Hill_R

 

Tec 5 Raymond M. Hill


    T/5 Raymond M. Hill was born in March 2, 1921, to George H. Hill & Edith M. Barlass-Hill, and with his sister he spent his early childhood in Harmony Township, Rock County, Wisconsin, until his family moved to 123 South Washington Street in Janesville, Wisconsin.  In 1940, his family resided on East Town Line Road in Harmony Township, Rock County.  Ray attended completed grade school and went to work.

    Ray joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Tank Company which was headquartered in an armory in Janesville.  He was working as a truck driver in the fall of 1940, when his tank company was federalized.  Ray traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where his tank company, now A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, was scheduled for a year of training.
    A typical day for the soldiers started in 6:15 with reveille, but most of the soldiers were up before this since they wanted to wash and dress.  Breakfast was from 7:00 to 8:00 A.M., followed by calisthenics at 8:00 to 8:30.  Afterwards, the tankers went to various schools within the company.  The classes consisted of .30 and .50 caliber machine guns, pistol, map reading, care of personal equipment, military courtesy, and training in tactics. 
    At 11:30 the soldiers stopped what they were doing and cleaned up for mess which was from noon to 1:00 P.M.  Afterwards, they attended the various schools which they had been assigned to on January 13th, such as: mechanics, tank driving, radio operating.   At 4:30, the soldiers called it a day and returned to their barracks and put on dress uniforms and at five held retreat and followed by dinner at 5:30.  After dinner, they were off duty and lights were out at 9:00 P.M., but they did not have to turn in until 10:00 when Taps was played.  On January 13th, the soldiers were assigned to specific schools for training.

    From September 1st through 30th, the battalion took part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  After taking part in maneuvers in Louisiana the battalion was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where they were informed they were being sent overseas.  Ray went home to say his goodbyes and returned to Camp Polk, Louisiana.

    The battalion, over different train routes, traveled to San Francisco, California, and were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, they received inoculations and physicals from the battalion's medical detachment, and those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.  Other men were simply replaced.
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th, at 9:00 P.M.  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 They arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover.  The soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island. 
    On Wednesday, November 5th, the ships sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  After leaving Pearl Harbor, it was joined by the U.S.S. Louisville and the S.S. Calvin CoolidgeDuring this part of the voyage, 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 took off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly country.
    When they arrived at Guam the next day, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila on Monday, November 17th.  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 received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
    The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg.  The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.  There were two supply ten
    For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons which had been greased to protect them from rusting while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they readied their tanks to take part in maneuvers. 
    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 remained with each tank at all times.
    The morning of December 8th, December 7th in the United States, the entire 192nd was ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field.  A week earlier, they had been given assigned positions around the airfield to guard against enemy paratroopers.  At 8:30, the American planes took off and filled the sky.  They landed at noon, to be refueled, and were lined up near the mess hall while the pilots went to lunch.    
    The tankers were eating lunch when a formation of 54 planes was spotted approaching the airfield from the north and believed the planes were American.  As they watched, what looked like raindrops fell from the planes.  When bombs exploded on the runways, they knew the planes were Japanese.
    When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield.  Since the battalion's bivouac was near the main road between the fort and airfield, the soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks and trucks.  Anything that could carry the wounded was in use.  When the hospital filled, they watched the medics place the wounded under the building.  Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.    
    After the attack on December 12th, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau to protect a highway and railroad from sabotage.  On December 23rd and 24th, the company was in the area of Urdaneta, where the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write.  After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno River.  As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening but successfully crossed the river in the Bayambang Province.
    From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River.  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 192nd and part of the 194th fell back to form a new defensive line the night of December 27th and 28th.  From there they fell back to the south bank of the BamBan River which they were suppose to hold for as long as possible.  The tanks were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th serving as a rear guard against the Japanese.
    A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Read.  On a road east of Zaragoza, on December 30th, the company was bivouacked for the night and posted sentries.  The sentries heard a noise on the road and woke the other tankers who grabbed Tommy-guns and manned the tanks' machine guns.  As they watched, a Japanese bicycle battalion rode into their bivouac.  When the last bicycle passed the tanks, the tankers opened up on them.  When they stopped firing, they had completely wiped out the bicycle battalion.  To leave the area, the tankers drove their tanks over the bodies.    A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Read.  On a road east of Zaragoza, on December 30th, the company was bivouacked for the night and posted sentries.  The sentries heard a noise on the road and woke the other tankers who grabbed Tommy-guns and manned the tanks' machine guns.  As they watched, a Japanese bicycle battalion rode into their bivouac.  When the last bicycle passed the tanks, the tankers opened up on them.  When they stopped firing, they had completely wiped out the bicycle battalion.  To leave the area, the tankers drove their tanks over the bodies.
     The 192nd formed a defensive line along the south bank of the river of the Bambam River the night of December 31st.  The tankers believed that the Filipino Army was in front of them across the river.  When the Japanese attacked the position at night, they were easy to see since they were wearing white t-shirts.  The Japanese were taking heavy casualties, so they attempted to use smoke to cover their advance, but the wind blew the smoke into the Japanese.  When the Japanese broke off the attack, they had suffered fifty percent casualties.
    As the Japanese attempted to advance they were cut down by the tankers.  The tankers created gaping holes in their ranks.  To lower their losses, the Japanese tried to cover their advance with a smoke screen.  Since the wind was blowing against them, the smoke blew into the Japanese line.  When the Japanese broke off the attack, they had lost about half their men.
    On January 1st, the tanks of the 194th were holding the Calumpit Bridge allowing the Southern Luzon forces to cross the bridge toward Bataan.  General Wainwright was attempting to hold the main Japanese force coming down Route 5 to prevent the troops from being cut off.  General MacArthur's chief of staff gave conflicting orders involving from  whose command the defenders should take orders.  Gen. Wainwright was not aware these orders had been given.    
   Because of the orders, there was confusion among the Filipinos and American forces defending the bridges over the Pampanga River.  Due to the efforts of the Self Propelled Mounts, the 71st Field Artillery, and a frenzied attack by the 192nd Tank Battalion the Japanese were halted.  From January 2nd to 4th, the 192nd held the road open from San Fernando to Dinalupihan so the southern forces could escape. The company returned to the command of the 192nd not long after this.
    A Company was next sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga.  At Guagua, A Company, with units from the 11th Division, Philippine Army, attempted to make a counterattack against the Japanese.  Somehow, the tanks were mistaken by the Filipinos to be Japanese, and the 11th Division accurately used mortars on them.  The result was the loss of three tanks.  The company rejoined the 194th west of Guagua.   After this A Company again returned to the command of the 192nd.   
The night of January 7th, A Company was awaiting orders to cross the last bridge into Bataan over the Culis Creek.  The engineers were ready to blow up the bridge, but the battalion's commanding officer, Lt. Col. Ted Wickord, ordered the engineers to wait until he had looked to see if they were anywhere in sight.  He found the company, asleep in their tanks, because they had not received the order to withdraw across the bridge.  After they had crossed, the bridge was destroyed. A Company was the last American unit to enter Bataan.

