In the winter of 1944, with overtaxed supply lines in the Ardennes, a medic in the German army had completely run out of plasma, bandages and antiseptic. During one particularly bad round of mortar fire, his encampment was a bloodbath. Those who survived claimed to have heard, above the screams and barked commands of their lieutenant, someone cackling with almost girlish glee.
The medic had made his rounds during the fire, in almost complete darkness as he had so many times before, but never had he been this short on supplies. No matter. He would do his duty. He had always prided himself on his resourcefulness.
The bombardment moved to other ends of the line, and most men dropped off to sleep in the dark, still hours of the morning – New Year’s Day, 1945. The men awoke at first light with screams. They discovered that their bandages were not typical bandages at all, but hunks and strips of human flesh. Several men had been given fresh blood transfusions, yet there had been no blood supplies available. Each treated man was almost completely covered, head-to-toe, with the maroon stain of blood.
The medic was found, sitting on an ammunition tin, staring off into space. When one man approached him, and tapped him on the shoulder, his tunic fell off to reveal that large patches of his skin, muscle, and sinew had been stripped from his torso and his body was almost completely dried of blood. In one hand was a scalpel, and in the other, a blood transfusion vial. None of the men treated for wounds that night, in that camp, saw the end of January 1945.