Stehwien

 



Pfc. John Daniel Stehwien Jr.
Born: 3 May 1917 - Atchison, Kansas

Parents: John D. Stehwien Sr. & Bertha Stehwien

Siblings: Unknown

Home: Missouri

Inducted:

    - U. S. Army

        - Unknown

Training: 

    - Fort Lewis, Washington

Units: 

    - 194th Tank Battalion
Note: On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, 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, hundred of miles away, with a large radio transmitter on it.  The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed that evening, it was too late to do anything that day.
    The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that 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:
    - 4 September  1941
        - battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
    - Arrived: 7:30 A.M. - 5 September 1941
        - ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
        - given physicals and inoculations
        - men with medical conditions replaced
    - Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
        - turrets of tanks removed so the tanks would fit in hold
             - turrets had tank serial number spray painted on them so they would be reattached to the correct tank
        - enlisted men were also quartered in the hold
        - 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 heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, and an unknown destroyer
                - Astoria intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
                - ships belonged to friendly countries
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg

Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 7 January 1942
            - During this time HQ Company supplied the tank companies as they fought to cover the withdrawal toward Bataan
            - 8 December 1941
                - lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
                - planes did not go after tanks
                - after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
                    - from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolus Road
            - 12 December 1941
                - moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
                - arrived 6:00 A.M.
            - 15 December 1941
                - received 15 Bren gun carriers
                - turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
            - 22 December 1941
                - sent to Rosario
                    - west and north of the of barrio
                    - ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
                        - said they would hinder the cavalry's operation
            - 22/23 December 1941
                    - operating north of Agno River
                   - main bridge at Carmen bombed
            - 24/25 December 1941
                - tank battalions make end run to get south of Agno River
                - ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed river
            - 25/26 December 1941
                - held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista Road
                - 192nd held from Carmen to (Route 3) to Tayug (northeast of San Quintin)
            - 26/27 December 1941
                - ordered to withdraw
                - 1 platoon forced its way through way through Carmen
                    - lost two tanks
                        - one tank belonged to company commander - Captain Edward Burke
                            - believed dead, but was actually captured
                            - one tank crew rescued
                - new line Santa Ignacia-Gerona-Santo Tomas-San Jose
                - rest of battalion made a dash out
                   - lost one tank at Bayambang
                    - another tank went across front receiving fire and firing on Japanese
                - Lt. Petree's platoon fought its way out and across Agno River
                - D Company, 192nd, lost all its tanks except one
                   - the tank commander found a crossing
                   - Japanese would use tanks later on Bataan
            - 29/30 December 1941
                    - new line at Bamban River established
                    - tank battalions held line until ordered to withdraw
            - 30/31 December 1941
                    - tank battalions held Calumpit Bridge
                    - covering withdraw of Philippine Divisions south on Rt. 3, San Fernando
            - 2 January 1942
               - both tank battalions ordered to withdrawal to Lyac Junction
               - 194th withdrew there on Highway 7
            - 5 January 1942
                - C Company and A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from Guagua-Poraline Line and moved into position between
                  Sasmuan and Lubao
                - 1:50 A.M. - Japanese attempted to infiltrate
                    - bright moonlight made them easy to see
                    - tanks opened fire
                    - Japanese lay down smoke which blew back into them
                - 3:00 A.M. - Japanese broke off engagement
                    - suffered 50% casualties
                - 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
           - 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 Moron 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 in support of troops
                - landmines planted by ordnance prevented them from reaching road
        - 26 January 1942
            - the battalion held a position a kilometer north of the Pilar-Bagac Road
                - four self-propelled mounts with the battalion
            - 9:45 A.M. - warned by Filipino a large Japanese force was coming
                - when the enemy appeared they opened up with all the battalion had
                - 10:30 A.M. - 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
            - guarded coast from Limay to Cabcaben
            - half-tracks patrolled roads
                - maintained radio contact with on-shore and off-shore patrols
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 on their own guarded airfields
            - battalions also guarded beaches to prevent Japanese from landing troops 
        - 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
        - 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 at junction of Trails 8 & 6
                - 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
            - at Cabcaban Field
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 in the massacre of 6,000 sick or wounded troops and 40,000
              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
            - 11:40 P.M. - ammunition dumps blown up
Prisoner of War:
    - 9 April 1942
        - received order to destroy equipment and report to kilometer marker 168.2.
            - Provisional Tank Group Headquarters
        - Japanese officers told Col. Ernest Miller to keep them there until ordered to move

