Krug

Tec 4 Frederick Krug


    T/4 Frederick Krug was born on April 25, 1917, in Wisconsin to Louis & Ella Krug, and with his parents and sister, resided at 419 South Franklin Avenue, in Janesville, Wisconsin.  He was known as "Fred" to his family and friends.  It is known that Fred was married to Mildred, and she resided at 2525 W. Jefferson, Street, Louisville, Kentucky  
    At some point, Fred enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guard.  His tank company was federalized in September 1940.  The company was renamed A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  On November 25, 1940, the members of the company reported the armory in Janesville and readied their equipment for transport to Fort Knox, Kentucky.  On November 28th, the company boarded a train for Ft. Knox.   
    When the tankers arrived at Ft. Knox, they learned that their barracks were not finished, since the area of the fort that they were assigned to was brand new.  They found themselves living in tents with stoves in them for several months.  When they did move into their barracks, the roads in front of them were mud since the winter was extremely wet.
    Fred, like all the other members of the battalion, learned to operate all the equipment of the battalion.  It is not known what he trained to do with the company. 
    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.  Afterwards, retreat was at 5:50.  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.  During Paul's time at Ft. Knox, he qualified as a tank driver.   
     In late August, the battalion was informed it would take part in maneuvers in Louisiana from September 1st to 30th.  During the maneuvers the battalion performed exceptionally well.  After the maneuvers, instead of returning to Ft. Knox, the battalion remained at Camp Polk.  None of its members had any idea why they were being kept there.
    On the side of a hill, the battalion members were informed that they were being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM.  They were told that this decision had been made by General George S. Patton.  Those members of the battalion who were 29 years old or older were given the opportunity to resign from federal service and replaced. 
    Over different train routes, the battalion traveled to San Francisco, California, and were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, they received inoculations and physicals.  Those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island.  They were scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.  Those with more serious conditions 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 of the tankers suffered from seasickness.  Once they recovered, they spent their time 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.
    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 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 tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons which had been greased to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.  According to members of the battalion, they were readying 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, or half-track crew members, remained with each vehicle at all times and received their meals from food trucks.
    On the morning of December 8, 1941, the members of A Company were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor by Capt. Walter Write.  The tank and half-track crews were brought up to full strength.  As the tankers watched, all the planes from the airfield took off, at 8:30 and filled the sky.  At noon, the planes landed to be refueled, lined up in a straight line, and the pilots went to lunch.
    About 12:45 in the afternoon as the tankers were eating lunch, planes approached the airfield from the north.  The tankers had enough time to count 54 planes, and at first, the soldiers thought the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that they knew the planes were Japanese.
    The tankers were eating lunch when a formation of 54 planes was spotted approaching the airfield from the north, and the tankers believed the planes were American. As they watched, what appeared to be 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.  The soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and 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.
    That night, the tankers lived through several more air raids.  Most slept under their tanks since it was safer then sleeping in their tents.  They had no idea that they had slept their last night in a bed for the next three and one half years.   
    On December 12th, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau so it would be close to 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 were asked to hold the position for six hours, they held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27th.
    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 December 30th.  On a road east of Zaragoza that night, 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.   
    At Gumain River, the night of December 31st to the morning of January 1st, the tank companies formed a defensive line along the south bank of 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.    
    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 whose command the defenders were under which caused confusion.  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.
    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.  They also took part in the Battle of the Pockets and the Battle of the Points.       
    The pockets were an extremely dangerous operation.  When tanks were sent into a pocket, they entered one tank at a time.  The next tank would not enter the pocket until the tank that had been relieved by the previous tank exited the pocket. 
    To wipe out the Japanese, two methods were employed.  One had three Filipino soldiers sitting on the back of each tank.  When the tank passed over a foxhole, the each soldier dropped a hand grenade into the foxhole.  Being that the ordnance was from WWI, one of the three hand grenades usually exploded.
    The second method was to park the tank with one tread over foxhole.  The crew would give power to the other track causing the tank to spin digging its way into the ground and killing the Japanese.  After this, the tankers slept upwind from their tanks.  
    During the Battle of the Points, the tanks of A and B Company were sent in to support the Philippine Army in the destruction of Japanese Marines who had been landed on points of land on the Bataan Peninsula.  Both pockets of Japanese Marines were wiped out.
    The soldiers were hungry and began to eat everything they could get their hands on to eat.  The Carabao were tough but if they were cooked long enough they could be eaten.  They also began to eat horse meat provided by the 26th U. S. Cavalry.  To make things worse, the soldiers' rations were cut in half again on March 1, 1942.  This meant that they only ate two meals a day.   
    The Japanese also were dropping surrender leaflets with a scantly clad blond on them.  The Japanese would have been more successful at getting the Americans to surrender if the picture had been hamburger, since the men were so hungry that they most likely would have surrendered for a good meal.
   
The company's last bivouac area was about twelve kilometers north of Marivales 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 a 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.
 
    The members of A Company made their way to Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan.  It was from this barrio that the tankers started what they simply called "the march."
    The POWs made their way north from Mariveles.  The first five miles of the march were uphill which was made more difficult since most of the POWs were sick.  At one point, the members of the company had to run past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor.  They received little water and little food.  When they reached San Fernando, they were put into a bull pen.  In one corner of the bull pen was a trench the POWs were suppose to use as a washroom.  The surface of the trench was alive with maggots.  How long they remained in the bull pen is not known. 
    The Japanese ordered the POWs to form ranks of 100 men.  They were marched to the train stationed and packed into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane.  Each car could hold forty men or eight horses, but the Japanese  packed 100 POWs into each car and closed the doors.  Those who died remained standing since there was no place for them to fall.  At Capas, the living left the cars and the dead fell to the floors.  The POWs walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell.
    Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino training base with only one water faucet for the entire camp, and men literally died for a drink.  The death rate in the camp began to rise until as many as 55 men dying each day.  The burial detail worked non-stop to bury the dead.  Often, when they returned the next morning to the cemetery, wild dogs had dug up the bodies or the bodies were sitting up in their graves
    The death rate in the camp forced the Japanese to open a new camp at Cabanataun.  Being considered a healthier POW, Fred was sent to the camp.  During June, Fred became ill and was put in the camp hospital.  The term hospital was generous since the medical staff had no medicine to treat the sick.  The Philippine Red Cross did offer to supply medicine to the POWs, but the Japanese refused to allow the medicine to be given to the POWs.
    According to records kept by the medical staff, Tec 4 Fred Krug died from diphtheria and dysentery on July 8, 1942, at approximately 3:00 PM. and was buried in the camp cemetery. 
    After the war, the American recovery team could not positively identify his remains.  He was buried at the new American Military Cemetery at Manila as an "Unknown."  He most likely shares his grave with other men who were buried with him at Cabanatuan.

 

 

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