THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH - THE JAPANESE TAKE THEIR REVENGE
Humiliated by the stubborn resistance of American and Philippine troops on Bataan and Corregidor, which forced him to ask for reinforcements from Japan, the furious Japanese General Masaharu Homma took his revenge on the heroic survivors of Bataan and Corregidor. The captured American and Philippine troops were subjected to the infamous Death March from Bataan to Camp O'Donnell. In the course of the Death March, thousands of prisoners were either murdered or died from ill-treatment by their Japanese guards.
During the surrender discussions relating to Bataan, General Homma told Major General King that his troops would have to march from Bataan to their place of imprisonment at Camp O'Donnell, a distance of about 100 miles (161 km). General King pointed out to the Japanese commander that his troops had been on half rations since January, and that all were starving and many were sick. He requested permission to drive the prisoners of war to Camp O'Donnell in American army trucks. Still smarting from the rebuke he had received from Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo and his demotion from overall command in the Philippines, Homma curtly dismissed King's request
Death was to be the fate of many of the American and Philippine troops who were forced by their Japanese captors to take part in the infamous Bataan Death March.
Immediately following the Bataan surrender on 9 April 1942, the prisoners of war were searched. Any prisoner found with Japanese equipment or other souvenirs was immediately executed. The Bataan Death March began at Mariveles on 10 April, and lasted for a week. During this hellish march, sick and starving prisoners were beaten randomly and denied any water. Any prisoner who asked for water was executed on the spot. When the Japanese guards needed a rest, they forced the prisoners to sit in the hot sun without any head covering. Any prisoner who fell behind or collapsed from heat, exhaustion and lack of water, was executed on the spot unless his comrades could carry him. During the week-long march, prisoners were denied food apart from a few handfuls of contaminated rice. At night, the prisoners were packed so tightly into enclosures that they were almost unable to move.
To save them from execution by the Japanese guards, prisoners carry comrades who have collapsed during the Bataan Death March from sickness, heat and exhaustion.
The heroic survivors of Corregidor were subjected to the same brutality by their Japanese captors.
What happened to the vindictive Japanese general Homma?
After the defeat of Japan in 1945, Lieutenant General Homma was charged as a war criminal for his part in the brutal deaths of American and Philippine prisoners of war during the Bataan Death March. He was convicted of war crimes in 1946 and executed.