Pvt. Raymond A. Lorenz
| Pvt. Raymond A.
Lorenz was born on February 25, 1919, in Okeene,
Oklahoma, to Manuel & Amelia Lorenz. It
is known that he had three sisters and two
brothers. The family resided in Deep Creek,
Major County, Oklahoma. He left school after
eighth grade and worked as a truck driver for the
state highway department and was living in
Isabella, Oklahoma, in 1941.
Raymond was inducted into the U.S. Army on February 24, 1941, at Camp Chaffee in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was sent to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for basic training. After completing basic training, he was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, where he became a member of the 753rd Tank Battalion.
The 192nd Tank Battakion was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, in the late summer of 1941, to take part in maneuvers. After the maneuvers, on the side of a hill, the battalion learned they were being sent overseas. According to members of the battalion, General George Patton told them the news. Men too old to go overseas were released from federal service. Replacements for these men came from the 753rd Tank Battalion. Raymond was one of these volunteers. He was assigned to B Company.
Many of the members of the battalion were given leave so that they could say goodbye to family and friends. They returned to Camp Polk and traveled by train to San Francisco, California. From San Francisco, the tankers were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. On the island they were given physicals and inoculated for tropical diseases. Some men were held back for health issues but scheduled to join the battalion at a later date.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. 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. When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables. They sailed the same day for Manila. The ships 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. The general apologized that the men 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.
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.
At six in the morning, the officers of the battalion were called to the radio room at the fort. They were ordered to move their platoons to the perimeter of Clark Airfield. The 192nd had been assigned to the southern portion of the airfield.
The tankers watched that morning as the sky was filled with American planes. At noon, the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch. At 12:45, the tankers watched as 54 planes approached the airfield. As they watched, the saw "raindrops" falling from the planes. When bombs began exploding, the soldiers knew the planes were Japanese.
After the attack the tankers saw the carnage done by the attack. The Japanese had effectively destroyed the Army Air Corps. The tankers would spend the next four months attempting to slow the Japanese conquest of the Philippines.
Raymond took part in the Battle of the Points from January 27, 1942, until February 13, 1942. The Japanese had been landed on two points and been cut off. The tankers were sent in to wipe out these positions. According to Capt. Alvin Poweleit, the battalion's surgeon, the tanks did a great deal of damage.
At the same time, there was another battle taking place known as the Battle of the Pockets which lasted from January 23rd until February 17, 1942. Japanese troops had been caught off behind the battle line. Tanks from B and C Companies were sent in to wipe out the Japanese. According to members of the battalion, two methods were used to wipe out the Japanese.
The first method was to have three Filipinos sit on the back of the tank with bags of hand grenades. As the tank passed over a Japanese foxhole, each man dropped a hand grenade into the foxhole. The reason this was done was the grenades were from World War I, and one out of three exploded.
The second method was to have the tank park with one track over the foxhole. The tank would spin on one track and grind its way into the ground killing the Japanese in the foxhole. The tankers slept upwind of the tanks because of the smell of rotting flesh in the tracks.
After the withdraw into Bataan, B Company was guarding a beach along the east coast of the peninsula. It was one of the few places where the Japanese could land troops. One night, they were
involved in a firefight with Japanese landing barges. When morning came, not one Japanese soldier had been landed on the beach.
On April 8, 1941, the tankers received the order "crash." They circled their tanks and each crew fired a metal piercing shell into the engine of the tank in front of it. They opened the gasoline valves and dropped grenades into the tanks. It was at that time that Raymond and other members of the company made the decision that they would attempt to reach Corregidor.
After arriving on Corregidor, Raymond
volunteered to be sent to Ft. Drum. He was
still there when Corregidor surrendered on May
6, 1942. After the surrender, he was
returned to Corregidor before being sent to
Raymond was assigned to Fukuoka Camp #23. The camp consisted of a mess hall, a hospital, six unheated barracks located on top of a hill with a ten foot high wooden fence around it. In the barracks, the POWs slept in 15 X 15 foot bays. Six POWs shared a bay. At 6:00 A.M., 6:00 P.M., and 9:00 P.M., the Japanese took row call. For the first two weeks in the camp, the POWs learned the Japanese words for mining equipment.
The POWs received their jobs from the camp commandant who spoke adequate English. The POWs were divided into two groups of miners. The "A" group mined during the day, while the "B" group mined at night. Every ten days the groups would swap shifts. When the POWs arrived at the mine, they were turned over to civilian supervisors. The POWs quickly learned the more they did the more these supervisors wanted from them. After awhile, the supervisor and POWs came to a reasonable agreement on how many cars they would load each day. The one good thing about working in the mine in the winter was the temperature was about 70 degrees. Earl recalled that working in the mine was scary because conditions in the mine. The mines the POWs worked were often mines that Japanese engineers had determined to be unsafe for Japanese miners.
During his time in the
camp, the worst atrocity Raymond witnessed
was an American who was shot to death by a
firing squad. This was done because
the soldier had stolen a piece of bread.
things got worse for the POWs, so they knew the
Japanese were losing the war. At 5:00 P.M.
on August 15th they learned the war was
over. The POWs did not believe it.
The next day the camp commandant, at 9:00 A.M.,
informed the POWs that the war was over.
He also told them that they had to stay in the
camp. On August 24th, the Japanese gave
the POWs paint and canvas and told them to paint
"POW." on the canvas and put it on the barracks