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Catalogue des cachets allemands des hôpitaux militaires

1914-1918 / TOME I

”Catalogue of German military hospital franchise (Lazarett)” ● 1914-1918 series - Volume 1
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The military medical service is an essential element of the logistic support of the armies. In peacetime, medical units were concentrated in garrison towns, but in wartime medical needs were multiplied and had to be adapted to the dynamics of military operations. The result is a considerable increase in the number of medical units and their specialization, both for their function and for being close or not to the battlefield. All these units had specific franking stamps for their soldiers' mail. In retrospect these postal documents allow us to trace back the history of the medical units in our region.

At the beginning of the war, many improvised hospitals were opened by the Red Cross under the name of "Vereinslazarett", including 8 in Colmar alone and 39 in Strasbourg, mainly in schools and convents. From 1915 onwards, the army took over the hospitals with the "Reservelazarette", the "Etappenlazarette", which were added to the "Garnison lazarette" in garrison towns and the "Festungslazarette" in fortified towns. In most cases, the name of the town is mentioned in the stamp.

A chapter is devoted to hospitals and field medical units, i.e. units attached to an army or a division, mainly the "Kriegslazarette", the "Feldlazarette" and the "Sanitatskompagnie". These units followed the armies and divisions in their movements, which means that some hospitals may have been in Alsace for only a few months, a few weeks and sometimes even less. This chapter covers all the areas of operation of the army detachments Gaede, Falkenhausen and von Strantz that operated in our region.

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