Cpl. Marvin Clement Harris
Cpl. Marvin C. Harris was born on June 4, 1916, in Springfield, Ohio, to John Harris and Anna Mae Gaffin-Harris. He had three sisters and was known as "Butch" to his family. It is known that he graduated from high school and worked as a pharmacist at a drug store in Columbus, Ohio.
In late 1940, the draft act had just been passed by the U.S. Government and Paul received his draft notice and inducted in January 1941. He was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training and assigned to C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. The reason this was done was that the tank company had originally been an Ohio National Guard Tank Company from Port Clinton, Ohio, and the army was filling vacancies with men from the home states of each tank company.
On January 25, 1941, Marvin was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Hayes, in Columbus, Ohio. Right after starting basic training, he returned home when his mother died on February 5th. He returned to Ft. Knox after the funeral.
At Ft. Knox, Marvin was assigned to C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. The reason he was assigned to the company was that it had been an Ohio National Guard Tank Company from Port Clinton. It is not known what training he received during Ft. Knox.
At Ft. Knox, Marvin was sent to radio school and trained to be a radio operator. Since each tank crew member needed to know how to do more than one job, he also learned how to use a machine gun.
September 1 through 30, the battalion took part
in maneuvers Louisiana. On the 30th, they
were sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, instead of
returning to Ft. Knox as they had
expected. It was on the side of a hill
that they learned that they were being sent
overseas as part of Operation PLUM. Many
of the soldiers, within hours, knew that PLUM
stood for Philippines, Luzon, Manila.
Those men who were 29 years old or older were
allowed to resign from federal service and were
replaced with men from the 753rd Tank
Battalion. The 192nd also received the
753rd's M3 tanks.
for this move - which had been made on
August 15, 1941 - was the result of an event
that took place in the summer of 1941. A
squadron of American fighters was flying over
Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, when one of
the pilots, who was flying at a lower altitude,
noticed something odd. He took his plane
down and identified a flagged buoy in the water
and saw another in the distance. He came
upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight
line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the
direction of an Japanese occupied island which
was hundred of miles away. The island had
a large radio transmitter. The squadron
continued its flight plan south to Mariveles and
returned to Clark Field.
greasing their weapons with cosmoline,
from Camp Polk ,at 8:30 A.M. on October
20, the battalion traveled west over
four different train routes to Ft. Mason
in San Francisco, California.
Arriving in San Francisco, the soldiers
were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel
Island by the U.S.A.T. General Frank
M. Coxe. On the island, the
soldiers were given physicals and
inoculated for tropical diseases by the
battalion's medical detachment.
Those men with minor health issues were
held on the island and scheduled to
rejoin the battalion at a later date. Other
men were simply replaced.
At Cabu, C Company's tanks were hidden in brush. The Japanese troops passed the tanks for three hours without knowing that they were there. While the troops passed, Lt. William Gentry was on his radio describing what he was seeing. It was only when a Japanese soldier tried take a short cut through the brush, that his tank was hidden in, that the tanks were discovered. The tanks turned on their sirens and opened up on the Japanese. They then fell back to Cabanatuan.
C Company was re-supplied and withdrew to Baluiag where the tanks encountered Japanese troops and ten tanks. It was at Baluiag that C Company's tanks won the first tank battle victory of World War II against enemy tanks. After the battle, C Company made its way south. When it entered Cabanatuan, it found the barrio filled with Japanese guns and other equipment. The tank company destroyed as much of the equipment as it could before proceeding south.
On December 31, 1941, the commanding officer of C Company sent out reconnaissance patrols north of the town of Baluiag. The patrols ran into Japanese patrols, which told the Americans that the Japanese were on their way. Knowing that the railroad bridge was the only way into the town and to cross the river, the company set up it's defenses in view of the bridge and the rice patty it crossed.
Early on the morning of the 31st, the Japanese began moving troops and across the bridge. The engineers came next and put down planking for tanks. A little before noon Japanese tanks began crossing the bridge.
Later that day, the Japanese had assembled a large number of troops in the rice field on the northern edge of the town. One platoon of tanks under the command of 2nd Lt. Marshall Kennady were to the southeast of the bridge. Lt. Gentry's tanks were to the south of the bridge in huts, while third platoon commanded by Capt Harold Collins was to the south on the road leading out of Baluiag. 2nd Lt. Everett Preston had been sent south to find a bridge to cross to attack the Japanese from behind.
Major Morley came riding in his jeep into Baluiag. He stopped in front of a hut and was spotted by the Japanese who had lookouts in the town's church's steeple. The guard became very excited so Morley, not wanting to give away the tanks positions, got into his jeep and drove off. Bill had told him that his tanks would hold their fire until he was safely out of the village.
When Gentry felt the Morley was out of danger, he ordered his tanks to open up on the Japanese tanks at the end of the bridge. The tanks then came smashing through the huts' walls and drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt. Marshall Kennady's tanks. Kennady had been radioed and was waiting.
Kennady's platoon held it's fire until the Japanese were in view of his platoon and then joined in the hunt. The Americans chased the tanks up and down the streets of the village, through buildings and under them. By the time Bill's unit was ordered to disengage from the enemy, they had knocked out at least eight enemy tanks.
The tankers withdrew to Calumpit Bridge after receiving orders from Provisional Tank Group. When they reached the bridge, they discovered it had been blown. Finding a crossing the tankers made it to the south side of the river. Knowing that the Japanese were close behind, the Americans took their positions in a harvested rice field and aimed their guns to fire a tracer shell through the harvested rice. This would cause the rice to ignite which would light the enemy troops.
The tanks were spaced about 100 yards apart. The Japanese crossing the river knew that the Americans were there because the tankers shouted at each other to make the Japanese believe troops were in front of them. The Japanese were within a few yards of the tanks when the tanks opened fire.
Lighting the rice stacks, the Americans opened up with small fire. They then used their .37 milometer cannons on their tanks. The fighting was such a rout that the the tankers were using a .37 mm shell to kill one Japanese soldier.
The tank company was next sent to the barrio of Porac to aid the Filipino army which was having trouble with Japanese artillery fire. From a Filipino lieutenant, Gentry learned where the guns were and attacked. Before the Japanese withdrew, the tankers had knocked out three of the guns.
After this, the tanks withdrew to the Hermosa Bridge and held it on the north side until all the troops were across. The tanks then crossed to the south and destroyed the bridge which held the Japanese up for a few days. This was the beginning of the Battle of Bataan.
to serving as a rear guard, the tankers burnt
everything that was being left behind.
They burnt warehouses, banks, and businesses
that would help the
It was the evening
of April 8 that Gen.
Edward P. King
decided that further
approximately 25% of
his men were healthy
enough to fight, and
he estimated they
would last one more
addition, he had
over 6,000 troops
who sick or wounded
and 40,000 civilians
who he feared would
At 10:30 that night,
he sent his staff
The camp was an
unfinished Filipino Army Training Base that the
Japanese pressed into use as a POW camp on April
1, 1942. When they arrived at the camp,
the Japanese confiscated any extra clothing that
the POWs had and refused to return it to
them. They searched the POWs and if a man
was found to have Japanese money on them, they
were taken to the guardhouse. Over the
next several days, gunshots were heard to the
southeast of the camp. These POWs had been
executed for looting.
Yokohama, the POWs
were returned to the
returned to the
United States on the
at San Francisco on
October 8, 1945, for
was sometime during
this time that
Marvin learned that
his father had
passed away on April
26, 1944. He
was discharged from
the Army on May 6,