Death March of Bataan

from Ironhead by Red Dawn

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6 days after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese launched an invasion of the Philippines, expecting to rampage on through the South Pacific largely unchallenged after the rout of the US Navy in Hawaii. 76,000 US and Filipino troops held out nearly 6 mos on the Bataan peninsula, but were hopelessly undersupplied due to the crippling of the US Navy at Pearl Harbor. Defeat was inevitable. On surrender, already weak from malnutrition and battle, they were subjected to an inhumanly brutal 2 week march to POW camps. Due to systemic widespread murder and physical abuse, 16,000 men died during what was ultimately declared a war crime. 70 years later the Death March of Bataan is still memorialized with yearly events both in the US and particularly the Philippines, where the national holiday "Araw ng Kagitingan" (Day of Valour) is held on 9 April in honor of the POWs and the fall of Bataan/Corregidor.



Small town kid just 18
Volunteered for duty as a Marine
On a bus to Pendleton
Seven weeks he can use a gun
Alameda and a troop transport
A few more weeks on a rusty old can
Poker and cigarettes manly fun
Traveling to far off Bataan

Day of infamy is here
The surprise attack is on
Axis forces landing near
They'll hold the bastards at Luzon
Weeks with no resupply
On the brink of exhaustion
It was only ever a matter of time
The inevitable fall of Bataan

Honor denied in bushido code
Captors humanity erode
Herded on like so much cattle
Weakened by months of disease and battle
Sixteen thousand will see no dawn
On the death march of Bataan
Death March of Bataan

76 thousand strong
Face a march 80 miles long
No supplies along the route
Axis indifference absolute
Dying bodies still remain
Trucks crushing them with disdain
Troops on jeeps necks casually slice
Murder just a part time vice


Continue pushing on they must
Slow down and feel the bayonet thrust
No mercy humanitarian rest
Interminable for even the ablest
Allied medics with no supplies
Strive to stem the painful cries
Endless torture still goes on
They found their hell on earth, Bataan


©2013 Red Dawn Limited. All rights reserved.


from Ironhead, released October 31, 2013


all rights reserved



Red Dawn Wellington, New Zealand

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