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tv   Reel America Medical Service in the Invasion of Normandy - 1944  CSPAN  May 27, 2019 9:43pm-10:02pm EDT

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all weekend every weekend on cspan 3. >> this is england. before june 6, 1944. from the source the united nations was soon to launch the greatest military expedition of its kind in history. the first channel invasion of europe against the power. preparations were being made. huge quantities of material and supplies collected. guns. bombs. ambulances. s ambulances. we are in the midst of all of this
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preparation and the training that went on. preparations for the business of saving life and preserving limb and easing pain. through the endless months of wargames and maneuvers. they worked with the units and grew tough and ignored the conditions. they learned the prime importance of speed. as the drain tested they drew near, medical corps drafted plans. the position of hospital facilities in england would be as follows. >> in the north, scattered over a wide area, the general hospitals. large institutions, completely equipped for every type of medical service. a few miles in land from the south coast, would be a series of hospitals.
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for which would pass all the casualties arriving in england. here they would be classified and routed to the various general hospitals in the north. along the coast, close to the beaches and --, there would be holding hospitals. fully equipped for emergency surgery. serious cases could receive attention, immediately on the arrival and england's. these were the plans. this was the reality. the general hospital, the transit hospital and the holding hospital. better equipped than many permanent institutions back home. the tent stood empty. ready and waiting for the day. june 6, the day, a great plan is put to the test.
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>> the medics have moved in and the work begins. stations are established on the spot. also an astounding record starts piling up. the check up later revealed 90% of the wounded received medical care within 10 minutes of being hit. worst wound gets priority.
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to go back to the boat that landed them a short time before. this is part of the plan. the lfts are unable to come in close enough. the smaller crafter used to get the wounded to them. the ships received damaged human cargo for the trip back. all along the beach as they wait. the fighting develops, every means is used to hasten the removal of the wounded from the scene of the battle. the chief of all trades is pressed into service and proves itself again. set out with a flood of wounded. through it all, the slogan of speed remains the keynote. the lst used in the normandy invasion
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were designed to become emergency hospital ships as soon as the fighting cargoes have been deposited for sure. >> wall brackets were installed. each could accommodate 200 and where patients. in the first days of the invasion, 90% were evacuated on the ships. the smoke and a drink of water and trophies and rest. the dead rest of exhaustion. elsewhere, i life is being saved. someone can't wait. planning included in operating room on each lst. also an experienced army surgeon. soon it will be england again and rest and care and safety.
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the routing of the ships had been carefully planned to avoid congestion anyone landing point on the english coast. each shift disembarked wounded , those cases needing immediate surgery or other treatment were moved to the nearest boarding hospital. then as soon as they were transportable again , they were moved inland to the transit hospital serving the area. move directly to the landing point of the transit hospital. from there were routed by special train to the north. every preparation had been made. ambulance company strung out all along the coast. they were under the control of evacuation offices of each area. 5000 of these vehicles stood by, ready for immediate service. the ship start coming in. some to portend some to peers in outlying areas. others pull up onto the beaches.
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>> no time is lost . specially trained sanitary companies take over jobs and the business of unloading begins. evacuation officers supervise. the disposition of each liver case has been decided. and so man helps man. and american teamwork proves itself once more, and the job is shortly done. the emergency cases move out first. often it's only a matter of minutes before a dangerous wound has been x-rayed. a decision made, and a patient
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readied for surgery. as soon after the operation as it's safe for him to travel, he's moved out, sent off to the transit hospital. in normandy, the fighting has moved inland. in the last war when a soldier was wounded, he just had to watch and wait until a man found him. now the order is reversed. the aid man does the watching and waiting and is at the side of the casualty as soon as he becomes one. in addition, the american corpsman today, unlike his counterpart in previous wars, is qualified to administer morphine and plasma and to render numerous other services to the
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wounded. all this is making a vast difference in the saving of life. some of the wounded filter back to the aid station on foot. but evacuation by walking and hand litter bearing soon gives way to the faster method of evacuation by jeep. a battalion aid station operates just behind the lines. here the trained corpsman again demonstrates his value, taking over many jobs that the physician would otherwise have to perform. this frees the doctor's time for more detailed attention to the serious cases. next, the wounded are brought to a collecting station a mile or so farther back.
