are capable of caring for large numbers of all types of battle causalities only while discharging troops and equipment. They must be supplemented by other means of evacuation after their departure, if such is needed.

Landing Ship Tank (LST's).

  1. These ships furnished the principal troop lift in the JOSS area. Since no transports were available, they had to be accepted for casualty evacuation. Each ship has a small compact sick bay suitable only for routine sick call and minor surgery, or an occasional job of emergency major surgery. Regularly assigned medical complement is one pharmacist's mate 1st class, with a medical officer in each division of 4 to 6 ships. To bolster these facilities a medical personnel pool of 100 officers and 400 enlisted men was established at the embarkation port (Bizerta). It consisted of 52 Naval Medical officers and 250 hospital corpsmen, the remaining officers and enlisted men being detailed for the duty by the Army. Each outgoing combat-loaded LST carried a medical complement of 1 officer and 5 enlisted men, including the regularly attached pharmacist's mate. Not only were the LST's assigned to the JOSS area so provided, but those assigned to the DIME and CENT areas as well. Seventy-two LST's were thus provided for and the remaining personnel in the pool was kept in reserve for use as needed. A medical supplies dump was established in connection with the personnel pool in order that a constant flow of evacuation supplies to the beaches could be maintained. These supplies were furnished by the medical storehouses of the Mediterranean Base Section, U.S. Army.

  2. The Army was not entirely pleased with the prospect of evacuating causalities in LST's, so a compromise was agreed to, whereby casualties were classified before evacuation into evacuables, who could be safely transported from the beaches to the Tunis-Bizerta area, and non-evacuables. The latter were, those requiring major surgery during the expected period of transit. These were to be held over for evacuation by a transport in the DIME or CENT areas or by a hospital ship which could be called in if necessary. Fortunately, there were no non-evacuables in the JOSS area during the early days of the operation.

  3. The ships were provided with sufficient cots for approximately 150 patients each. After troops and equipment had been unloaded, the tank deck was made ready for the reception of casualties. Army cots were set up and as patients came aboard over the ramp they were placed in them and given such care and assistance as was indicated. The largest number evacuated in one ship was 118, and it was found that 4 enlisted men and one officer were sufficient for their care. Many of the ships received fewer than 12 patients, some never received any. From the experiences gained it is felt that LST's are quite suitable as evacuation ships under the conditions met in the Sicilian campaign, namely, short haul patient lifts limited to sick and lightly wounded and relatively few patients.

  4. It was planned to install standee bunks in the after part of the tank deck in a certain number of these ships for causalities, thus eliminating the need for cots. The necessary materials were not made available before the operation and no opportunity was offered to observe their use. Troop bunks may be used, if desired, for causalities.

  5. Recommendations.

    1. Install standee bunks for 150 patients per ship.

    2. Plan a medical complement of 1 officer and 4 enlisted men when these ships are to be used to transport wounded.

    3. Limit their patient lifts to lightly wounded and sick who will not require major surgery or unusual medical treatment while in transit.


    1. Medical personnel should be well trained in the giving of plasma, the application and adjustment of splints and bandages, treatment of burns and general nursing care.

Landing Craft, Infantry (LCI's).

  1. It was planned to use these ships, if necessary, for the evacuation of ambulatory wounded and sick. It was not necessary to use them, hence no opinion can be given as to their usefulness as evacuation ships.

Hospital Ships and Hospital Carriers.

  1. There were about 15 of these ships available in the Mediterranean for use in the operation. Two were U.S. Army hospital ships and the remainder British and Canadian. The plan for their operational control by higher echelons proved too complicated for efficiency and a certain amount of confusion resulted. They had to be used for the evacuation of causalities after the transports left the area, and the effects of the lack of a simple plan for their control became evident. Too much time was required to transmit the requests for their services and the Army hospitals in Sicily became overcrowded awaiting their appearance. They failed to arrive in the proper places at the proper times or they arrived in areas where they were not needed and where they endangered other ships and installations by silhouetting them at night with their lights.

  2. Recommendations:

    1. Place all hospital ships and carriers available for an operation in a pool and provide for a direct simple routing of requests for their services from the requesting authority to those exercising operational control over them.

    2. Plan their arrival in the area for sunrise. Have them leave the area at sunset to return the following sunrise, if necessary to complete loading.

    3. ConCENTrate them at a point close enough to the area so that they may be sent into the area with the least possible delay.


  1. The transports evacuated wounded to Oran; LST's and hospital ships and carriers to Tunis-Bizerta. Each ship prepared a list of wounded aboard, giving name, rank or rate, service number, organization, date wounded, received aboard and transferred, and condition upon transfer. Copies of these reports were furnished the Senior Army and Navy officer present in the port to which evacuated. There were no "lost" cases reported. Army patients were evacuated to Army hospitals. Navy patients were sorted and those that could be treated in Naval Dispensaries were taken there, the remainder transferred to Army hospitals.

  2. One group of Transports was destined to sail to the United States. Their patients were divided into two groups: those whose hospital expectancy was less than 90 days and those who were not believed to be able to stand the voyage were transferred ashore; those whose hospital expectancy was more than 90 days and those attached to Army or Navy units temporarily assigned to the theatre for the operation were kept aboard for return to the United States.


  1. Causalities among the U.S. Naval Personnel participating in the Sicilian campaign between July 10th and August 17th, 1943 are listed below:

    Killed in action, died of wound


    Missing in action


    Wounded in action


  2. These figures are based upon reports available at this time and are subject to modification as delayed reports continue to arrive from smaller ships and Army hospitals. The U.S.S. Maddox reported 209 missing in action. The circumstances surrounding the destruction of this ship in combat are such that there is a very strong probability that these were killed in action. Personnel reported as wounded in action are those receiving injuries incident to actual combat. Injuries due to operational and other non-combat causes outside the combat area and medical conditions such as war neurosis, combat fatigue are not included.


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Transcribed and formatted by Ken Jacobs for the HyperWar Foundation