        While American and Filipino forces were withdrawing from Pilar-Bigac Line, the battalion prevented the Japanese from overrunning the position and cutting off the withdrawing troops.    The morning of January 27th, a new battle line had been formed and all units were suppose to be beyond it.  That morning, the tanks were still holding their position six hours after they were suppose to have withdrawn.  While holding the position, the tanks, with self-propelled mounts, ambushed, at point blank range, three Japanese units causing 50 percent casualties.
    On January 28th, the tank battalions 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. 
    The company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets.  The Japanese offensive had been stopped and two groups of Japanese soldiers were trapped behind the main line of defense.  The tanks were sent in to help eliminate the pockets.   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 the tank, which had been relieved, had left the pocket.    
    To wipe out the Japanese two methods were employed.  The first method was to have three Filipino soldiers sit on the back of the tanks with sacks of hand grenades.  When the Japanese dove back into their foxholes, the tank would go over it and the soldiers would drop three hand grenades into the foxhole.  Since the ordnance was from World War I, one out of three hand grenades would usually explode.
    The second method was simple.  The tank was parked with one track across the foxhole.  The driver gave power to the opposite track and spun the tank dragging the other track.  The tank dug into the dirt until the Japanese soldiers were dead.
    During the Battle of the Points, on March 2nd and 3rd, the tanks were sent in to wipe out Japanese troops that had broken through the main defensive line and than trapped behind the line after the Filipino and American troops pushed the Japanese back.  According to members of the battalion they resorted to two ways to wipe out the Japanese.  
   The company's last bivouac area was about twelve kilometers north of Mariveles and looking out on the China Sea.  By this point, the tankers knew that there was no help on the way.  Many had listened to Secretary of War Harry L. Stimson on short wave.  When asked about the Philippines, he said, "There are times when men must die."  The soldiers cursed in response because they knew that the Philippines had already been lost.
    On April 4, 1942, the Japanese launched an attack supported by artillery and aircraft.  A large force of Japanese troops came over Mount Samat and descended down the south face of the volcano.  This attack wiped out two divisions of defenders and left a large area of the defensive line open to the Japanese.  When General King saw that the situation was hopeless, he initiated surrender talks with the Japanese.

    On April 9, 1942, Ray became a Prisoner Of War when the defenders of Bataan were surrendered.  He and the other members of A Company made their way to Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan.  From there he started what has become known as the death march.

    Ray went days without food or water.  When he reached San Fernando, he and the other POWs were put into a bull pen.  They remained there until ordered to from detachments of 100 men.  They were marched to the train station and packed into small wooden box cars known as forty or eights.  The cars could hold forty men or eight horses, but the Japanese put 100 POWs in each car and closed the doors.  At Capas the living left the cars and the dead fell to the floors.  The POWs walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.
    Camp O'Donnell was a death trap with only one water faucet for 12,000 men.  As many as 55 men died each day from disease and lack of food.  Many POWs went out on work details to get out of the camp.  The Japanese finally acknowledged they needed to do something, so they opened a new camp and sent those POWs considered healthy there.

    Like so many other men, the inadequate diet and lack of medicine took its toll on Ray.  When a new prison camp was opened at Cabanatuan, Ray remained behind at Camp O'Donnell.  The reason for this was he was considered to be too ill to be moved. 

    On Wednesday, July 22, 1942, T/5 Raymond M. Hill died of dysentery, malaria, and starvation at Camp O'Donnell.  He was 21 years old. 
    T/5 Raymond M. Hill was buried in the camp cemetery in Section P, Row 3, Grave 7.  After the war, his remains were moved to the American Military Cemetery outside Manila where he was buried in Plot L, Row 16, Grave 98. 


 

 

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