(3) Frostbite. Frostbite results from exposure to temperatures below the
freezing point (below 32 F).
The depth and severity of the injury is a function of the temperature
and the duration of exposure--the lower the temperature, the shorter the time required
to produce injury.
At very low temperatures, freezing of exposed skin can occur within a
(4) Generalized hypothermia. Generalized hypothermia occurs when the
entire body, not just a part, cools to an abnormal level (below 95 F).
-- ATTENTION --
Generalized hypothermia is a medical emergency. A soldier
who is in excellent condition can die in a matter of minutes from
As the body cools:
The blood circulation in the limbs is impaired.
The pulse becomes weak, shock develops, unconsciousness occurs.
Eventually the heart ceases to beat.
Being immersed in cold water for a period, such as being thrown into cold-ocean water
after a shipwreck, is one cause of generalized hypothermia.
b. The Impact of Cold Injury on the Military. Cold injury occurs among the
civilian population, but its primary impact is on the military forces. Cold injury has been
recorded as a problem of military importance since the days of Xenophon and
Alexander of Macedonia.
The US Army had considerable experience with cold injury during World
-- There were a total of 90,535 time-lost injuries including trench foot
During the Korean conflict, United States troops in Korea experienced
more than 9,000 cases of cold injury, chiefly frostbite in ground troops.
Over 8,000 of these cases occurred in the winter of 1950-1951.