Tropper overgiver sig i Bataan, Filippinerne, i største nogensinde amerikanske overgivelse

Tropper overgiver sig i Bataan, Filippinerne, i største nogensinde amerikanske overgivelse

Den 9. april 1942 overgiver generalmajor Edward P. sig i Bataan, Filippinerne - mod general Douglas MacArthurs ordre - og 78.000 tropper (66.000 filippinere og 12.000 amerikanere), den største kontingent af amerikanske soldater, der nogensinde har overgivet sig, bliver taget til fange af japanerne .

Fangerne blev straks ført 55 miles fra Mariveles, på den sydlige ende af Bataan -halvøen, til San Fernando, på det der blev kendt som "Bataan Death March". Mindst 600 amerikanere og 5.000 filippinere døde på grund af ekstrem brutalitet blandt deres fangere, der sultede, slog og sparkede dem undervejs; dem, der blev for svage til at gå, blev bajonet. De, der overlevede, blev taget med jernbane fra San Fernando til fangelejre, hvor yderligere 16.000 filippinere og mindst 1.000 amerikanere døde af sygdom, mishandling og sult.

Efter krigen forsøgte Den Internationale Militærdomstol, der blev oprettet af MacArthur, generalløjtnant Homma Masaharu, chef for de japanske invasionstyrker i Filippinerne. Han blev holdt ansvarlig for dødsmarchen, en krigsforbrydelse, og blev henrettet af skydeposten den 3. april 1946.


Bataan Dødsmarch

Det Bataan Dødsmarch (Filippinsk: Marts af Kamatayan sa Bataan Japansk: バ タ ー ン 死 の 行進, Hepburn: Batān Shi no Kōshin) var tvangsoverførsel af den kejserlige japanske hær af 60.000–80.000 amerikanske og filippinske krigsfanger fra Saysain Point, Bagac, Bataan og Mariveles til Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, via San Fernando, Pampanga, hvor fangerne blev lastet på tog. Overførslen begyndte den 9. april 1942 efter det tre måneder lange slag ved Bataan på Filippinerne under Anden Verdenskrig. Den samlede afstand marcherede fra Mariveles til San Fernando og fra Capas Train Station til Camp O'Donnell rapporteres forskelligt af forskellige kilder mellem 96,6 og 112,0 km. Forskellige kilder rapporterer også vidt forskellige krigsfanger, før de nåede Camp O'Donnell: fra 5.000 til 18.000 filippinske dødsfald og 500 til 650 amerikanske dødsfald under marts. Marchen var præget af alvorlige fysiske overgreb og hensynsløse drab. Efter krigen blev den japanske kommandant, general Masaharu Homma og to af hans officerer prøvet i USA's militærkommissioner anklaget for ikke at have forhindret deres underordnede i at begå krigsforbrydelser.


Wainwright, kaldet "Skinny" og "Jim", blev født på Fort Walla Walla, en hærpost nu i Walla Walla, Washington, og var søn af Robert Powell Page Wainwright, en amerikansk hærsofficer, der blev bestilt som 2. løjtnant i 1. kavaleri i 1875, kommanderede over en eskadre i slaget ved Santiago de Cuba under den spansk -amerikanske krig, og blev i 1902 dræbt under aktion i Filippinerne. Hans bedstefar var løjtnant Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright II, USN, der blev dræbt under aktion under borgerkrigen. Kongressmedlem J. Mayhew Wainwright var en fætter. [1]

Han tog eksamen fra Highland Park High School i Illinois i 1901 og fra West Point i 1906. Han tjente som første kaptajn for korpset af kadetter. [2]

Wainwright blev bestilt i kavaleriet. Han tjente med det første kavaleriregiment (USA) i Texas fra 1906 til 1908 og i Filippinerne fra 1908 til 1910, hvor han så kamp på Jolo, under Moro -oprøret. Wainwright tog eksamen fra Mounted Service School, Fort Riley, Kansas, i 1916 og blev forfremmet til kaptajn. I 1917 var han i staben i den første officers træningslejr i Plattsburgh, New York.

I februar 1918, under første verdenskrig, blev Wainwright beordret til Frankrig. I juni blev han assisterende stabschef for den amerikanske 82. infanteridivision, som han deltog i offensiverne Saint Mihiel og Meuse-Argonne. Som midlertidig oberstløjtnant blev han overdraget til besættelsespligt i Tyskland med 3. hær i Koblenz, Tyskland, fra oktober 1918 til 1920. Efter at have vendt tilbage til kaptajnen blev han derefter forfremmet til major.

Efter et år som instruktør på Cavalry School i Fort Riley blev Wainwright tilknyttet generalstaben fra 1921 til 1923 og blev tildelt det 3. amerikanske kavaleriregiment, Fort Myer, Virginia, fra 1923–25. I 1929 blev han forfremmet til oberstløjtnant og tog eksamen fra Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, i 1931 og fra Army War College i 1934.

Wainwright blev forfremmet til oberst i 1935 og tjente som kommandør for det 3. amerikanske kavaleriregiment indtil 1938, da han blev forfremmet til brigadegeneral med kommando for 1. kavaleribrigade ved Fort Clark, Texas.

I september 1940 blev Wainwright forfremmet til generalmajor (midlertidig) og vendte tilbage til Filippinerne i december som chef for den filippinske afdeling. [3]

Som den øverste feltkommanderende for filippinske og amerikanske styrker under general Douglas MacArthur var Wainwright ansvarlig for at modstå den japanske invasion af Filippinerne, som begyndte i december 1941. Den 8. december 1941 befalede han North Luzon Force, bestående af tre filippinske reserver divisioner og det 26. kavaleriregiment (filippinske spejdere). [4] De allierede styrker trak sig tilbage fra den japanske strand ved Lingayen -bugten og havde trukket sig tilbage på Bataan -halvøen og Corregidor i januar 1942, hvor de forsvarede indgangen til Manila -bugten. [5]

Efter evakueringen af ​​MacArthur til Australien i marts for at tjene som allieret øverstkommanderende i det sydvestlige Stillehavsområde, arvede Wainwright den allieringsløse position som allieret kommandant i Filippinerne. Også i marts blev Wainwright forfremmet til generalløjtnant (midlertidig). Den 9. april overgav de 70.000 tropper på Bataan sig under kommando af generalmajor Edward P. King. Den 5. maj angreb japanerne Corregidor. På grund af mangel på forsyninger (hovedsagelig mad og ammunition) [6] og for at minimere tab, underrettede Wainwright den japanske general Masaharu Homma om, at han overgav sig den 6. maj.