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there are facilities here for further emergency treatment if needed. but the primary job is the transporting the wounded with all possible speed to the clearing station. this is located far enough to the rear to avoid exposure to direct enemy action. here medical officers pert in judging the condition of casualties sort the patients and determine their disposition. surgeon cases needing certain specialized types of surgery are turned over to the field hospital which is set up close by. a great majority of operations here are for perforating abdominal wounds and sucking wounds of the chest like this one. whole blood flown in from
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england consolidates the gains that have been made by life-saving plasma at the front. on d-day plus four, the first evacuation hospital goes up in france. this is the largest and most elaborate type of installation used in the combat zone. nevertheless, it's ready to receive patients within 30 minutes, and operating starts in two hours, three of them going on at once. count them. skilled army nurses look after the patients, and there are such comforts as cots and mattresses and hot food. many of the less seriously wounded will make complete recoveries here and report to replacement depots in a matter of days. but cases requiring prolonged periods of convalescence are sent back to england. plane evacuation, expected to
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begin about d-day plus seven is actually begun on d-day plus three. within a fort night we're flying out more than a thousand wounded a day, and sea evacuation has been almost entirely supplanted. the air trip from france to england takes about an hour. speed has won another triumph, and it becomes a common occurrence for a soldier wounded in france in the morning to be resting in a general hospital in england by evening. from the landing field, the
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patients are shuttled to the transit hospital, and before long they're boarding the hospital trains that pull out daily from nearby railway spurs for the trip north. and the last leg of the journey begins. the general hospitals are telling some remarkable stories these days, like 16,000 casualties handled by one group and only 15 deaths. what is making such records possible, of course, is the fine condition in which patients are arriving due to the splendid work of units all along the line. in the first two months of the invasion, some 76,000 wounded
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were handled by the medical department. in world war i, 8% of these men would not have survived. today, less than 3% are being lost, and many who would have been invalided for life will have been totally healed. so the careful planning of months bears fruit, and men who knew the battlefield but a few short hours back, knew the pain, the suffering, now know the care, the comfort, and the hope that the best in modern medicine can bring. ♪ >> you can watch archival films on public affairs in their entirety on our weekly series "reel america," saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern here on american
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history tv. american history tv is on c-span3 every weekend, featuring museum tours, archival films, and programs on the presidency, the civil war, and more. here's a clip from a recent program. >> but systematically, step by step, the redemptionists, the former confederate wrote, the south indeed rose again, and they disenfranchised those black men. and they did it in such a clever way. you couldn't -- what are you going to do? the 13th and 14th and 15th amendments are ratified, right, so you couldn't get rid of them. but you can go around them. starting with the mississippi plan, there were state constitutions which then unfolded over the next 16 years in each of the former confederate states. and that's when they established poll taxes, literacy tests,
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comprehension tests that only a law professor could possibly understand. you want to know how dramatically effective these state constitutional conventions were? louisiana won the majority of black states in 19 -- 1889 before their state constitutional convention, had 1 130,000 black men registered to vote. the new constitution was ratified in 1898. by 1904, that number of 130,000 black men registered to vote had been reduced to 1,342. there were 2,000 black men elected to office according to eric phoner during the reconstruction period. the last reconstruction congressman, george henry white, bids farewell to the congress in 1901, and there wouldn't be another black man elected to the
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congress until 1929, when oscar depriest from chicago is elected to congress. how is he elected to congress? because all those black people took part in the great migration, went from mississippi particularly to chicago, went from mississippi and the other southern states north. and because of the 15th amendment, they had the right to vote. so they vote a northerner in to the congress. >> you can watch this and other american history programs on our website, where all our video is archived. that's c-span.org/history. this year marks the 75th anniversary of the june 6th, 1944 d-day invasion of nazi-occupied france. normandy, the airborne invasion of fortress europe, is an hour-long documentary produced by the u.s. army air forces.
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the film details the planning, training, combat operations, and after-battle summaries of the airborne forces with an emphasis on more than 500 gliders that were dropped behind enemy lines on the morning of june 6th. ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, the picture you're about to see is as informative a film document as made by the army air force. it reveals operations of gliders in the invasion of normandy, gliders which we helped to manufacture. you will not soon forget this picture. you may even be able to recognize gliders which you built with your own

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