AMBULANCE CORPS. The modern army corps has become so large and is so likely to break up into parts operating separately that its ambulance service does not give the best results when kept together as a homo geneous whole. European experience shows that not the corps but the division should be the unit of ambulance organization. The name of ambulance corps is too well consecrated by usage to permit of any alteration in form or general meaning, but it is admissible to change the composition of the body it designates.
Organization.— The ambulance corps should be made up of independent units, each one corresponding to a division of the army corps and operating with it. The unit thus assigned to a division is the °Ambulance° of the French; the °Sanitits detachment" of the Germans; the °Sanitatscolonne° of the Aus trians; and the °Bearer Company" of the Eng lish. The name of Ambulance Brigade, which is proposed for it, seems to be the most appro priate for the United States army.
The ambulance corps, thus reorganized, is under the general direction of the medical director. It consists of as many ambulance brigades as there are divisions in the army corps, and an additional one, known as the Headquarters Ambulance Brigade, or the corps troops (cavalry, artillery, engineers, etc.), and the reinforcement of any divisional brigade in need of assistance. Our hypothetical corps of three divisions would, therefore, consist of four ambulance brigades fully manned and equipped for independent action.
What should be the strength of the medical personnel (bearers and nurses) of an ambulance brigade? Our rule assigns 1.5 per cent of the command to the ambulance corps, therefore, if we have a division 12,000 strong, the ambulance brigade will get a detail of 180 men. From this number must be deducted the quota to the Headquarters Brigade, say, 24 men. Of the remaining 156, 36 will do duty as ambulance orderlies. We have now left only 120 men, a number which represents the exact rate of 1 per cent of the strength of the division. These
120 men are divided into stretcher-bearers and nurses — 96 of the former and 24 of the latter. The 96 bearers will man 24 stretchers, or at the rate of two stretchers per 1,000 combatants. These two, added to the four stretchers manned by the regimental bearers, give us six stretchers for each full regiment, independently of the help which in case of need could be obtained from the Headquarters Brigade.
The composition of an ambulance brigade is complex. Its total personnel, for a division of 12,000 men, would be about as follows: One surgeon in charge; five surgeons; one captain; one first lieutenant; one second lieutenant ; one sergeant-major; eight sergeants; eight hospital stewards; 24 hospital attendants (nurses and cooks) ; two buglers; 36 ambulance drivers; 36 ambulance orderlies (nine of whom to be mounted corporals) ; 10 wagon drivers; 96 stretcher-bearers; four mechanics (blacksmith, wheelwright, saddler and farrier). Total, 234.
The materiel consists of 36 ambulances, two medicine wagons, six service wagons for tent age, baggage and supplies and two water-carts. Personnel and matinel are so organized as to admit of being split in halves, each capable of separate action.
The ambulance orderlies follow the ambu lances, or ride on the rear step, and are re sponsible for the safety and comfort of the patients in transit to the depot and the field hospitals. Each of the nine orderly corporals, besides his own ambulance, will also exercise supervision over three others — the four ambu lances thus under his authority constituting an ambulance section. The 24 stretchers will be divided into six sections of four stretchers, each section being in charge of a sergeant designated chief of section. The Headquarters Brigade need not be so large as the others. It is made up of 24 men from each of the infantry divi sions; therefore, in our hypothetical corps, will have only 72 bearers and attendants.