Wainwright sendte samtidig en kodet besked til generalmajor William F. Sharp, der havde ansvaret for styrkerne på Mindanao, og navngav ham som chef for alle styrker i Filippinerne, undtagen dem på Corregidor og tre andre øer i Manila Bay. Sharp skulle nu rapportere til general MacArthur, nu stationeret i Australien. Dette skulle få så få tropper som muligt til at blive overgivet. Homma nægtede at tillade overgivelse af mindre end alle tropperne i Filippinerne og betragtede tropperne på og omkring Corregidor som gidsler for at sikre, at andre styrker i Filippinerne ville lægge deres våben. Wainwright gik derefter med til at overgive Sharps mænd. [7]

General Sharp var placeret i en vanskelig position. Han vidste, hvis han ignorerede Wainwrights ønske om, at han skulle overgive sig til, at gidseltropperne og civile ved Corregidor kunne blive massakreret. Selvom hans tropper var dårligt mishandlet, kunne de stadig kæmpe. Det havde været forventet, at de ville kæmpe videre som en guerilla -styrke. Til sidst besluttede Sharp den 10. maj at overgive sig. Sharps overgivelse viste sig at være problematisk for japanerne, selvom Sharp og mange af hans mænd overgav sig og led som krigsfanger, indtil de blev befriet i 1945. Et stort antal Sharps mænd, langt de fleste filippinske, nægtede at overgive sig. Nogle soldater anså Wainwrights overgivelse for at være foretaget under tvang og besluttede i sidste ende at slutte sig til guerillabevægelsen ledet af oberst Wendell Fertig. [8]

Den 9. juni havde de allierede styrker helt overgivet sig. Wainwright blev derefter holdt i fangelejre i det nordlige Luzon, Formosa og Liaoyuan (dengang kaldet Xi'an og et amt i Manchukuo), indtil han blev reddet af Den Røde Hær i august 1945. [9]

Wainwright var den højest placerede amerikanske krigsfanger, og på trods af hans rang var hans behandling i hænderne på japanerne ikke mindre ubehagelig end de fleste af hans mænd. Da han mødte general MacArthur i august 1945 kort efter sin frigørelse, var han blevet tynd og underernæret af tre års mishandling under fangenskab. Efter at have været vidne til den japanske overgivelse ombord på USS Missouri september vendte han sammen med generalløjtnant Arthur Percival tilbage til Filippinerne for at modtage overgivelse af den lokale japanske kommandør, generalløjtnant Tomoyuki Yamashita. [ citat nødvendig ]

Døbt af sine mænd som en "kæmpende" general, der var villig til at komme ned i rævehullerne, vandt Wainwright respekten for alle, der var fængslet sammen med ham. Han ærgrede sig over sin beslutning om at overgive Corregidor under hele hans fangenskab og følte, at han havde svigtet sit land. Efter løsladelsen var det første spørgsmål, han stillede, hvordan folk tilbage i USA tænkte på ham, og han blev forbløffet, da han fortalte, at han blev betragtet som en helt. Han modtog senere Medal of Honor, en ære, der først var blevet foreslået tidligt i hans fangenskab, i 1942, men blev afvist på grund af general MacArthurs hårde modstand, som mente, at Corregidor ikke skulle have været overgivet. MacArthur modsatte sig ikke det fornyede forslag i 1945. [10] [11]

Rang og organisation: General, kommanderende amerikanske hærstyrker i Filippinerne. Sted og dato: De filippinske øer, 12. marts til 7. maj 1942. Tjeneste i: Skaneateles, N.Y. Fødsel: Walla Walla, Wash. G.O. nr .: 80, 19. september 1945.

Udmærkede sig ved frygtløs og målrettet ledelse mod stærkt overlegne fjendtlige styrker. Ved den gentagne livsrisiko ud over pligtopfordringen i hans stilling frekventerede han sine troppers skudlinje, hvor hans tilstedeværelse gav eksemplet og incitamentet, der hjalp med at gøre disse mænds galante indsats mulig. Det endelige standpunkt på belejrede Corregidor, som han i en vigtig grad var personligt ansvarlig for, beordrede beundringen af ​​Nationens allierede. Det afspejlede den høje moral i amerikanske våben i lyset af overvældende odds. Hans mod og beslutsomhed var en livsnødvendig inspiration for de dengang hårdt pressede frihedselskende folk i verden. [12]

General Wainwright blev overrakt Medal of Honor i en improviseret ceremoni, da han besøgte Det Hvide Hus 10. september 1945 - han var ikke klar over, at han var der for at blive dekoreret af præsident Truman.

Den 5. september 1945, kort efter den japanske overgivelse, blev Wainwright forfremmet til fire-stjernet general. Den 13. september blev der holdt en ticker-tape-parade i New York City til ære for ham. [13] Den 28. september 1945 blev han udnævnt til chef for anden servicekommando og den østlige forsvarskommando på Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York. [14]

Den 11. januar 1946 blev han udnævnt til kommandør for den fjerde hær i Fort Sam Houston, Texas, og udfyldte den ledige plads, der blev efterladt af generalløjtnant Alexander Patch den 21. november 1945. [15] Patch, tidligere chef for Syvende Armé i de sidste dage af Anden Verdenskrig, var i dårligt helbred vendt tilbage til at lede fjerde hær i august 1945.

Wainwright sluttede modvilligt sin hærskarriere 31. august 1947, da han nåede den obligatoriske pensionsalder på 64. I en følelsesmæssig militær anmeldelse ved Fort Sam Houston bemærkede han med et strejf af sorg: "Dette er ikke en lejlighed, hvor jeg kan åbne min korte bemærkninger med den lidt stereotype udtalelse om, at jeg er glad for at være her. For den generøse hyldest, du har betalt mig her i dag, er jeg dybt taknemmelig. " Han fortsatte med at sige: "For en gammel soldat at sige, at det er en fornøjelse at tage sin sidste anmeldelse, at tale til sine tropper for sidste gang og at få sin sidste offentlige optræden som en kommandant, er i hvert fald i mine tanker et stykke fantasi og langt fra sandheden. " [16]

Han blev frimurer i maj 1946 på Union Lodge nr. 7. i Junction City, Kansas og en Shriner kort tid efter. [17] [18] [19] [20]

Omkring 1935 blev Wainwright valgt til en arvelig ledsager af Military Order of the Loyal Legion i USA (insignier nummer 19087) ved retten til sin bedstefars tjeneste i Unionens flåde under borgerkrigen. Han var også en landsmand til sønner af den amerikanske revolution.

