Monday, May 6, 2013


Medics treat soldier's leg wounds; France 1944
Source:  US National Archives
"You probably read of the miracles wrought by sulfanilamide in the first battles of Africa.  Doctors and men both talked about it constantly, almost with awe.  Doctors knew it was practically a miracle drug, but they hadn't realized quite how miraculous.     Every soldier was issued a sulfanilamide packet before he left England, some even before they left America.  It consisted of twelve tablets for swallowing, and a small sack of the same stuff in powdered form for sprinkling on wounds.  The soldiers used it as instructed, and the result was an almost complete lack of infection.  Hundreds were alive who would have been dead without it.  Men lay out for twenty-four hours and more before they could be taken in, and the sulfanilamide saved them.  

     It was amusing to hear the soldiers talk about it.  Sulfanilamide was a pretty big word for many of them.  They called it everything from snuffalide to sulphermillanoid."
-- Ernie Pyle, 1942, Africa, Here Is Your War, p. 73


Photo Sources:  US National Archives,,

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