Beyer

 

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.  He had four sisters and a brother.  As a civilian, he worked as mechanical draftsman.  Beyer went to the Philippine Islands as a member of 194th Tank Battalion.
    Daniel was reassigned and given command of the third tank platoon of B Company. He would later become the administration officer for the battalion.
    The battalion traveled west by train to San Francisco.  Arriving there, they were taken by ferry to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.  At Ft. McDowell, they were given physicals and inoculated.   Those men found to have a minor medical condition were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On Tuesday, November 4th, the ships sailed for Guam.
   
At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. 
  At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own.  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.
    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.  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 tankplatoon, from B Company, to proceed north to support the 26th Cavalry.
    On December 23rd and 24th, the battalion was in the area of Urdaneta.   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.  They 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. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27th.
    The tankers were fell back toward Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 27th, and December were at San Isidro south of Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th.  While there, the bridge over the Pampanga River was destroyed, they were able find a crossing over the river.

   
    During the withdraw into the peninsula, the company crossed over the last bridge which was mined and about to be blown.  The 292nd 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.
    Over the next several months, the battalion fought battle after battle with tanks that were not designed for jungle warfare. 
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.

    Daniel was boarded onto the Nagato Maru.  The trip to Japan lasted from November 7, 1942 until November 24, 1942.  In Japan, 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.  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. 

    Daniel 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 848.


 

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