The Invasion of Normandy: The Wounded
The German defenses on the Normandy beaches were formidable and well designed, while the troops manning them were efficient and well-disciplined veterans. They imposed a terrible toll on the Allies. Every battle has its wounded and dead Normandy was no different.
Early D-Day morning, survivors and casualties were brought on board from an Allied minesweeper which had hit a mine and sunk the preceding evening. They were picked up by another minesweeper and given emergency first aid, but their medical supplies were nearly exhausted. Allied LSTs had been fitted out as temporary hospital ships with two Navy doctors and an Army doctor, as well as several pharmacist mates. Operating rooms had been rigged up in the rear of the tank deck and screened off. These improvised and rough facilities did much to save lives before moving the victims further to the rear and more sophisticated medical treatment.
An assault craft returned to an LST from the Utah beachhead in Normandy loaded with the first wounded of the landing.
After the fighting moved inland, beach obstacles were cleared away and the danger from German artillery subsided. LSTs were able to safely move in to load Allied wounded from the continuing D-Day attack for transportation to England.
Wounded Allied troops were placed where they would be out of the elements, and on an LST that meant the covered tank deck. Later the wounded were transferred to hospital ships and vessels with better facilities for transport back to England.
This was the scene in part of the crew's quarters used for treating the wounded, mostly burn cases. To the left, one of the men was given plasma to compensate for loss of blood. Others were bandaged. A seaman seated at the table kept a record of treatment and the condition of patients. In the first days of the invasion, after unloading their cargo of men and vehicles LSTs brought back wounded and prisoners in constant streams. Then, after discharging them in England, the loading would start again. Soon they would be underway again, perhaps bound for a different beach this time.