Han tjente i bestyrelsen for flere virksomheder efter sin pensionering. Han stillede sig til rådighed for at tale for veterangrupper og fyldte næsten enhver anmodning om at gøre det. Han følte aldrig nogen bitterhed over for MacArthur for sine handlinger på Filippinerne eller MacArthurs forsøg på at nægte ham Medal of Honor. Da det så ud til, at MacArthur kunne blive nomineret til præsident ved den republikanske nationale konvention i 1948, stod Wainwright klar til at holde nomineretalen. [10]

Han døde af et slagtilfælde i San Antonio, Texas den 2. september 1953, 70 år gammel. [21]

Wainwright blev begravet på afsnit 1 på Arlington National Cemetery, ved siden af ​​sin kone og i nærheden af ​​sine forældre, med en frimureritjeneste og er en af ​​de få mennesker, der har haft deres begravelse i det lavere niveau af Memorial Amphitheatre. [22] [ mislykket verifikation ]


2. verdenskrig: Historien om den frygtelige største overgivelse i amerikansk historie

Kejserlige Japan havde taget Filippinerne og tvang de amerikanske styrker der til at overgive sig.

Centralt punkt: Ikke alt var general MacArthurs skyld. Imidlertid begik han flere fejl, og hans tropper betalte prisen mere, end de ellers ville have haft.

"Sig til Joe, hvor han er, at give dem et helvede for os," sagde radiosignalet. "Min kærlighed til jer alle. Gud velsigne dig og bevare dig. Skriv mit navn, og fortæl mor, hvordan du hørte fra mig. Stå ved."

Og så blev der stilhed.

Om morgenen den 6. maj 1942 besøgte US Army Sgt. Irving Strobing sendte den sidste besked - til Amerika, hans familie og hans bror Joe - fra fæstningen Corregidor, en ø ved mundingen af ​​Manila -bugten. Et par timer senere, under kameraer af japanske fotografer og de foragtelige blænding af japanske officerer, overlod general Jonathan Wainwright den sidste af den amerikanske garnison i Filippinerne.

Fra Corregidors tunneller opstod elleve tusinde sultende, sårede og udmattede amerikanske og filippinske fanger, herunder flere amerikanske sygeplejersker. De hævede rækken af ​​forsvarerne på Bataan-halvøen, der havde overgivet sig 9. april. I begyndelsen af ​​maj 1942 havde japanerne fanget syvoghalvfjerds tusinde amerikanske og filippinske soldater i den største overgivelse i amerikansk historie.

På 75-årsdagen for Corregidors fald er spørgsmålet stadig: hvad gik der galt?

Svaret er stort set alt. Problemerne begyndte med en umulig strategisk situation. Manila ligger kun to tusinde miles fra Japan, men fem tusinde miles fra Pearl Harbor. I 1930'erne var det indlysende, at Filippinerne i tilfælde af krig ville blive isoleret af den japanske flåde, berøvet forstærkninger og genforsyning. War Plan Orange opfordrede den amerikanske flåde til at foretage en flådekavaleri over hele Stillehavet for at aflaste garnisonen. I bedste fald ville dette i værste fald være chancy, japanske fly og ubåde ville sænke den amerikanske flåde, og i virkeligheden efterlod Pearl Harbor -katastrofen ingen flåde for at komme til undsætning.

Ingen af ​​dem var den filippinske kommandant general Douglas MacArthurs skyld, men meget andet var. Under hans vagt blev væsentlige forsvarsforberedelser forladt (forværret af stramme budgetter før krigen). Den 7. december 1941 var den amerikanske hær og den mobiliserede filippinske troppestyrke steget fra 31.000 til 130.000 tropper. Men især filippinerne var dårligt uddannede og bevæbnede, og forsvarerne var spredt ud over øerne i Filippinerne. Fjernøsten luftvåben havde måske tre hundrede fly, men det omfattede kun femogtredive B-17'er og yderligere hundrede moderne P-40-krigere, med resten forældede modeller. Den asiatiske flåde med base i Manila havde kun en håndfuld skibe, nogle ubåde plus det fjerde marineregiment.

Nyheder om Pearl Harbor vækkede MacArthur kl. 3. december 8. Flyet ved Clark Field skulle have været spredt og derefter lanceret for at bombe japanske flyvepladser på Taiwan. Da dårligt vejr forsinkede den japanske strejke i ni timer, kunne amerikanerne have fanget japanske fly på jorden - hvis MacArthur havde godkendt det. I stedet fangede japanerne den amerikanske luftflåde på jorden og decimerede den og fratog dermed forsvarerne deres eneste chance for at forstyrre den forestående amfibielandning.

Senere i december landede japanske tropper på det nordlige Luzon, uberørt for en håndfuld amerikanske fly (som stadig lykkedes at synke eller beskadige flere skibe). Men dette var kun et slag før hovedlandingen: Den 22. december landede den japanske fjortende hær i Lingayen -bugten, i centrum af Luzon og tæt på Manila og Clark Field. Dette blev efterfulgt af en mindre landing i det sydlige Luzon.

Flankeret og udmanøvreret beordrede MacArthur Plan Orange, en forsinkende handling fra bagvagter, mens hovedparten af ​​hans styrker flyttede ind i forsvaret på Bataan -halvøen nær Manila. Dækket af afdelinger af amerikanske og filippinske tropper, herunder nogle lette M3 Stuart -kampvogne, kom 80.000 tropper og tyve tusinde civile ind i Bataan. Desværre opfordrede Plan Orange tilstrækkelige forsyninger til, at kun treogtredi tusinde tropper kunne grave ind ved Bataan.

Ikke desto mindre kæmpede Bataan -tropperne modigt og påførte store tab. Men medmindre den amerikanske flåde øjeblikkeligt kunne genoplive de sunkne slagskibe ved Pearl Harbor, var Filippinerne dødsdømt. Bakket op af tung luftstøtte brød japanerne til sidst igennem sultende og syge forsvarere. De fleste overgav sig til sidst, men nogle få kom til Corregidor, forsvaret af et broget sortiment af hær-, marine- og filippinske tropper. Da de manglede mad og medicin, blev de også bombet og beskudt, indtil de overgav den 6. maj.

Og MacArthur? Bataan -tropperne komponerede en sang om ham i melodien af ​​"The Battle Hymn of the Republic":

Dugout Doug MacArthur ligger og ryster på klippen

Beskyttet mod alle bombeflyene og for pludselige stød

Dugout Doug spiser af den bedste mad på Bataan

Og hans tropper fortsætter med at sulte.

Dugout Doug er ikke bange, han er bare forsigtig, ikke bange

Han beskytter omhyggeligt stjernerne, Franklin lavede

Firestjernede generaler er sjældne som god mad på Bataan

Og hans tropper sulter videre.

