Allied Prisoners of War Sort Confiscated Equipment on Bataan

Japanese guards supervise American and Filipino prisoners of war sorting through captured equipment confiscated by the Japanese at Mariveles Airfield. Although Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma's 14th Army had expected 25,000 prisoners of war, they were greeted by more than 75,000 (66,000 Filipinos and 11,796 Americans) starving and malaria-stricken captives at Bataan. During the battle, only 27,000 of these men were listed as "combat effective" despite rampant malaria. The Japanese army met great difficulties in transporting these prisoners from the beginning. Most Allied prisoners were forced together either on the airfield or at the Little Baguio motor pool, and were frisked for their valuables. Some lost food and canteens; others retained them. Some lost hats and helmets, which would have Any japanese money or manufactured goods resulted in death or violence. Beatings for no apparent reason were commonplace, and all witnessed varying degrees of wanton cruelty. Counted off in ranks of four and marching companies of one hundred, their ordeal began on April 10, 1942. The road from Mariveles on the tip of Bataan to Orani was unimproved, deep in dust and excrement. Pitifully few of the wounded survived, falling by the wayside, bayoneted or beheaded, or ground into pulp beneath enemy tanks and trucks. Distributing food was also almost impossible as many were fed nothing, and the Allied prisoners were already hungry from lack of food during the battle. 4,000 sick or wounded captives had to stay behind to be treated by the Japanese at Bataan.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Saturday, April 11, 1942