The Bataan Death March
"Their ferocity grew as we marched ... they were no longer content with mauling stragglers or pricking them with bayonet points. The thrusts were intended to kill." - Capt. William Dyess, 21st Pursuit Squadron commander
75,000 soldiers were captured. 65 miles were marched. Thousands perished. The Bataan Death March was the result of a four-month long battle in Bataan, a battle that was lost for the Allied forces. American and Filipino soldiers were forced to walk this arduous journey, and if they refused, they would be bayoneted on the spot. (Bataan) During a time full of racial genocide, weapons of mass destruction, and countless war crimes, the Bataan Death March was just another abomination of WWII. However, the effect of the largest contingent of U.S. soldiers ever to surrender is one that is lasting and the Allied troops that were involved will not be soon forgotten. (U.S.) On January 7, 1942, Allied forces consisting of about 12,000 American and 63,000 Filipino soldiers began to fight the Battle of Bataan, a grinding, 4-month long fight between Japan and the Allies to take control of the Philippines. Just hours after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and left the naval base in flames, the Japanese invasion of the Philippines began .The goal of those defending the Bataan peninsula from the Japanese was simple: fight for as long as possible to buy time for the Americans and Australians to recover and rebuild. Medicine in Bataan was in short supply, rations were cut to next to nothing, and the outdated weapons were barely holding together. Thousands of Filipino and American soldiers were wounded and many were dying in military hospitals. The troops were unable to attain the necessities needed to survive due to the inability of the US naval fleet to deliver them after being destroyed at Pearl Harbor. The commander in charge of Bataan, General Edward King, had no choice left but to surrender on April 9, 1942, and the...
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