Dugout Doug er klar i sit Kris Craft til flugten

Over afgrænsende bølger og det vildt rasende hav

For japperne banker på portene til den gamle Bataan

Og hans tropper fortsætter med at sulte. . .

Men MacArthur havde travlt med andre ting. Han blev tildelt $ 500.000 af den filippinske præsident Manuel Quezon for sin tjeneste før krigen, og hans personale fik også penge (Eisenhower blev tilbudt penge, men afviste dem). For at være retfærdig blev han beordret af præsident Roosevelt til at flyve sig selv og sin familie ombord på en B-17 til Australien. Efter ordre, helt sikkert, men hans tropper var ikke så heldige. Mellem grusomheden af ​​Bataan -dødsmarch og for de overlevende brutaliteten i japanske fangelejre kom 40 procent af amerikanerne aldrig hjem.

"Jeg vender tilbage," lovede MacArthur. Og det gjorde han - den 20. oktober 1944 og i nærværelse af fotografer.

Michael Peck er en medvirkende forfatter til National interesse. Han kan findes på Twitter og Facebook. Dette dukkede først op i 2017 og genudsendes på grund af læserinteresse.


Anden verdenskrigs historie: Den største overgivelse i amerikansk historie

Her er hvad du skal huske: Den strategiske situation i Bataan var umulig at holde. General Macarthur blev beordret af præsident Roosevelt til at vende tilbage til Australien - en ordre han adlød, selvom mændene under hans kommando ikke troede bedre på ham for det.

"Sig til Joe, hvor han er, at give dem et helvede for os," sagde radiosignalet. "Min kærlighed til jer alle. Gud velsigne dig og bevare dig. Skriv mit navn, og fortæl mor, hvordan du hørte fra mig. Stå ved."

Og så blev der stilhed.

Om morgenen den 6. maj 1942 blev den amerikanske hærs sergent. Irving Strobing sendte den sidste besked - til Amerika, hans familie og hans bror Joe - fra fæstningen Corregidor, en ø ved mundingen af ​​Manila -bugten. Et par timer senere, under kameraer af japanske fotografer og de foragtelige blænding af japanske officerer, overlod general Jonathan Wainwright den sidste af den amerikanske garnison i Filippinerne.

Fra Corregidors tunneller opstod elleve tusinde sultende, sårede og udmattede amerikanske og filippinske fanger, herunder flere amerikanske sygeplejersker. De hævede rækken af ​​forsvarerne på Bataan-halvøen, der havde overgivet sig den 9. april. I begyndelsen af ​​maj 1942 havde japanerne fanget syvoghalvfjerds tusinde amerikanske og filippinske soldater i den største overgivelse i amerikansk historie.

På 75-årsdagen for Corregidors fald er spørgsmålet stadig: hvad gik der galt?

Svaret er stort set alt. Problemerne begyndte med en umulig strategisk situation. Manila ligger kun to tusinde miles fra Japan, men fem tusinde miles fra Pearl Harbor. I 1930'erne var det indlysende, at Filippinerne i tilfælde af krig ville blive isoleret af den japanske flåde, berøvet forstærkninger og genforsyning. War Plan Orange opfordrede den amerikanske flåde til at foretage en flådekavaleri over hele Stillehavet for at aflaste garnisonen. I bedste fald ville dette i værste fald være chancy, japanske fly og ubåde ville sænke den amerikanske flåde, og i virkeligheden efterlod Pearl Harbor -katastrofen ingen flåde for at komme til undsætning.

Ingen af ​​dem var den filippinske kommandant general Douglas MacArthurs skyld, men meget andet var. Under hans vagt blev væsentlige forsvarsforberedelser forladt (forværret af stramme budgetter før krigen). Den 7. december 1941 var den amerikanske hær og den mobiliserede filippinske troppestyrke steget fra 31.000 til 130.000 tropper. Men især filippinerne var dårligt uddannede og bevæbnede, og forsvarerne var spredt ud over øerne i Filippinerne. Fjernøsten luftvåben havde måske tre hundrede fly, men det omfattede kun femogtredive B-17'er og yderligere hundrede moderne P-40-krigere, med resten forældede modeller. Den asiatiske flåde med base i Manila havde kun en håndfuld skibe, nogle ubåde plus det fjerde marineregiment.

Nyhederne om Pearl Harbor vækkede MacArthur kl. 3. december 8. Flyet ved Clark Field skulle have været spredt og derefter lanceret for at bombe japanske flyvepladser på Taiwan. Da dårligt vejr forsinkede den japanske strejke i ni timer, kunne amerikanerne have fanget japanske fly på jorden - hvis MacArthur havde godkendt det. I stedet fangede japanerne den amerikanske luftflåde på jorden og decimerede den og fratog dermed forsvarerne deres eneste chance for at forstyrre den forestående amfibielandning.

Senere i december landede japanske tropper på det nordlige Luzon, uberørt for en håndfuld amerikanske fly (som stadig lykkedes at synke eller beskadige flere skibe). Men dette var kun et slag før hovedlandingen: Den 22. december landede den japanske fjortende hær i Lingayen -bugten, i centrum af Luzon og tæt på Manila og Clark Field. Dette blev efterfulgt af en mindre landing i det sydlige Luzon.

Flankeret og udmanøvreret beordrede MacArthur Plan Orange, en forsinkende handling fra bagvagter, mens hovedparten af ​​hans styrker bevægede sig ind i forsvaret på Bataan -halvøen nær Manila. Dækket af afdelinger af amerikanske og filippinske tropper, herunder nogle lette M3 Stuart -kampvogne, kom firs tusind tropper og tyve tusinde civile ind i Bataan. Desværre opfordrede Plan Orange tilstrækkelige forsyninger til, at kun treogtredi tusinde tropper kunne grave ind ved Bataan.

Ikke desto mindre kæmpede Bataan -tropperne modigt og påførte store tab. Men medmindre den amerikanske flåde øjeblikkeligt kunne genoplive de sunkne slagskibe ved Pearl Harbor, var Filippinerne dødsdømt. Bakket op af tung luftstøtte brød japanerne til sidst igennem sultende og syge forsvarere. De fleste overgav sig til sidst, men nogle få kom til Corregidor, forsvaret af et broget sortiment af hær-, marine- og filippinske tropper. Da de manglede mad og medicin, blev de også bombet og beskudt, indtil de overgav den 6. maj.

Og MacArthur? Bataan -tropperne komponerede en sang om ham i melodien af ​​"The Battle Hymn of the Republic":

Dugout Doug MacArthur ligger og ryster på klippen

Beskyttet mod alle bombeflyene og for ethvert pludseligt chok

Dugout Doug spiser af den bedste mad på Bataan

Og hans tropper sulter videre.

