Smith_E

 


Tec 5 Earl G. Smith


Born: 12 March 1918 - Santa Clara County, California
Parents: John W Smith & Renalda Vazquez-Smith

Siblings: 2 brothers, 1 sister, 1 half-brother

    - one brother was Armand Smith of C Company

Hometown: Salinas, California
Married:
Children: 1 daughter

Enlisted: California National Guard

Inducted: 

    - U. S. Army

        - 3 February 1941 - Santa Monica, California

Training: 

    - Fort Lewis, Washington
        - C Company, 194th Tank Battalion

        - tank driver
        - member of Sgt. Harold Vick's tank crew
Note: On August 15, 1941, at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, the 194th received orders for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water.  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, with a large radio transmitter, hundred of miles away.  The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.  The next morning, by the time another squadron was sent to the area the next day, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore.  Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.

Overseas Duty:
    - rode train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
        - Arrived: 7:30 A.M. - 6 September 1941
    - ferried on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island
        - given physicals and inoculated by battalion's medical detachment
        - men with medical conditions replaced
    - Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
        - Boarded: Monday - 8 September 1941 - 3:00 P.M.
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M. - same day
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 5:00 P.M. - same day
            - escorted by the heavy cruiser - U.S.S. Astoria
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
            - maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and attached turrets
                -27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.
    - Stationed:
        - Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands
            - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941
            - 1 December 1941
                - tanks ordered to perimeter of Clark Field
                - 194th guarded north end of airfield with 192nd guarding south portion
                - two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with vehicle at all times
                    - meals served by food trucks
                - those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at command post
Battle of Luzon
    - 8 December 1941 - 6 January  1942
            - 8 December 1942
                - tankers informed of Japanese attack on Clark Field

                - tank crews brought up to full strength
                - Clark Field bombed

                    - ten hours after Pearl Harbor
                - tankers counted 54 planes approaching airfield from north

                - credited with shooting a Japanese Zero during attack on Clark Field
        - 12 December 1941

            - sent to southern Luzon

            - Japanese landing troops

        - 15 December 1941
            - holding Tagaytay Ridge

            - attempted to catch Fifth Columnist who were sending up flares at night
        - 24 December 1941
                - company moved over Taal Road to Santo Tomas
                    - bivouacked near San Paolo

        - 25 December 1941

            - withdrew over Taal Road to Santo Tomas and bivouacked near San Paolo

            - assisted in operations at Lucena-Pagbilao-Lucban area
        - 29/30 December 1941
            - new line at Bamban River established
            - tank battalions held line until ordered to withdraw

        - 31 December 1941

            - rejoined battalion

            - covered withdrawal of Philippine Army Divisions south of Route 3

        - 2 January 1942
            - both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction and cover position

                - 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
        - 5 January 1942
            - C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-Poraline Line

            - took position on the road between Sexmoan and Lubao with five SPMs
            - 1:50 A.M. - ambushed a Japanese force of 750 to 800 attempting to cut the highway
                - bright moonlight made them easy to see
                - tanks opened fire
            - Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them

            - 3:00 A.M. - Japanese lost half their force

            - Labao burning when tanks withdrew
            - Remedios - established new line along dried creek bed

         - 6/7 January 1942
            - 194th, covered by 192nd, crosses Culis Creek into Bataan
            - both battalions bivouacked south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road

            - rations cut in half

Battle of Bataan
    - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
        - 7 January 1942

                - 2:30 A.M. - attacked in force by Japanese using smoke screen
                    - 5:00 A.M. - Japanese broke off attack because of heavy casualties and
                       sunrise
                    - C Company losses - Lt. Petrie from wounds, Pvt. Martella killed
                       attempting to shield Petrie
            - tank companies reduced to three tanks per platoon

        - 8 January 1942

            - composite tank company made up of tanks from the 192nd and 194th sent to protect

              East Coast Road north of Hermosa
                - their job was to keep the East Road open  north of Hermosa and prevent the
                  Japanese from driving into Bataan before the main battle line had been formed

            - remainder of tanks ordered to bivouac for night south of Aubucay-Hacienda Road

                - tankers had been fighting for a month without a rest

                - tanks also needed overdue maintenance

                - 17th Ordnance
            - all tank companies reduced to ten tanks
                - three per
tank platoon

            - sent to reopen Moron Road so General Segunda's forces could withdraw

            - tanks knock out an anti-tank gun

            - two tanks disabled by landmines but recovered

            - mission abandoned

            - Gen. Segunda's troops escaped using beach but lost their heavy equipment

    - 12 January 1942

            - C Company, with D Company, 192nd, sent to Cadre Road

                - forward position with little alert time

    - 13 January 1942

        - mines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching Cadre Road

            - returned to battalion

    - 16 January 1942

        -  C Company sent to Bagac to reopen West Coast Highway

            - highway had been cut by Japanese

            - Moron Highway, and Junction of Trail 162

                - tank platoon fired on by antitank gun

                    - tanks knock out gun

                    - cleared roadblock with support of infantry
    - 20 January 1942

        - Banibani Road -tanks sent in to save 31st Infantry command post

    - 24 January 1942
        - tanks order to Hacienda Road

            - landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching road
   
- 25/26 January 1942
        - the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
            - four SPMs with the battalion
        - warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming

