2nd Lt. Daniel Jordan Beyer
What is known about 2nd Lt. Daniel J. Beyer was born
on May 8, 1916, and that he lived 2558 South
Wentworth in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was
the son of Otto & Hermie Beyer and had four
sisters and a brother. As a civilian, he
worked as mechanical draftsman.
While at Fort Lewis, Washington, the 194th Tank Battalion needed to fill out its roster. Daniel was assigned to the battalion and given command of B Company's third tank platoon. He would later become the administration officer for the battalion.
The battalion traveled by train to San Francisco, California, in September 1941. and were taken by ferry to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. At Ft. McDowell, they were given physicals and inoculated by the battalion's medical detachment. Those men found to have a minor medical condition were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. Other men were simply replaced.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S. A. T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th. During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP. The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
On Wednesday, November 5th, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes. It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the S. S. Calvin Coolidge. Sunday night, November 9th, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th. During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Date Line. On Saturday, November 15th, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country. During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly country.During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly countr
When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day. At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way. The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20th, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning. At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.
At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Field. He made sure that they had what they needed and that they received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own. As it turned out, the dinner was a watery stew. Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons. The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea. They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.
On December 1st, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers. From this time on, two tank crew members, or half-track crew members, remained with each vehicle at all times and received their meals from food trucks.
The morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield. They had received word of the Japanese attack on Clark Airfield. As they sat in their tanks and half-tracks they watched as American planes filled the sky. At noon, the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch. At 12:45, the tankers watched as planes approached the airfield from the north and had enough time to count 54 planes in formation. When bombs began exploding on the runways, they knew the planes were Japanese.
The tank battalion received orders on December 21st that it was to proceed north to Lingayen Gulf. Because of logistics problems, the B and C Companies soon ran low on gas. When they reached Rosario, there was only enough for one tank platoon, from B Company, to proceed north to support the 26th Cavalry. The rest of the tanks went to Damoritis to cover withdrawing troops.
On December 23rd and 24th, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta, but the bridge they were going to use to cross the Agno River was destroyed and the tankers made an end run to get south of river. As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening but successfully crossed at the river in the Bayambang Province.
On December 25th, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road to the left. The tanks withdrew the night of December 26th/27th, following the withdraw of the Philippine Army, and fell back toward Santo Thomas and formed a new defensive line from Tarlec to Cabanatuan. The next day they withdrew to the Tarlec-Cabanatuan Line.
The night of December 28th/29th they withdrew again to the south bank of the Bamban River at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan. While they there, the bridge over the Pampanga River was blown, but they were able find a crossing over the river. That night, the 192nd withdrew again down Route 5.
The night of December 31st/January 1st, the tanks were covering the withdrawal of the Philippine Army from the withdrawal of the Philippine Army from the Pampanga River. The tanks were positioned on both sides of the Calumpit Bridge to cover the withdrawal.
During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company crossed over the last bridge which was mined and about to be blown. The 192nd held its position so that the 194th Tank Battalion could leap frog past it and then cover the 192nd's withdraw. The 192nd was the last American unit to enter Bataan.
The tank battalions, on January 28th, were given the job of protecting the beaches. The 192nd was assigned the coast line from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast. The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings.
B Company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been trapped behind the main defensive line. The tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to replace a tank in the pocket. Another tank did not enter the pocket until a tank exited the pocket.
To exterminate the Japanese, two methods were used. The first was to have three Filipino soldiers ride on the back of the tank. As the tank went over a Japanese foxhole, the Filipinos dropped three hand grenades into the foxhole. Since the grenades were from WWI, one out of three usually exploded.
The other method to use to kill the Japanese was to park a tank with one track over the foxhole. The driver gave the other track power resulting with the tank spinning around and grinding its way down into the foxhole. The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.
The morning of April 8, 1942, he ordered his tank crews to destroy their tanks. The order "crash" had been given that indicated all forces on Bataan were being surrendered to the Japanese. It was on that day that he became a Prisoner of War.
Daniel took part in death march from Mariveles to San Fernando. There he and the other POWs were packed into small freight cars. They rode the cars to Capas where they got off and walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Besides Camp O'Donnell, Daniel was held as a prisoner at Cabanatuan. He was also sent to Bilibid Prison for processing for shipment to Japan.
The POWs were put on the Nagato Maru on November 6th. The ship sailed as part of a three ship convoy the next day. At some point the hatch covers were put on the holds when the Japanese believed a submarine was in the area. The POWs felt the explosions from the depth charges through the haul.
The convoy arrived at Takao, Formosa, on November 11th and remained in harbor for three days before sailing on the 14th and arriving at the Pescadores Islands the same day. The ship remained off the islands for two days, because of a storm, before sailing for Keelung, Formosa, on the 17th. The ship sailed for Moji, Japan, on November 18th.
Arriving on November 24th, the POWs disembarked and were deloused, showered and issued new clothing. They were marched to the train station and rode the train to their assigned camps. In Daniel's case, he was first held at Tanagawa. He was next a POW at Ikuno Camp and then sent to Osaka #2-D at Umeda in March, 1945. The prisoners in this camp were used as stevedores for the Nippon Tsuun Company. He remained in this camp until it was destroyed by American bombers.
Daniel and the other POWs were next sent to Tsuruga 20-B on May 21, 1945. He was held there until around August 15, 1945, when he was sent to Hirohata #12-B on September 9, 1945. It was at this camp that he was liberated. He was returned to the Philippines for medical treatment before being returned to the United States on the S.S. Simon Bolivar on October 21, 1945, at San Francisco.
After the war Daniel remained in the military as a United States Air Force officer. He fought in Korea and obtained the rank of Major. He retired from the Air Force on March 31, 1968.
Danile J. Beyer retired to Warrenton, Missouri, where he died on July 17, 1993. He was buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in Saint Louis, Missouri, in Section L, Site 248.