Dugout Doug er ikke bange, han er bare forsigtig, ikke bange

Han beskytter omhyggeligt stjernerne, Franklin lavede

Firestjernede generaler er sjældne som god mad på Bataan

Og hans tropper fortsætter med at sulte.

Dugout Doug er klar i sit Kris Craft til flugten

Over afgrænsende bølger og det vildt rasende hav

For japperne banker på portene til den gamle Bataan

Og hans tropper sulter videre. . .

Men MacArthur havde travlt med andre ting. Han blev tildelt $ 500.000 af den filippinske præsident Manuel Quezon for sin tjeneste før krigen, og hans personale fik også penge (Eisenhower blev tilbudt penge, men afviste dem). For at være retfærdig blev han beordret af præsident Roosevelt til at flyve sig selv og sin familie ombord på en B-17 til Australien. Efter ordre, helt sikkert, men hans tropper var ikke så heldige. Mellem grusomheden i Bataan Death March og for de overlevende brutaliteten i japanske fangelejre kom 40 procent af amerikanerne aldrig hjem.

"Jeg vender tilbage," lovede MacArthur. Og det gjorde han - den 20. oktober 1944 og i nærværelse af fotografer.

Michael Peck er en medvirkende forfatter til National interesse. Han kan findes på Twitter og Facebook. Denne artikel blev først vist i 2017.


Tilbagetrækning til Bataan og Corregidor

Den 23. december 1941 forstod general MacArthur klart den forestående katastrofe. MacArthur havde omkring 60.000 upålidelige filippinske tropper, 11.000 bedre uddannede filippinske spejdere og 19.000 amerikanere mod Homma 's hærdet og veludstyret styrke, der faldt ned over dem. MacArthur meddelte alle styrkechefer natten til den 23. december, at "WPO-3 er i kraft, " en tilbagevenden til det oprindelige Plan ORANGE-koncept. For at nægte den japanske sejr over sine tropper beordrede han tilbagetrækning af styrker på Luzon til Bataan -halvøen, en landtunge i det sydvestlige Luzon, der udgjorde den nordvestlige grænse til Manila -bugten (se kortet øverst på siden). Manila blev erklæret som en åben by den 26. december for at skåne dens ødelæggelse, men japanerne bombede og beskød den alligevel.

MacArthur's hovedkvarter blev overført til den lille befæstede ø Corregidor, syd for Bataan i Manila Bay, juleaften. Næste morgen, juledag, åbnede hovedkvarteret USAFFE på Corregidor, og MacArthur rapporterede sin nye stilling til Washington. Generalmajor Jonathan M. Wainwright blev på Luzon og befalede landstyrken.

Tilbagetrækningen til Bataan forløb hurtigt og i bemærkelsesværdig god orden og strømmede ind fra alle dele af Luzon. I nærheden af ​​byen San Fernando måtte alle kræfter passere gennem et enkelt kryds og ned ad en smal vej for at nå Bataan -halvøen. Ved stort held og lykke undlod japanerne at udnytte deres luftoverlegenhed til at angribe forsvarerne på dette sårbare kvælningspunkt. Wainwright iscenesatte et hårdt grundforsvar ved San Fernando og holdt linjen for at tillade en ordnet bevægelse af alle tropper ind i Bataan senest den 6. januar 1942.

Den hastige tilbagetrækning efterlod de fleste forsyninger og udstyr, forsyninger, der var blevet spredt fra deres oprindelige depoter i Bataan og Corregidor for at støtte MacArthurs brede forsvarsplan. Nu med lastbiler med mangel, overbelastede veje og kort tid, var det umuligt at levere forsyninger til Bataan og Corregidor. Den resulterende mangel på mad, ammunition, våben og medicinsk udstyr ville vise sig at være de kritiske faktorer i de kommende måneder.


Tropper overgiver sig i Bataan, Filippinerne, i den største amerikanske overgivelse nogensinde - HISTORIE

FALLET AF BATAAN OG CORREGIDOR

Da japanerne den 3. april 1942 fornyede deres offensiv med friske tropper støttet af tungt artilleri, kampvogne og luftangreb, blev de amerikanske overlevende på Bataan -halvøen så svækket af sygdom og sult, at de ikke var i stand til at tilbyde nogen effektiv modstand. Fra komforten og sikkerheden i hans nye hovedkvarter i Australien og uden bekymring for de stærkt svækkede fysiske tilstand hos hans forladte tropper og deres kritiske mangel på militære forsyninger beordrede MacArthur et generelt modangreb mod japanerne. Kommandanten på Luzon, generalmajor Edward King, ignorerede denne latterlige ordre. I tillid til japanernes nåde overgav han sine tropper den 9. april 1942. Inden overgivelsen trådte i kraft, overførte han sine kvindelige hærsygeplejersker til Corregidor i håb om, at de kunne evakueres fra Filippinerne.

Øens højborg Corregidor ved indgangen til Manila -bugten er faldet efter en lang belejring, og japanske tropper sænker det amerikanske flag.

Japanerne fulgte ikke europæisk tradition, der normalt ærer tropper, der overgiver sig efter et galant forsvar og behandler kvindelige fanger med respekt og medfølelse. Japanerne blev rasende over den lange amerikanske modstand mod Bataan og de store tab, de selv havde lidt, og vred deres vrede på deres syge og udmattede krigsfanger, som de udsatte for grusomhederne i Bataan Death March og de barske forhold i det japanske "helvede" lejre ".

Da han var klar over håbløsheden ved den amerikanske position i Filippinerne, bemyndigede præsident Roosevelt øverstkommanderende, generalløjtnant Wainwright, til at fortsætte kampen mod japanerne eller søge vilkår for overgivelse, som han fandt passende. På sit hovedkvarter på den befæstede ø Corregidor valgte general Wainwright at følge MacArthurs ordre fra Australien om at fortsætte den håbløse kamp til enden. Wainwright blev opfordret af sine højtstående stabsofficerer til at følge MacArthurs eksempel og flygte fra Filippinerne med en hurtig patruljebåd i dække af natten, men han svarede roligt:

"Jeg har været sammen med mine mænd fra starten, og hvis jeg bliver taget til fange, vil jeg dele deres lod."

