Breaking it all down

“Much had been learned through hard experience in Tunisia about caring for casualties, and the fleet was provisioned on the assumption that the assault force would suffer 15 percent wounded and sick in the first week. A chart distributed to medics helped assess what proportion of a man’s body surface had been burned—4.5 percent if both hands were burned, 13.5 percent for both arms, and so forth; 500 cc of blood plasma would be administered for each 10 percent. For those beyond such ministrations, the convoys carried six tons of grave markers, as well as stamp pads to fingerprint the dead. A thirteen-page ‘graves registration directive’ showed how to build a cemetery—‘care should be taken so that graves are in line with one another, both laterally and longitudinally.’ A memo on the disposition of a dead soldier’s effects advised, ‘Removal should be made of any article that would prove embarrassing to his family.’ ” – Rick Atkinson, The Day of Battle

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