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Military History/Medical supplies available to the Wehrmacht

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Question
Hi,
I've got a question about battlefield medicine in the Second World War--specifically, the type of medical supplies available to the German army (Heer, not SS). I'm having trouble figuring out which medications they were issued and in what preparations (I'm fairly sure they didn't have syrettes but I can't verify exactly what kind of equipment they had for injections, for example). Any information at all about their methods, inventory, and kits would be really helpful. Thanks for any help!

Answer
There was actually not a big difference there between WW1 and WW2! The only real differences were that blood transfusions were more common - not common but more common in WW2 than in WW1 - and that sulfonamides - a synthetic group of antibiotics developed in Germany in the 1930ies - were available. Penicillin was NOT! It was developed by the Allies in a joint effort by Britain and the USA and kept secret until after the war. For injections old fashioned syringes and needles that needed to be sterilized by autoclave boiling between instances when they were used were the only available option. The same for infusions. There were no one-time-only instruments available at all. A modern doctor or nurse would go nuts in that situation! A WW1 doctor or nurse on the other hand would more or less feel at home though they would welcome the lack of poison gas cases and the (limited) option of sulfonamides. Limited because they were less effective than penicillin. Apart from that you would probably recognize all their equipment except that it was less effective and comfortable than the modern equivalents. But the specific details there I do not know.






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Claes-Gustaf Nordquist, M.D.

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I`m a retired Swedish military physician-surgeon with a big interest in military history - mainly European and especially of the Nordic-Scandinavian area. This also includes the history of military medicine.

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