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August 1949

MEDICAL ASPECTS OF SUBMARINE WARFARE: The Human Factor As Reflected in War Patrol Reports

Author Affiliations

Medical Corps, United States Naval Reserve Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, University of michigan ANN ARBOR, MICH.

From the Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1949;84(2):246-260. doi:10.1001/archinte.1949.00230020049003

ALTHOUGH World War II produced a tremendous volume of literature on many phases of military medicine, little information is available in the unclassified literature concerning the medical problems of submarine warfare. It is my purpose, in this paper, to discuss the problems in the light of personal experience and of material available in reports of submarine combat patrols.

During the war, American submarines made over fifteen hundred patrols. The commanding officers' reports of fourteen hundred and seventy-one patrols were available for study to evaluate the human factor in problems of combat. The conditions under which the reports were composed and the insignificance of medical details as compared with data relating more specifically to the mission of the submarines account for some inadequacies of this source of information. Commanding officers were not trained medical observers, and the emphasis which they placed on the human factor in combat depended largely on personal

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