        - when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had   

            - Japanese withdrew after losing 500 of 1200 men
        - prevented new defensive line being formed from being breached

    - 28 January 1942
        - 194th tanks given beach duty protecting southern beaches of Bataan

    It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen. Weaver:  "Tanks will execute maximum delay, staying in position and firing at visible enemy until further delay will jeopardize withdrawal.  If a tank is immobilized, it will be fought until the close approach of the enemy, then destroyed; the crew previously taking positions outside and continuing to fight with the salvaged and personal weapons. Considerations of personal safety and expediency will not interfere with accomplishing the greatest possible delay."
    - February 1942
        - tank battalions took it upon themselves to guard three airfields
        - guarded beaches against Japanese landings

    - March 1942

        - two tanks were bogged down in mud
        - the tankers were working to get them out
        - Japanese Regiment entered the area
            - Lt. Col. Miller ordered tanks and artillery to fire at point blank range
            - Miller ran from tank to tank directing fire
        - wiped out Japanese regiment
        - gasoline rations cut to 15 gallons a day for all vehicles except the tanks
        - Weaver suggested to Gen. Wainwright that one platoon of tanks be sent to Corregidor
            - Wainwright rejected idea   
    - 4 April 1942

        - Japanese launched major offensive
        - tanks sent into various sectors to stop Japanese advance
    - 6 April 1942
        - four tanks sent to support 45th Philippine Infantry and 75th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
            - one tank knocked out by anti-tank fire
            - other tanks covered withdraw
        - 3rd Platoon sent up west coast road
            - near Mount Samat ran into heavy Japanese force
            - the tanks withdrew to Marivales
    - 8 April 1942
        - fighting on East Coast Road at Cabcaban

It was at this time that the tank battalion commanders received this order, "You will make plans, to be communicated to company commanders only, and be prepared to destroy within one hour after receipt by radio, or other means, of the word 'CRASH', all tanks and combat vehicles, arms, ammunition, gas, and radios: reserving sufficient trucks to close to rear echelons as soon as accomplished."
            - 10:30 P.M. - Gen. King announced that further resistance would result the massacre of 6000 sick or
               wounded and 40000 civilians
            - less than 25% of his troops were healthy enough to continue fighting
            - he estimated they could hold out one more day
            - sent his staff officers to negotiate the surrender of Bataan

Prisoner of War:
    - 10 April 1942
            - 7:00 P.M. - started march from Provisional Tank Group headquarters
            - 3:00 A.M. - halted and rested for an hour
            - 4:00 A.M. - resume march
    - 11 April 1942
        - 8:00 A.M. -reached Lamao
            - allowed to forage for food
        - 9:00 A.M. - resumed march
        - Noon - reached Limay and main road
            - officers, majors and up, separated from enlisted men
    - Death March
        - 4:00 P.M officers put on trucks
            - officers arrived at Balanga
            - Japanese find handgun in field bag of an officer
                - he was clubbed and bayoneted
                - because of this they were not fed
            - reached Orani
            - herded into a fenced in area and ordered to lie down
            - in morning found they had been lying in human waste
            - latrine in one corner was crawling with maggots
        - ordered to form 100 men detachments
            - POWs marched at faster pace
            - fewer breaks
                - when given break, the POWs sat on road
        - North of Hermosa the POWs reached pavement
            - made march easier
        - POWs given an hour rest on road
            - those who attempt to lay down are jabbed with bayonets
            - POWs march through Layac and Lurao
            - rains - POWs drank as much as they could
        - reached San Fernando
            - POWs put in groups of 200 to be fed
                - one POW sent to get a box of rice for each group
                - pottery jars of water given out the same way
        - POWs formed detachments of 100 men and marched to train station
            - POWs put into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane
                - each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
                - 100 POWs packed into each car
                - POWs who died remained standing
         - Capas - dead fell to floor as living left boxcars
            - as POWs formed ranks, Filipinos threw sugarcane to POWs
            - also gave them water
            - POWs walked last 8 kilometers to Camp O'Donnell

POW Camps:

    - Camp O'Donnell

        - unfinished Filipino training base
        - Japanese put camp into use as POW Camp
        - only one water spigot for entire camp
        - as many as 50 POWs died each day
        - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate
 
 

    - Cabanatuan #1

    - Bridge Building Detail

        - detail made up mostly of Provisional Tank Group members

        - worked at sawmill

Executed:

    - Friday - 10 July 1942

        - He was one of ten POWs selected by the Japanese to be executed.

          These POWs were the five men who slept to the right, and five men

          who slept to the left, of a POW who escaped one night.  Guerrillas

          raided the camp looking to free the POWs.  Most were too ill to escape.
        - shot

Buried:

    - American Military Cemetery - Manila

        - Plot:  D   Row:  2   Grave:  184 


 

 

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