..the morning of the 3rd of April, 1942 was Good Friday, it was also the day the Japanese launched their offensive at the foot of Mount Samat in Bataan where the U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) last stand. At three o'clock in the afternoon the Japanese began with massive artillery followed by their "red zero" planes dropped incendiary bombs and created flame and smoke, the Japanese troops started the attack. By nightfall the Japanese reached the USAFFE defense lines.
The two US generals: Edward King and Henry Jones in Bataan, who by the 8th of April saw the futility of another counterattack ordered by General Jonathan Wainwright the commander MacArthur left in charge of the USAFFE before he escaped from a sure imprisonment by the advancing Japanese armed forces. On the afternoon of April 8, General King sent a messenger name General Arnold Funk to Wainwright in Corregidor, that Bataan might fall at any moment. Almost at the same time Wainwright received a telegram from MacArthur from Australia stating: "I am utterly opposed to capitulation. If food fails, you will execute an attack upon the enemy." ...in other words MacArthur is expecting his generals to die fighting. Another telegram was received later by Wainwright was an order from US President Roosevelt forbidding surrender: "So long as there remains any possibility of resistance."
Wainwright told General Funk his message to King: "General, you go back and tell General King he will not surrender. Tell him he will attack. Those are my orders." ...tears springing to Funk's eyes and said: "General, you know of course what the situation there. You know what the outcome will be." Wainwright replied saying: "I do!"
With 70,000 troops on Bataan General Edward P. King grandson of a Confederate General of the Civil War, fell the grisly choice between annihilation and surrender, between obeying Wainwright and Roosevelt and saving the lives of his soldiers after months of fighting the invading Japanese Army where food and medicine exhausted. At six in the morning, General King chose to surrender his troops on the 9th of April, 1942, two Americans emissaries were sent to the Japanese lines under the white flag of truce to arrange a meet.
Around 3:30 AM of April 9, Col. Everett Williams and Maj. Marshall Hurt volunteered to make contact with the Japanese, decided to leave before sunrise. King gave Williams a piece of paper requesting a meeting with the Japanese officer commanding the Bataan Army and gave Williams the authority to negotiate a surrender. They acquired a jeep, a driver and the three then proceeded north, towards the Japanese lines. Sometime after 5:30 AM, they were intercepted by Japanese troops. Williams showed the Sergeant in charge the letter from King with his instructions. After some tense moments, the Japanese Sergeant boarded the American Jeep and they drove north where they met Gen. Kameichiro Nagano who agreed to meet Gen. King near the frontline.
The Japanese retained Col. Williams and sent Maj. Hurt back to Gen. King’s headquarters. Soon after Gen. King, Col. Collier, Maj. Wade Cothran, Capt. Tisdelle and Maj. Hurt boarded two jeeps and drove towards the experimental farm in Lamao. During their drive, they were strafed by Japanese planes. Japanese troops intercepted them at the Lamao River Bridge. King and his officers were escorted to the experimental farm station. Gen. Nagano told King that a representative of the Japanese 14th Army would soon arrive and at 11:00 AM a Col. Motoo Nakayama, senior operations officer for the 14th Army. Col. Nakayama thought Gen. King was Gen. Wainwright. When King explained that he was not Gen. Wainwright, Col. Nakayama told King to go get Wainwright, King explained he could not contact Wainwright and he only had authority to surrender the forces on Bataan, not the Filipino-American forces of the Philippines. Col. Nakayama replied that he could not accept a piecemeal surrender of just the Bataan forces. Again he told Gen. King that no surrender could be accepted or the cessation of hostilities would be granted without the presence of Gen. Wainwright surrendering the entire Filipino-American forces of the Philippines.
After more heated discussion and Nakayama refusing to accept the surrender of the Bataan forces, Nakayama later agreed to accept the individual, unconditional surrender of Gen. King as an individual. The distinction is that no force or entity was ever surrendered, since the surrender of only a part of the Filipino-American forces could not be accepted by Col. Nakayama. There were no terms of surrender to be discussed, Nakayama insisted on holding to his linguistic distinction between personal surrender and the surrender of a force. King asked if he surrendered, would his troops be treated well, Col. Nakayama only replied: "We are not Barbarians." Gen. King agreed to surrender and Nakayama asked for King’s sword. King apologized and said he did not have his sword because he left it in Manila, he did convinced them to take his pistol. No surrender document was prepared or signed nor was any effort made to formalize the surrender. The Japanese concluded that the surrender negotiations had failed, Nakayama wrote: "The surrender of the American Philippine Forces in the Bataan Peninsula was accomplished by the voluntary and unconditional surrender of each individual. The negotiations for the cessation of hostilities failed." From the Japanese perspective, no force was ever surrendered, only individuals surrendered and Nakayama left. Col. Collier and Maj. Hurt were allowed to return to the American lines with Gen. King’s order to surrender.
King never informed Wainwright, a move which would cost him professionally. He wanted the responsibility all to himself saying: "You men remember this. You did not surrender ... you had no alternative but to obey my order." ...That night in Corregidor Wainwright received an odd message from Roosevelt, who said that he was leaving to Wainwright's best judgement "any decision affecting Netherlands future of Bataan garrison." Roosevelt thus revoked his order of no surrender on the very day of surrender, when it was too late and there was no need to revoke it.
King spent three and half years as a captive of the Japanese and was often mistreated by them because of his rank. In a meeting with his troops prior to being sent to a POW Camp in Manchuria, he assured his men, in a tearful farewell, that he alone was responsible for the surrender. In General King’s own words: "We were asked to lay down a bunt. We did just that. You have nothing to be ashamed of."
It is also important to point out that General King's decision to surrender on April 9, 1942, he surrendered the largest military force in American History. Then again his courageous act saved the lives of thousands of his troops, who would have been annihilated by the Japanese if he had not surrendered. General Masaharu Homma, commander of the Japanese 14th Army, refused to see General King and ordered Colonel Motoo Nakayama to face King & his officers. In the book "Ghost Soldiers" by Hampton Sides describes the surrender scene... "From the start Nakayama was greatly confused about the nature of King’s relationship to Wainwright and just what it was that King was offering to surrender." As far as the Japanese were concerned, Bataan and Corregidor were one and the same and insisted on the presence of Wainwright. When King brought up the Geneva Convention and expressed concern about the safety of his men, he was brusquely cut off with Nakayama saying... "The Imperial Japanese Army are not barbarians." ...General King had no way of knowing the horrors they would face in captivity, including the Bataan Death March. King spent three and half years as a captive of the Japanese. Both Wainwright & King expected court-martial for disobeying the no-surrender order. However, they were freed finally. After the war General King returned to the US where he retired to a home in Georgia, he died peacefully on August 31, 1958 at the aged of 74.
- ka tony
the 9th of April '16
- ka tony
the 9th of April '16