The Battling Bastards of Bataan

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by ccheese, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    I have a neighbor, a Filipino I guess in his late 70's, and we talk about the
    war once in awhile. This morning we got to talking about the Phillipines in
    early 1942. He told me he was one of "The Battling Bastards of Bataan",
    and proceeded to sing this little ditty:

    "We're the battling bastards of Battan,
    no mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam.

    No aunts, no uncles, no nephews, no nieces,
    No ships, no planes, no artillery pieces.

    And nobody gives a damn !"

    His voice was filled with emotion, and I really couldn't determine a tune.
    But he said as a nine year old boy, at the time the Japanese were in
    the process of invading the Phillipines, he was a runner for a Filipino Scout
    outfit. At nine years old !! He would hustle ammo, weapons, food and
    water, bandages and anything else. And he would help bury the dead.

    After the occupation he was sent to a school to learn to speak Japanese.
    But he was also a spy for the men still in the hills. He spoke of a General
    Homa (or Homma) of the Japanese Army, but only in passing. Anyone
    recognize the name ?

    He got very emotional... I guess the memories were not pleasant, and he
    went inside. We will talk again, but on his terms.

    I don't know if we have any Filipino's on the forum or not, or maybe one of
    WW-II scholars can add more to this.


    Charles
     
  2. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    To your friend Mr C.....:salute:
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I mentioned this a few times....

    My wife's grandfather was on Macarthur’s staff and was captured, he wrote a book about his ordeal.

    Amazon Online Reader : Surviving the Day: An American Pow in Japan

    He would go back to the PI every so many years and meet with the people who helped him and his wife (my wife's grandmother was also captured, she was aboard a PBY that was shot down trying to fly to Australia). Since his death my inlaws go back and still do some missionary work there.
     
  4. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Homma was the commander of the Japanese troops that finally conquered the Allied forces on Bataan. He had such a difficult time that he was in hot water with the Japanese high command. He was prosecuted after the war because of the mal treatment of POWs after the surrender of Bataan and I believe executed. Your neighbor may be a real hero. The Filipinos I have met are very patriotic.
     
  5. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Ive been to Corregidore.

    Back in the 80's, I worked with a guy who was from Leyte.

    He told me that untill the middle 70's, in his neighborhood, there was a small aircraft junkyard (full of AAF and IJA planes and parts).

    Then one day, the scrap men came and took it all away.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  9. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    When I worked at HUGHES, his son was my boss.

    Col Edwin Ramsey was on MacArthurs staff in the PI. When Bataan was about to fall, he was told by Doug to retreat to the hills and fight a guerilla action. Which he did with enthusiasm.

    He also led the very last cavalry charge in the US Army. That was part of a delaying action up near Lingayan.
     
  10. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    I found this on Wiki:

    Masaharu Homma (本間雅晴, Honma Masaharu?, 28 January 1888 – 3 April 1946) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army. He is noteworthy for his role in the invasion and occupation of the Philippines in World War II. Homma, who was an amateur painter and playwright, was also known as the Poet General.

    After the surrender of Japan, the American occupation authorities arrested Homma, and he was extradited to the Philippines at the express order of General Douglas MacArthur so that he could be tried by an American military tribunal rather than the International Allied War Crimes Commission tasked with prosecuting Japanese war-time leaders for war crimes connected with starting the war.

    Historian Philip Piccigallo said that Homma was convicted of the actions of his men during the march rather than having a direct hand in the actions themselves.

    It is not clear whether Homma ordered the atrocities that occurred during the Bataan Death March, but it is clear that his lack of administrative expertise and inability to adequately delegate authority and control his men led to atrocities. After American-Filipino forces surrendered the Bataan Peninsula, Homma turned logistics of handling the estimated 25,000 prisoners to Major-General Yoshitake Kawane. Homma publicly stated that the POWs would be treated fairly. A plan was formulated to transport and march the prisoners to Camp O'Donnell, which Homma approved. However, the plan was severely flawed, as the American and Filipino POWs were starving, weak with malaria, and numbered not 25,000 but 76,000 men– far more than any Japanese plan had anticipated.[8] Additionally, the Japanese thought that the surrender would occur some three weeks later, a point at which supplies would have arrived. In his defense at his trial, Homma also claimed that he was so preoccupied with the plans for the Corregidor assault that he had forgotten about the prisoners’ treatment, believing that his officers were properly handling the matter. He claimed that he did not learn of the atrocity until after the war.

    Homma was convicted by the U.S. military tribunal for war crimes in the Philippines, including the Bataan Death March, and the atrocities at O'Donnell and Cabanatuan which followed. Homma's chief defense counsel, John H. Skeen Jr., stated that in his opinion it was a "highly irregular trial, conducted in an atmosphere that left no doubt as to what the ultimate outcome would be." Associate Justice Frank Murphy of the U.S. Supreme Court protested the verdict, stating: "Either we conduct such a trial as this in the noble spirit and atmosphere of our Constitution or we abandon all pretense to justice, let the ages slip away and descend to the level of revengeful blood purges."

    Homma's wife appealed to General MacArthur to spare his life; her pleas were denied, though according to William Manchester in “American Caesar”, he ordered Homma shot, rather than sent to the gallows, the latter being considered the greater dishonor amongst military men. Homma was executed by firing squad by the Filipino and American forces on 3 April 1946 outside Manila.

    Charles
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Interesting and now that you mention it Grady (my wife's grandfather) does mention the guerilla resistance in his book and might even mention Ramsey (I'll have to go back to Grady's book). At the time he was Captain and was ordered to stay at the tunnels at Corregidor. He thought the garrison there would put up a fight but was very surprised when the surrender order came down.
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    From what I've read - and it hasn't really been much - the Fillipinos were very courageous and continued to really fight the Japanese from the hills and jungles. Lots of brave men.

    For your friend Charles - :salute:
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Sys, your contacts regarding WW2 and the Philipines and your personal experience at Corregidor are extremely valuable and interesting. I envy you and hope you have done all you can to preserve those experiences for future generations.
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    What do people think of Macs performance in the Phillipines?

    My opinion is that he stuffed up the early part, and then extricated his army with great skill to the Bataan Peninsula. Should I duck now or later?
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    My wife's grandfather, having worked directly for him had great admiration for the man and claimed he did not want to evacuate.
     
  16. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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  17. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    I saw Mr Miranda (my neighbor) this morning. He apologized for "clouding
    up" (his words) the last time we spoke. He said it was un-manly, and he
    was very sorry. He has always been Mr. Miranda to me, but I found out his
    name is Manuel Mendoza Miranda. He said he would like to show me some
    things, this weekend. I can't wait.

    Charles
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  19. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    During 41-42, MacArthur was in a long fight with a short stick and although mistakes were made during the Japanese invasion of the Philipines, overall I believe he was the best general the US had in WW2. He was certainly an egocentric personality but he got the job done and usually with a low casualty rate, unlike the campaigns run by the Navy and Marines.
     
  20. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    He was also an extremely fast learner. When he was ordered back to Australia, he had formulated a basis of what strategy and tactics could defeat the Japanese.
     
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