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German military use of x-rays beginning with WW I.


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Hello readers.

The German news magazine Der Spiegel recently published an article concerning the use the German military made of the fairly recent discovery of x-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. Already in 1901 Bavarian military doctors wrote to Bavarian garrison hospitals that x-rays were a compelling necessity.

W.C.Roentgen never applied for patents for his invention. He received the Nobel Prize in 1901. The prize money he gave to a university.

The article mentions the case of a Ludwig Bergmann who was wounded early in the war through a bullet in the left lower leg. X-ray found the bullet's location in the heel.This was not visible to the naked eye. The bullet was extracted but complications caused a permanent limp.

Current exhibitions contain x-rays of that period which experts consider quite exact. Cases of wounds to internal organs like the lungs now became visible to the surgeons. Even more mobile x-ray machines were improvised with the help of motor vehicles power supply.

The Bavarian duke Carl Theodor who had a medical degree in eye science and was married to Maria Josepha, the daughter of the exiled former king of Portugal had founded an eye clinic meant primarily for less fortunate patients. After his death in 1909 his widow continued the clinic which she transformed into a military hospital after the outbreak of hostilities..In 1916 patients of the hospital had assembled an album with x-ray pictures dedicated to her on her birthday. It contained a total of 81 x-ray pictures with detailed information on the patients.

It may be interesting to hear of x-ray application on the allied side.

Bernhard H. Holst.

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Hello Bernhard,

We usually read, here on the forum, of the many machines to take life during the war years; it's refreshing to read about something that helped to save them.

A very interesting article, thanks for taking the time to post it.

Brian Wolfe

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Have these 1916 x-rays ever been published for our viewing? Thanks for this information.

Hello Kenneth. Pictures are indeed available for viewing. However I am unable to link anything ( have not yet "mastered" that science).

But here is an address to use in which the album can be seen which I mentioned:

http://www.ingolstadt.de/dmm/ or here http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/roentgenbilder-aus-dem-ersten-weltkrieg-fotostrecke-117881.html

Bernhard H. Holst

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Hello Kenneth. Pictures are indeed available for viewing. However I am unable to link anything ( have not yet "mastered" that science).

But here is an address to use in which the album can be seen which I mentioned:

http://www.ingolstadt.de/dmm/ or here http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/roentgenbilder-aus-dem-ersten-weltkrieg-fotostrecke-117881.html

Bernhard H. Holst

Thank you soooo much for this information. This has been added to my archives for further research. This is really appreciated.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...
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  • 1 year later...

Hello , My paternal grandfather Dr Josef Wurschmidt 1886 1950 , was during the year 1916 the head of the x ray cabinet in the Reserve lazarett of Bamberg . He was not a medicine doctor he was a physic doctor and disciple of Roentgen and Wiedemann I have a photo of him with a Roentgen tube in his arms cradled like a baby . On the allied side Madame Curie leaded a team of mobile X ray cabinets . 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have many letters written by my father during WW I, and one or two of them mention him getting a rail pass and traveling to get an X-ray for an arm wound suffered at Verdun which troubled him for over ten years. This is from memory, and I cannot remember if he mentioned precisely where he went for the X-ray. He lay in no-man's land for three days before being recovered, and he had a bad wound in the back of his left arm whose recurrent infection kept him in and out of hospitals for most of 1917. His Militaerpass has the evaluation "fit for combat, but not Flammenwerfer", so he spent the war till late 1918 in Berlin training fresh Flammenwerfer troops. Wanting to get back to combat, he tricked his way to the front and then managed to get wounded twice in a month, the second time being blinded by gas during a flame attack; luckily he got his sight back rather quickly. 

"No good dead goes unpunished." 

If anyone is studying this topic seriously I could dig out the letter and give more detail about what he said, but there was not much detail. The history of his medical care, both from letters and his oral history, was fascinating.

