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Tag: fragment

The Wounds of War

by on Nov.13, 2012, under Health, History, War and Terrorism, Weapons

When you work in a dangerous environment, you accept that injuries may occur. No group us better aware of that than the military. Even when you know the threat, you can't cover every eventuality. You accept that there will be casualties.

Yet soldiers still put themselves in mortal danger to perform their duty.

In honor of Veteran's Day, we offer these safety tips for World War II soldiers.

Steel fragments from high explosives may result in death. If you are in close proximity to high explosives that have detonated, avoid them entirely.

Many small fragments are just as bad, if not worse, than single larger fragments.

While shrapnel wounds can be extremely messy, actually being the point of impact for a high explosive shell is far worse. If traumatic decapitation occurs, seek immediate medical attention.

Wounds like this were almost always fatal in World War II. Advances in field medicine and fast evacuation to a medical facility have made some severe injuries survivable. But not these.

Head wounds are frequently the most debilitating, since you only have one head.

It doesn't matter if your head is intact if you can't keep it attached, so neck wounds can be debilitating as well.

Chest wounds can be an issue because most people keep their vital organs there. Move them to a more secure location.

The more points of entry, the more likely that you'll lose a vital organ. Try to minimize defenestration.

Your guts need to be kept in a sterile environment at the proper temperature. Severe abdominal wounds can preclude this. Avoid the temptation to remove the protruding parts. Also, this is why you should always wear clean underwear. You wouldn't want the paramedics to think you're a slob.

Clear mines before walking through a mined area. Wounds to the lower extremities make it difficult to run, and thereby leave you more susceptible to other types of harm.

If the wounds are really severe, be grateful for the bits that are left undamaged.

Sometimes there's just not much you can do. The enemy always fights dirty.

Decades have passed since World War II. We're more civilized now. and we have more sophisticated weapons.

But war is still a pretty ugly business, especially when its in color.

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