Corregidors fald

De 11.000 forsvarere af Corregidor holdt ud mod intens japansk bombardement indtil den 6. maj 1942. Med omkring 12.000 skaller, der styrtede ned på øen hver 24. time, var søvn for de udmattede forsvarere praktisk talt umulig. Selv sammenklemt dybt under jorden i Malinta-tunnelen blødede kvinder og børn fra ørerne fra den hjernerystelse, der blev forårsaget af de jordskælvende eksplosioner over hovedet. Mad, vand og ammunition var faldet til kritiske niveauer, da japanerne endelig sikrede sig et strandhoved på øen den 5. maj og landede kampvogne. Den næste dag beordrede general Wainwright det amerikanske flag sænket på Corregidor i håb om at undgå en massakre. I en åbenlys afvisning af den internationale konvention om behandling af krigsfanger advarede general Homma Wainwright under overgivelsesforhandlinger om, at han ville henrette alle krigsfanger, medmindre overgivelsen ikke kun gjaldt Corregidor, men alle amerikanske og filippinske tropper, der stadig modstod japanerne på andre øer i den filippinske øhav. I håb om at undgå repressalier mod hans tropper og kvinderne og børnene under hans omsorg var Wainwright enig.

Da MacArthur i Australien hørte, at Wainwright havde overgivet sig til japanerne, var han rasende og modsvarede Wainwrights ordre til sine tropper om at overgive sig. Denne sidste vanvittige ordre fra MacArthur blev ignoreret. It would almost certainly have produced a massacre of all American and Philippine prisoners of war, and placed at risk the lives of civilian captives, including the women and children under Wainwright's care. MacArthur responded to the rejection of his order to fight to the death by vindictively refusing to sign a recommendation from the US Army Chief of Staff, General Marshall, that General Wainwright be awarded the Medal of Honour.

The heroic defenders of Corregidor were subjected to the same appalling brutality that had been inflicted by the Japanese on the survivors of Bataan. American and Philippine troops suffered 16,000 casualties in the Battle of the Philippines, and 84,000 endured cruel imprisonment or execution at the hands of the Japanese. Of 20,000 American troops captured by the Japanese in the Philippines, about half died in captivity before the Pacific War ended. Some were murdered, others died from starvation, sickness or brutal treatment. Lieutenant General Wainwright remained in Japanese prison camps until the end of the war in 1945. He emerged from captivity resembling little more than a skeleton. He was awarded a hero's welcome in the United States, promoted to full general and finally awarded the Medal of Honour which had been denied to him by MacArthur's spite.

MacArthur is honoured despite his incompetent defence of the Philippines

If the American people had known in 1942 the truth about MacArthur's incompetent defence of the Philippines, his abandonment of his troops, army nurses, and American civilians to the vengeance of the Japanese, and his callous disregard for their survival when he was safe in Australia, it is almost certain that they would have demanded that he be dismissed from command. As it happened, MacArthur escaped to Australia with his staff officers, and those who could have testified to his incompetence as a commander were left behind on the Philippines where they were either executed by the Japanese, died from mistreatment, or suffered harsh captivity in Japanese prison camps until 1945.

Although Roosevelt had serious misgivings about MacArthur's military competence, a view which was shared by many senior Navy and Army officers, the United States government was forced to acknowledge MacArthur's self-generated status as a national hero by awarding him the Medal of Honour and placing him in supreme command of the South-West Pacific Area with his headquarters in Australia.

The appointment of MacArthur in March 1942 as Supreme Commander, South-West Pacific Area, placed a man of deeply flawed character and poor military judgment in overall command of Australia's defence forces at a time of great peril for Australia. Later in 1942, when heavily outnumbered and poorly supplied Australian troops were engaged in a deadly struggle to block a determined Japanese advance towards Australia along the Kokoda Track, MacArthur would again exhibit his serious failings as a commander.

Fortunately for Australia, this liability was balanced by the appointment of a brilliant naval officer, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, to command the war at sea against the Japanese.


Bataan Nurses’ Adventure Turned to Terror and WW II Prison Camp

They were nurses in search of a little adventure, a short stint with the Army and Navy in the Philippines, passing out aspirin and handling the rare emergency in a tropical paradise.

Months later, they were trapped on the Bataan peninsula, using crude techniques in makeshift jungle hospitals while trying to repair battered and bloodied bodies amid constant air raids and gunfire.

They were the female counterparts of the men who in World War II would proudly become known as “The Battling Bastards of Bataan"--the 72,000 soldiers whose 1942 defense of the Philippines ended with the largest surrender ever of U.S. troops.

“They were the largest group of women POWs in the history of our country. But there was so much going on--the events at Pearl Harbor, the war in Europe--that their story has been swallowed up,” said Elizabeth M. Norman, who has chronicled their plight in “We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan.”

Part memoir, part history, the book is the most comprehensive account yet of the 99 nurses known as the “Angels of Bataan.”

It is a story, say some historians and surviving nurses, that has taken too long to tell.

“It’s about time. There have been stories written, a person’s personal story. But nobody’s ever told the whole story,” said Helen Cassiani Nestor, who at age 82 is one of 18 nurses known to be alive.

“There’s still a lot of discussion about the role of women in combat. We were exposed to a lot of the shelling and bombardment in Bataan and Corregidor. Our group proved that we could go into the field and carry on and do a good job. People need to know that,” she said.

The women’s story begins with the Japanese attack on Manila Dec. 8, 1941--the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor--and follows them through the battles of Bataan and the nonstop shelling of Corregidor, a rock island fortress, to their surrender, their three years in Japanese camps and, finally, their liberation.

Linda Bird Franke, author of “Ground Zero: The Gender Wars in the Military,” says the Bataan book fills “a vital but missing chapter in the history of World War II: the stunning heroism of women.”

But the real gems of the book are in the vivid details of their actions, taken from interviews, journals, letters and government testimony.

“It is jungle land and everyone lives under trees. Rows of beds snuggled under the trees with narrow winding paths between them and the night sky overhead,” Ruth Straub wrote in her journal, describing the first field hospital on Bataan.

"[Japanese] overhead about 11:30 bombing . . . again. Many women and children killed, injured and burned. What will become of all of us? One soldier brought in a 4-month-old Filipino baby. Both parents were killed during the bombing. . . . I am so hungry--rice, cold salmon and tomatoes. Couldn’t eat any of it,” she wrote in another entry.

Norman writes of the surrender of Corregidor: “The nurses stood mute and edgy. Up and down the line walked the Japanese, looking them over. It was difficult, at first, to read the enemy’s face, to separate reputation from reality, reality from fear. the sight of women in uniform was so alien to the Japanese that they seemed puzzled, indeed almost confused, by the nurses’ presence.”

Through it all, racked with disease and injury, the nurses continued to work, tending to soldiers and, later, to the hundreds held with them in the camps.

“When your world is crumbling around you, you need this kind of structure,” said Norman, an associate professor of nursing at New York University.

Of the hunger in the camps, she writes: “Some people started eating weeds--flowers and roots. . . . A few of the nurses grew a little talinum and okra, then fried their meager harvest in cold cream that came in Red Cross kits.”