 

Edited by bob lembke
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Kenneth;

An interesting aspect of the topic of Great War medical care is what I understand was the absolutely awful state of French medical care. (Here, again, I am working from memory on topics examined years ago.) I think that there is objective statistical evidence; I think that the rate of wounded French soldiers dying of their wounds was extremely high; I even think I remember an improbable statistic like three times the rate of well-set up medical services like Germany and the UK.

An interesting side to this is a study of medical practice within Paris when besieged by the Germans in 1870. There was a major French-run hospital from which few seemed to survive, the staff had antiquated beliefs such as the deadly nature of night-time fresh air, while in comparison an American-run hospital had remarkably better survival rates, providing up to date care.

Again, my father had an interesting story of a French (colonial) soldier who had a simple foot wound, but was denied either evacuation nor care, and was thrown into no-man's land to die by a French mainland unit which took over the sector; Germans, hearing him moan or plead, crawled out of their trench and were able to get him into their trench and then a German hospital. He had gas gangrene by that time, and the Germans performed multiple amputations, finally arresting the gangrene with a radical amputation at the hip joint. My father knew this as he was in the next bed, and he had fluent French. I have visions of an elderly man on crutches and one leg throwing stones at the last French evacuating from Algeria or Morocco.

Bob

 

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Kenneth;

How to put this delicately? One aspect of my father's recollections of his WW I medical experiences, which he told me when I was a young lad, might be filed under "Sex in the Hospital". Should I go further? I have been active on a few military fora for over 10 years (on another forum I have over 4000 posts), and can't ever recall anyone mentioning the topic of sex.

Bob

 

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Interesting thread, here is an award doc from my collection, to an X-Ray operative (Rontgenmechaniker) in the Bavarian Medical Service, that I thought might be of interest to you.

rud1.jpg

He was quite a distinguished photographer prior to the War, presumably why he ended up operating an X-Ray Machine.

Regards

Pete

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4 hours ago, bob lembke said:

Kenneth;

How to put this delicately? One aspect of my father's recollections of his WW I medical experiences, which he told me when I was a young lad, might be filed under "Sex in the Hospital". Should I go further? I have been active on a few military fora for over 10 years (on another forum I have over 4000 posts), and can't ever recall anyone mentioning the topic of sex.

Bob

 

I, too, have heard tales told. It would be interesting to read any soldier letters who write of such things. 

44 minutes ago, padro said:

Interesting thread, here is an award doc from my collection, to an X-Ray operative (Rontgenmechaniker) in the Bavarian Medical Service, that I thought might be of interest to you.

rud1.jpg

He was quite a distinguished photographer prior to the War, presumably why he ended up operating an X-Ray Machine.

Regards

Pete

Thanks for posting. I have added this to my collection.

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No, these are anecdotes my father told me. I was treated as a little adult, and sex stuff was mentioned to me. Some of the incidents occurred in hospital, he spent a lot of the war in hospitals.

Since I never see such matters discussed, I may stay away from the topic. A while ago I was put on trial at another forum for insulting the majesty of the US, or something like that. I might send Kenneth a PM. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

for carol i  yesterday i posted the promised photos  and text sadly i was not able to post the capture of my opapa bescheininigung certification and of his title  too heavy both within the margins of bites .i will procure to reduce the weight and post both documents . a herzlich gruss 

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1 hour ago, Bayern said:

for carol i  yesterday i posted the promised photos  and text sadly i was not able to post the capture of my opapa bescheininigung certification and of his title  too heavy both within the margins of bites .i will procure to reduce the weight and post both documents . a herzlich gruss 

Thank you for all of your efforts.

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Kenneth : I have some other photos of wwi era , of my grandfather in Turkey as german civil servant of the Ottoman Empire .iwill try to share the pics in the correspondent section of the site . A last commentary : the french Service de Sante de la Armee during ww1 was first adecuate later disastrous 1916 was a critical year ,and from 1917 onwards , a good service .who wants to know something could read Le Feu of Barbusse or La Grande guerre of General Thoumin , Sous le bracelet de le Etat Majeur of Jean des Vignes Rougues and Vie des Martyrs of George Duhamel . Duhamel was a first line doctor . Well i hope my efforts serves . herzliche grusse 

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