Forum

You have 0 bookmarked item(s)
Viewing Topic "Elite title on WW II Medical Treatment"
  Topic Description
Posted by: C-Bone
Posted on: 13/09/2016 02:45:20

8 Item(s)     Sort:  Newest Oldest

per page
 
  Post
Posted by: C-Bone
Total Posts: 12
Joined Date: Sunday, 12 June 2016

I'm pretty sure I've suggested this in the past under "Books I'd Like to Read," but since Elite frequently covers tactics, how about a title on casualty evacuation and treatment in WW II?

Posted on: 13/09/2016 02:45:20
Posted by: Neil Grant
Total Posts: 13
Joined Date: Friday, 27 March 2015

I've actually thought about this as a book to pitch (though I'd probably do so as WW1 + WW2) but the problem is that to do a really good job, you need to be looking at how injuries and medical treatment evolves, rather than just showing pretty pictures of ambulances and nurses.

The key problem with that is that you spend a good deal of time having to teach readers basic medicine ("so what is the actual effect of being hit by a high velocity bullet, compared to a low velocity shell fragment?") and how much difference (for example) having blood transfusions makes....and the advantages / disadvantages of the US methods (dehydrated plasma, as far forward as possible) versus the british ones (whole blood, further back).  It's easy to wind up writing a medical textbook.

You also need to explain what you don't have in period, but that we take for granted.  For example, the most striking thing about feild surgery on the western front is the heavily contaminated battlefield, combined with the absense of effective antibiotics.  This drives very high levels of amputations, as it's the only way to treat things like gangrene.     

Equally, we get less burn casualties among tank crew in germany in early 1945 than we do in normandy or the desert, not because of anything wonderful, but simply because crews are more likely to be wearing wool battledress with the sleeves rolled down, and that gives you the extra few sconds of protection that makes the difference between "painful surface burns" and "You don't make it out of the turret"

There's also a problem in that only the americans and british (and the french, in WW1) are actually innovating on the battlefield, which gives you a somewhat odd layout.  The section on Germany in WW2 would basically say "...and the Germans carried on doing the same old thing as in WW1, and didn't adopt any of the new advances"

There's also the question of medical treatment for casualty prevention, rather than casualty treatment.  For example, the very effective anti-malarial protocols adopted by the british in burma by the end of the war undoubtedly contribute more to winning the war there than any medical advance in treating battle casualties, but is the "stereotypical" osprey market likely to be interested?

Posted on: 15/09/2016 08:43:15
Posted by: C-Bone
Total Posts: 12
Joined Date: Sunday, 12 June 2016

Hi Neil,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.  I suppose the way I envisioned it, the book would be about the process of casualty evacuation, from first aid posts to casualty clearing stations, then back to base hospitals.  Do you think with that focus, there wouldn't be a need to delve too deeply into the nature of wounds?

Posted on: 16/09/2016 23:15:51
Posted by: Neil Grant
Total Posts: 13
Joined Date: Friday, 27 March 2015

The trouble is that the nature of wounds drives treatment, right from the start of the casualty chain.

Let's take an example - a British tank tank in NW europe gets hit.   Now, that gives me potential casualties which might include shrapnel or spall injuries of varying severity, broken limbs or burns from the initial impact, plus gunshot wounds when they are machine gunned as they escape.

It's a five man crew, so let's assume one of each, plus a fatality and a psychological casualty for completeness (....only too likely; about 10% of British tank crews evacuated from their units are for psychological breakdown)

Now, the tank is (almost by definition) on or ahead of the front line, so they've initially got to sort themselves out.  The tank has two first aid kits (one stowed internally, one stowed externally in case I didn't pick the internal one up in my hurry to exit the burning tank).  whether I'll even bother with that depends heavily on the wounds and situation, though.  I'll certainly use it if I've got people bleeding out, but there's nothing in there for my burns victim except maybe morphine, and if I need him moving, he may not even get that.

Either way, if some or all of the crew are mobile, they'll make their way back to the start line, carrying their more seriously wounded comrades.  If they aren't, they'll have to hope they get picked up by the MO or Padre in one of the medical section's two half tracks.

Either way, they get back to the Regimental Aid Post, and get triaged by the MO.

The burns victim gets morphine if he hasn't already had it, and sent back - there's nothing the MO can do apart from clean his wounds, and he's probably not even going to do that if he's under pressure.  Depending on how badly he's burned, he may even be shipped back to the UK for reconstructive surgery.

The gunshot victim is also going back, but maybe not as far - a base hospital can give him everything he needs, including transfusions, or amputation of the round has (say) shattered one of the long bones in his leg.  He may or may not return, and (unlike a US unit) it'll probably be his orginal unit he comes back to.

The shrapnel casualty is probably going to get his wound dressed, but quite possibly just get assigned to the rear echelon and return quite quickly to light / admin duties, before returning to full fitness and normal duties

The psychological casualty will get immediate treatment for shock within his unit (even if it's only a hot meal, a stiff drink and 24 hrs rest) which actually sorts quite a lot of them out and he'll return to his previous duties.  More serious cases may be re-assigned within their own unit (say, driving a supply truck, rather than a tank) or within theatre (eg as a storeman in the rear, rather than in combat) with only the worst cases being evacuated completely.

The fatality will have his ID disc recovered when his body is recovered, and will be buried by the unit padre.

So, as you can see, we are looking at quite a complex story, even before we start looking at how this differs if we ran the same scene in (for example) a US marine BLT on one of the pacific islands or a russian infantry unit on the eastern front.

Now, because that's how I think about stuff doesn't mean it is the only way it can be done, but I think the important thing is to get you an idea of what front line medical units will / can do, rather than worrying about whether the casualty is being moved in an M3 halftrack as here, or in a jeep stretcher carrier/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: 17/09/2016 16:25:11
Posted by: C-Bone
Total Posts: 12
Joined Date: Sunday, 12 June 2016

Hi Neil,

Once again, you bring up some excellent points.  Do you think a General Military on Allied medical care in NW Europe would be more realistic?  That way, you've got more pages to work with than an Elite, and you're focusing on a specific theater and side.

Posted on: 17/09/2016 22:47:38
Posted by: Neil Grant
Total Posts: 13
Joined Date: Friday, 27 March 2015

Ah, now we're getting into the annoying catch-22 situation - a general military book wouldn't have the colour plates, which would definitely be an asset; there are surprisingly few photos showing medical units or procedures, beyond "cheery wounded soldier with arm in sling smoking cigarette".  Remember that most of the military photos we see from WW2 are taken by army photographers for a specific purpose and mission (effectively, propaganda and morale) and showing your own casualties rarely helps with that.

As an aside, there are already some fairly good books available these days looking at battlefield medicone from napoleonic times onward, and a far numer of Great War and WW2 diries of military doctors, nurses and other medical personnel have been published

Posted on: 18/09/2016 08:20:43
Posted by: PAUL W
Total Posts: 271
Joined Date: Sunday, 4 January 2015

I'd be interested in either Elites world war 1 and or 2 or a general military.

Posted on: 20/09/2016 21:38:49
Posted by: C-Bone
Total Posts: 12
Joined Date: Sunday, 12 June 2016

Hi Neil.

Catch-22.  Excellent novel, but a real thorn in your side in real life!  I've read some diaries by medical personnel during the World Wars.  There's also a book on British Napoleonic surgery I've seen on amazon.  Looks pretty good.

Posted on: 20/09/2016 22:17:30

8 Item(s)     Sort:  Newest Oldest

per page
 

Who is online

 
User(s) browsing this topic: 1. 0 logged-in customer(s) and 1 guest(s) (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)