Of the 99, 22 had managed to escape minutes ahead of the Japanese invaders. Of the remaining 77 repatriated in 1945, 48 were still alive when Norman began writing the book eight years ago. Many died during her research, four of them just days before they were to be interviewed. Among them was Josephine Nesbit, a senior Army nurse credited with the nurses’ survival in captivity.

“She was a key player in this story,” Norman said.

A few survivors refused to see her. “I do not want to live in the past,” one said.

But many were eager to talk, hoping to set straight what had been romanticized in such movies as “So Proudly We Hail” (1942) starring Claudette Colbert, and “They Were Expendable” (1945) with Donna Reed, which were advertised as accurate accounts of the nurses’ experience.

“They were dogs. They romanticized what happened. Let me tell you, there was nothing romantic about it,” Nestor said in a telephone interview from her suburban Philadelphia home.

Stephen Ambrose, who wrote the best-selling “D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II,” called the nurses “the bravest of the brave, who endured unspeakable pain and torture. Americans today should thank God we had such women.”


Historical commemoration [ edit | rediger kilde]

  • Araw ng Kagitingan eller Day of Valour. The day Bataan fell into Japanese hands, 9 April, was declared a national holiday in the Philippines. Ζ] Previously called Bataan Day, the day is now known as Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valour, commemorating both the Fall of Bataan (9 April 1942) and the Fall of Corregidor (6 May 1942).

Mariveles, Bataan Memorial Shrine (Km. Zero, starting point of Death March, 9–17 April 1942).

  • Dambana ng Kagitingan eller Shrine of Valor is a memorial shrine erected on top of Mt. Samat in Pilar, Bataan in the Philippines. The war memorial grounds feature a colonnade that houses an altar, esplanade, and a museum. On the peak of the mountain is the Memorial Cross standing about 311 ft (95 m) high.

  • USS Bataan (LHD-5), commissioned on 20 September 1997, the United States NavyWasp class amphibious assault ship commemorates those who served and sacrificed in the Philippines in the name of freedom in the Pacific.
  • USS Bataan (CVL-29), commissioned on 17 November 1943, the United States NavyIndependence class aircraft carrier commemorated those who served and sacrificed in the Philippines in the name of freedom in the Pacific until her decommissioning on 9 April 1954.

A U.S. Army member posts the flag of the Battling Bastards of Bataan at the opening ceremony of the Bataan Memorial Death March

  • Bataan Death March Memorial Monument, erected in April, 2001, is the only monument funded by the US Federal Government dedicated to the victims of the Bataan Death March during World War II. The Memorial was designed and sculpted by Las Cruces artist Kelley Hester and is located in Veterans Park along Roadrunner Parkway in New Mexico. Η]
  • Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge is a bascule bridge on State Street in Chicago, Illinois where it crosses the Chicago River. It was built in 1949 and rededicated on 9 April 1998 commemorating not only the Day of Valour but also the centennial of the Declaration of Philippine Independence from Spain in 1898. ⎖]⎗]

History of the 192nd Tank Battalion

Many of them were kids. Some were still in high school. Others had been in the National Guard for years. It was 1940 and the new men had joined the National Guard because a federal draft act had recently been passed, and they knew that it was just a matter of time before they would be drafted into the army.

Having heard that the federal government was going to federalize National Guard units for a period of one year of military service, these men decided joining the National Guard would be a good way to fulfill their military obligation. Many believed that in a year, when the companies were released from federal service, they could begin planning their lives.

Company A came from Janesville, Wisconsin, Company B from Maywood, Illinois, Company C from Port Clinton, Ohio, and Company D from Harrodsburg, Kentucky. On November 25, 1940, they traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where they came together to form the 192nd GHQ Light Tank Battalion. The battalion was what the U.S. Army termed, “an independent tank battalion.” They trained together and, at first, often fought each other. They came from farms, small towns, and the big city. Finally, they took pride in the fact that they were the 192nd Tank Battalion.

In January 1941, since none of the tank companies wanted to give up their tanks, Headquarters Company was formed by taking men from the four letter companies of the battalion. After this was done, the army attempted to fill the vacancies in the companies with men from the home states of each of the National Guard companies.

After taking part in the Louisiana maneuvers in the late summer of 1941, on the side of a hill at Camp Polk, they learned that they were being sent overseas. So much for one year of military service. Those 29 years old or older were given the chance to resign from federal service. Many of those who were left went home on leave to say their goodbyes.

Replacements were sought to fill the vacancies created by the resignations. Many of these men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion which “just happened” to have been sent to Camp Polk from Fort Benning, Georgia. None of the soldiers, who remained or who were new to the battalion, had any idea what lay ahead of them.

Traveling west over different train routes, the companies of the 192nd Tank Battalion arrived in San Francisco and were ferried to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. One soldier recalled thinking, as they passed Alcatraz Island, that they too were prisoners on an island. At night, they looked across the bay at the lights of San Francisco. For many, this was their last image of the United States.

Sailing from San Francisco for the Philippine Islands, they stopped at Hawaii. Many noticed that the climate there was one of preparation for war. Posters warned of unintentionally providing information to spies. Other posters asked that men volunteer for fire brigades.

West of Hawaii, the ships sailed under complete blackout. One member of the battalion got into trouble for dropping an apple core into the ocean. An officer yelled at him that the apple core could reveal their location to the enemy. What enemy was he talking about? The United States wasn’t at war. Only after convincing the officer that apple cores didn’t float, did he get out of trouble.

In another incident, an escort cruiser took off after a ship that was spotted in the distance and had failed to identify itself. One man recalled that the front of the ship came out of the water. As it turned out, the ship belonged to a neutral country. Two other intercepted ships were Japanese freighters hauling scrap metal to Japan.

Arriving in the Philippine Islands at Manila, they were rushed to Ft. Stotsenburg and Clark Field. Upon arriving at Ft. Stotsenburg, they were greeted with chants of “suckers” from other American soldiers. Their dinner was a stew thrown into their mess kits. Some men needn’t even get that to eat.

It was at this time that D Company was attached to, but not transferred to, the 194th Tank Battalion. Since their barracks were unfinished, they lived in tents. For a little over two weeks they worked to prepare their tanks for the maneuvers they were expecting to take part in What they were about to take part in was totally unexpected.

On Monday, December 8, December 7 on the other side of the International Dateline, just ten hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, they lived through a surprise attack on Clark Field. The attack wiped out the American Army Air Corps, and the first member of the battalion was killed during the attack.

At Lingayen Gulf on December 22, 1941, a platoon of B Company’s tanks engaged enemy tanks. This was the first time American tanks fought enemy tanks in World War II. Another soldier died during the engagement and four battalion members became Prisoners of War. A little under two weeks later, C Company’s tanks would engage and destroy a company of Japanese tanks.

