By Kelly E. Crager
Past due in 1940, the younger males of the second Battalion, 131st box Artillery Regiment stepped off the vehicles at Camp Bowie in Brownwood, Texas, able to whole the learning they might desire for energetic accountability in international conflict II. a lot of them had grown up jointly in Jacksboro, Texas, and just about all of them have been wanting to face any problem. simply over a yr later, those carefree younger Texans will be faced by means of horrors they can by no means have imagined.
The battalion used to be en path to bolster the Allied safeguard of the Philippines once they obtained information of the japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. quickly, they discovered themselves ashore on Java, with orders to help the Dutch, British, and Australian security of the island opposed to forthcoming jap invasion. whilst conflict got here to Java in March 1942, the japanese forces crushed the numerically inferior Allied defenders in little greater than a week.
For greater than 3 years, the Texans, in addition to the sailors and marines who survived the sinking of the USS Houston, have been prisoners of the Imperial jap military. starting in past due 1942, those prisoners-of-war have been shipped to Burma to speed up final touch of the Burma-Thailand railway. those males worked along different Allied prisoners and Asian conscript employees to construct greater than 260 miles of railroad for his or her eastern taskmasters. They suffered abscessed wounds, near-starvation, day-by-day beatings, and debilitating affliction, and 89 of the unique 534 Texans taken prisoner died within the infested, malarial jungles. The survivors obtained a hero's welcome from Gov. Coke Stevenson, who declared October 29, 1945, as "Lost Battalion Day" after they eventually again to Texas.
Kelly E. Crager consulted respectable documentary assets of the nationwide documents and the U.S. military and mined the private memoirs and oral heritage interviews of the "Lost Battalion" contributors. He makes a speciality of the therapy the boys bought of their captivity and surmises major think about the battalion's relatively excessive survival fee (84 percentage of the second Battalion) was once the comradery of the Texans and their dedication to take care of each one other.
This narrative is grueling, but eventually inspiring. Hell lower than the emerging Sun might be a beneficial addition to the collections of global conflict II historians and normal readers alike.
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Extra info for Hell under the Rising Sun: Texan POWs and the Building of the Burma-Thailand Death Railway
The Republic’s convoy was just east of the Gilbert Islands when it received official notiﬁcation of the Japanese attack and of the state of war. Cdr. Guy Clark of the Republic then made the following announcement over the public address system: “Attention all hands, a state of war exists between Japan and the United States; Pearl Harbor has been attacked. ”27 After hearing the news, the army and navy officers on the Republic ordered their men to prepare the ship for combat. The sailors brought ammunition out of the hold and readied their machine-gun emplacements.
Army Air Corps, based out of Singosari. The 19th, under the command of Col. Eugene L. 57 Since the 19th had no ground crew on Java, parts of the 2nd Battalion served in this capacity. 58 A few men of the artillery outﬁt transferred to the 19th Bomb Group and served as gunners on these B-17s. 59 In early February 1942, the Japanese initiated bombing and straﬁng raids against Java, trying to soften the island’s defenses in preparation for the upcoming invasion. Beginning on February 3, Japanese bombers and ﬁghters attacked Camp Singosari on a daily basis, continuing regularly for about a week.
49 The reality of war began creeping up on the young men of the 2nd Battalion. 50 P. J. ”51 In spite of the submarine scare, however, the Texans still did not take the war or their position in it very seriously. J. W. ”55 The Bloemfontein docked at Surabaja, on the northeastern tip of Java, on January 11, 1942, and the troops were slated to help the Dutch, British, and Australians defend the island from the imminent Japanese attack. The 2nd Battalion debarked from the ship and traveled by train from Surabaja to Malang, a city in the highlands about sixty miles to the south, and reported for duty at Camp Singosari, a Dutch airﬁeld just outside Malang.