Pecularities of World War i
Due to unanticipated war issues like facing the difficult climate on the Western Front, the medical department had to create both a treatment and evacuation system for patients. This system would have to work in both a “static and mobile environment”. The medical department developed detailed units that were able to provide an array of continuous care from the front line to the back area that was known as the “Theater of Operations”.
Eventually the system was divided into two commands. The commands were the Zone of Armies and the Service of Supply. This diagram illustrates the two commands. The Zone of Armies was an area located about ten miles away from enemy territory. All of these medical groups were exposed to the enemies weapons and also air attacks. This diagram illustrates the distance and names of the medical units. These medical units were to provide immediate care under ‘Division Control’ and ‘Army Control’. The diagram also shows you evacuation hospitals that were stationed 5 to 10 miles from the field hospitals which was part of the Service of Supply Command.
Regimental Aid Stations:
Medical care available closest to the front line was provided by physicians and Medical corps enlisted men. These men were working within an Army infantry division. They were known as “Medical Department personnel on duty with division troops”. “Their purpose was to aid medical care for the divisions infantry and artillery regiments, their machine gun and mortar ballations, the engineers, signalmen and other encouraging units.” The Regimental Aid Station was run by 4-7 officers and 31-43 enlisted men. These men provided the first level of medical care for the sick and wounded.
When the infantry systems were reorganized in 1918, the Regimental Aid Station personnel was scattered in order to provide immediate medical care to the infantry battalions. Due to this change, three new battalion stations were formed to each support 4 infantry companies.. The stations were located at the back of the battalion. Also, two medical corps enlisted men tended to a Company Aid Post. All of these men were trained and supervised by the physicians in charge of the Battalion Aid Stations. Now the role of the Regimental Aid Stations was a headquarters to direct the battalions stations and if need be they could combine the individual stations back into one unit.