For the next few weeks, the members of the battalion fell back toward the Bataan Peninsula with the other Filipino and American troops. At Plaridel, the tankers fought a frantic battle against the Japanese to allow the southern forces to withdrawal into Bataan. They were asked to hold the position for six hours to allow most of the Filipino and American troops to cross the Pampanga River they held the position for three days.

As they fell back, they were constantly strafed and shelled. Since they had no air force, no place was safe from enemy planes. The 192nd Tank Battalion was the last American military unit to enter the Bataan Peninsula just moments before the last bridge over the Pampanga River into the peninsula was blown up by the engineers. There, they would continue to fight without food, without adequate supplies, without medicine, and with only the hope of being reinforced. There was always talk that American ships had been seen off the coast of Bataan.

The belief that reinforcements were coming was also lost when they heard the Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, on the radios of their tanks. In his speech, he spoke of how some Americans had to be sacrificed if the war was to be won. The soldiers knew Stimson was speaking of them. It was at this time that many made the decision that they would rather fight to the death than surrender.

On April 8, 1942, General King sent his staff officers to meet with the Japanese for terms of surrender. One of the jeeps was driven by a member of the battalion. The white flags on the jeeps were extra bedding from A Company.

At 6:45 in the morning, the order “CRASH” was given. Upon hearing it, most of the tankers destroyed their tanks and other equipment before surrendering to the Japanese. It was on the morning of April 9, 1942, that many of the members of the battalion became Prisoners of War. Having heard that the Japanese were looking for them, they stripped their uniforms of anything that indicated they were tankers.

Some of the soldiers wondered what people at home would think of them because of this. Others escaped to the Island of Corregidor to fight on for another month. Three joined the guerillas. Two of the three would be killed by the Japanese, while the surviving man spent the entire war as a guerilla fighting the Japanese. The rest made their way to Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan. It was there that they started what became known as the Bataan Death March.

The march was long and hot. The Japanese had not expected such a large number of prisoners and were not prepared to handle this number of prisoners. Most of the POWs, if not all, were sick.

Many of the POWs went days without food or water on the march. Some of the members of the battalion died of exhaustion or were executed simply because they had dysentery and had tried to relieve themselves. As one member of the battalion said, “We were all sick. It was more of a trudge than a march.”

The battalion members trudged their way for days attempting to reach San Fernando. It took some of them two weeks to complete the march. Often they marched at night. At times, they stumbled over the bodies of Filipinos and Americans who had died or been executed.

At San Fernando, they were crammed into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane. They were packed in so tightly that those who died remained standing. At Capas they disembarked, the bodies of the dead fell out of the cars as they did so. The POWs walked the last few miles to Camp O’Donnell.

Camp O’Donnell was an unfinished Filipino Army base that the Japanese pressed into service as a prison camp. Disease and the lack of food and medicine took their toll on the weak. There was one water spigot for the entire camp. As many as 50 men died a day. The burial detachment worked nonstop to bury the dead.

To escape the camp, members of the battalion went out on work details to rebuild what they had destroyed weeks earlier as they had retreated. Others worked recovering scrap metal that was sent to Japan.

When a new camp at Cabanatuan opened, the “healthier” POWs were sent there. It was in this new camp that they were joined by the battalion members who had escaped to Corregidor. Most of those POWs who remained at Camp O’Donnell died. For some battalion members, Cabanatuan was where they would spend the remainder of the war.

Other battalion members were sent to satellite camps in other parts of the Philippines. Still, others were boarded onto cargo ships and sent to Japan or another occupied country.

As the war went on and American troops got closer to the Philippines, most of the members of the battalion, who still remained there, were sent to Manila for shipment to Japan. This was done to prevent them from being liberated.

Many members of the battalion died in the holds of Japanese cargo ships. Some died from the heat, some passed out and suffocated, one was murdered by another American for his canteen. Most died when the ships they were on were torpedoed by American and British submarines. The reason this happened was that the Japanese refused to mark the ships with “red crosses” which indicated they were carrying Prisoners of War.

After the American armed forces landed in the Philippines, four of the battalion’s members were burned to death on Palawan Island, with other POWs, by the Japanese. They simply did not want the POWs to be liberated by the advancing American army.

The luckier battalion members were freed when American Rangers liberated Cabanatuan on January 30, 1945. Some were freed when Bilibid Prison was liberated on February 4, 1945. They were the first to come home and tell their stories of life as Japanese POWs.

Those battalion members who had been sent to Japan, or another Japanese controlled country, were used as slave labor. They worked in factories, they worked in condemned coal mines, they worked in copper mines, they worked in steel and copper mills, they worked as stevedores loading and unloading ships, and they hauled hazardous chemicals. They worked for weeks without a day off and with very little food.

What kept them going were the rumors and the planes. The bombings of Japanese cities became more frequent. American planes flew overhead both day and night. At night during an air raid, one member of the battalion recalled peeking out of the window of his barracks to watch the fires from the bombing. He thought they were beautiful.

One day, a member of the battalion watched an American bomber circle above the shipping docks where he was working. The plane dropped leaflets to the POWs working on the docks of the Japanese port. The leaflets indicated that the Americans knew where the prison camps were located.

The POWs began to sense that it was just a matter of time before the war would be over. The only question they asked themselves was, “Would they be alive to see the end of the war?”

Rumors began to fly that the war was over and that Japan had surrendered. Some of the POWs had heard the Japanese emperor on the radio. Others had witnessed a great explosion over Nagasaki. Even after being told by interpreters that Japan had surrendered, they did not believe that the war was over. It was only when the guards vanished from the camps that they knew the rumor might be true. This belief was confirmed when American B-29s appeared over the camps and began dropping food and clothing to the men in the camps.

Most of the surviving members of the battalion were returned to the Philippines to be “fattened up.” The United States government did not want them to be seen until they were healthier looking.

Many of the surviving members of the battalion returned home, married, and raised families. They tried to get on with their lives. Some were successful at doing this while others never really recovered from their years as Japanese POWs.

Of the 596 soldiers who left the United States in late October 1941, 325 had died. Some in combat, some were executed, but most died from disease or malnutrition while Japanese Prisoners of War. Many died in the holds of ships that were sunk by Allied submarines.

Today, all the surviving members of the 192nd Tank Battalion are gone, and those who chose to share their stories with us have since passed away. Often, doing this was a very painful experience. As one member of the B Company said to us over twenty years ago, “You’re asking me to tell you about something that I’ve spent the last fifty-five years trying to forget.”

It is our hope that this project keeps their story alive just a little longer.


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