Pvt. Clarence L. Allen
Pvt. Clarence L. Allen was
born on August 31, 1919, in Lyon County,
Kentucky, to Alton D. Allen and Leena
Landkin-Allen. With his sister and
brother, he grew up in Kuttawa, Kentucky.
He left school after finishing grammar school
and worked as a farmhand before joining the
Civilian Conservation Corps.
Clarence was drafted and reported to Louisville, Kentucky, where he was inducted into the U.S. Army on January 22, 1941. He was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for basic training. While in basic training, he was assigned to D Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. This was done since the tank company had originally been a Kentucky National Guard Tank Company from Harrodsburg. He attended armor school, but the specific training he received is not known.
In the late summer of 1941, the battalion was sent to Louisiana to take part in maneuvers. They were assigned to the Red Army. The Blue Army was under the command of General George S. Patton. During the maneuvers, the 192nd broke through the Blue Army's defensive lines and were about to capture the army's headquarters when the maneuvers were cancelled. Instead of returning to Ft. Knox, the battalion received orders to report to Camp Polk. None of the members of the battalion had any idea why this had been done.
On the side of a hill, the tankers learned that instead of being released from federal service they were being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM. Within hours, many of the men knew that PLUM stood for Philippines, Luzon, Manila. Men 29 years old or older, or married, were allowed to resign from federal service. Replacements for the men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion. The 192nd also received the battalion's tanks and half-tracks.
The battalion was sent west, over four different train routes, to San Francisco, California. This was done so that people who saw the trains would not assume the United States was preparing for war. Arriving in San Francisco, the battalion was ferried to Angel Island. On the island, they were given physicals and inoculated. Some men were held back at the island, for minor medical reasons, and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
The battalion sailed, on the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott, from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy. They arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a layover. The soldiers received passes and allowed to explore the islands. They sailed again on Tuesday, November 4th for Guam. When the ships arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water. The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day.
About 8:00 in the morning on Thursday, November 20th the ships arrived at Manila Bay. After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked. The tankers rode buses to the train station where they got out and took a train to Ft. Stostenburg. Other battalion members boarded their trucks and drove them to fort north of Manila.
At the fort, the tankers were met by General Edward King. King welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed. He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to love in tents. The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived.
For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons. It was at this time the work began to transfer D Company to the 194th Tank Battalion. The transfer was never completed and the company remained a company of the 192nd. The tankers also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts. The plan was for the 192nd, with the 194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers. At one point, the tankers were sent to the perimeter of Clark Airfield and simulated guarding it against Japanese paratroopers.
After the attack, D Company was ordered to Mabalac on the Delores Road. They remained there until December 10th. They were next sent to Klumpit to look for paratroopers. While there, they guarded a huge bridge from saboteurs. On December 13th, the tankers were moved 80 kilometers to do reconnaissance and guard beaches. They remained there until December 23rd, when they were sent 100 kilometers north to Rosario to assist the 26th U. S. Cavalry because the defensive lines had broken.
Christmas Day for Clarence and the other
tankers was spent in a coconut grove. As
it turned out, the coconuts were all they had
to eat. From
Christmas to January 15, 1942, both day
and night, all the tanks did was cover
retreats of different infantry
units. The tanks were constantly
bombed, shelled and strafed.
The tankers were next assigned to guarding the
Bataan and Cabcaben airfields. They also
guarded against beach landings and
paratroopers. They would continue this
duty until April 7th. On
April 8th, the tankers were sent Trail 10
and Mount Samat. The lines had
broken. They fought there until
receiving the news of the