    - 10 April 1942
        - 7:00 P.M. - started march from Mariveles
        - 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 separated from enlisted men
        - 4:00 P.M 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
        - Dusk - officers ordered to form ranks and marched
            - marched through Abucay and Samal
    - 12 April 1942
        - 3:00 A.M. - 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
        - Noon - fed rice and salt
            - first meal
        - Afternoon - enlisted men rejoin officers
        - 6:30 P.M. - 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
    - 13 April 1942
        - 2:00 A.M. - 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
        - 4:30 P.M. - 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
    - 14 April 1942
        - 4:00 A.M. - POWs awakened
            - 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
        - 9:00 A.M. - 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:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Camp O'Donnell
            - 1 April 1942 - unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
                - Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
            - POWs searched upon arrival at camp
                - those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
                - sent to guardhouse
                - over several days, gun shots heard southeast of the camp
                    - POWs who had money on them had been executed
            - Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused to return it
                - since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
                - clothing was taken from dead
                - few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
            - POWs were not allowed to bathe
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
                - POWs waited 2 hours to 8 hours to get a drink
                    - water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and next man in line waited as long as 4 hours for water to be turned on again
                    - mess kits could not be cleaned
                - POWs had to carry water 3 miles from a river to cook their meals
                - second water spigot installed a week after POWs arrived
            - slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
                - flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
            - camp hospital had no water, soap, or disinfectant
            - the senior POW doctor wrote a list of medicines he wanted to treat the sick and was told by the camp commandant, Capt. Yoshio
              Tsuneyoshi, never to write another letter
                - Tsuneyoshi said that all he wanted to know about the American POWs was their names and numbers when they died
                - refused to allow a truckload of medicine sent by the Archbishop of Manila into the camp
                - 95% of the medicine sent by Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own use
            - POWs in camp hospital lay on floor elbow to elbow
            - operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
            - only one medic out of six assigned to care for 50 sick POWs, in the hospital, was well enough to work
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
                - each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
                - ground under hospital was scrapped and cover with lime to clean it
                - the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid was scrapped and covered with lime
                - usually not buried for two or three days
            - work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
                - POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
        - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate
            - 1 June 1942 - POWs formed detachments of 100 men
                - POWs marched out gate and marched toward Capas
                    - Filipino people gave POWs small bundles of food
                        - the guards did not stop them
                - At Capas, the POWs were put into steel boxcars and rode them to Manila
                - train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
                    - POWs disembark train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a school yard
                    - fed rice and onion soup     
            - 4 June 1942 - last POWs arrived
        - Cabanatuan #1
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
            - "Blood Brother" rule implemented
                - if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
            - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
                - when POWs lined up, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in their shins
                  with their hobnailed boots
                - POWs hit across the top of their heads as they stood in line for roll call
                - if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn't doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
                - POWs on rice planting details went to a tool shed to get tools
                    - as they exited, the guards would hit them over their heads
                    - if a guard decided a POW was not working hard enough, he would shove the man's face into the mud and step on his head
                      driving the man's face deeper into the mud
                - if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn't doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
                - many POWs on details were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco into the camp
            - men who attempted to escape and caught were executed
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
        - Camp Hospital:
            - 30 Wards
                - each ward could hold 40 men
                    - frequently had 100 men in each
               - two tiers of bunks
                   - sickest POWs on bottom tier
               - each POW had a 2 foot by 6 foot area to lie in
            - Zero Ward
              - given name because it had been missed when counting wards
              - became ward where those who were going to die were sent
              - fenced off from other wards
                  - Japanese guards would not go near it
                 - POWs sent there had little to no chance of surviving

        - Port Area Detail

            - 13 June 1942 - POWs brought to warehouse which served as barracks

                - POWs worked as stevedores

            - 17 July 1944

                - POWs taken to Pier 7 for transport to Japan
Hell Ship:
    - Nissyo Maru
        - Friday - 17 July 1944 - POWs left prison at 7:00 A.M.
        - Boarded ship: same day
            - Japanese attempted to put all the POWs in one hold
            - when they couldn't, they put 900 POWs in the forward hold
            - 600 POWs held in rear hold
        - Sailed: Manila - same day
            - dropped anchor at breakwater until 23 July 1944
            - POWs were not fed or given water for over a day and a half after being put in
              the ship's hold
            - POWs fed rice and vegetables twice a day and received two canteen cups of water each day
            - 23 July 1944 - 8:00 A.M. - ship moved to area off Corregidor and dropped anchor
        - Sailed: Monday - 24 July 1944 - as part of a convoy
            - some POWs cut the throats of other POWs and drank their blood
            - convoy attacked by American submarines
                - four of the thirteen ships in the convoy were sunk
                - a torpedo hit the ship but did not explode
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - Friday - 28 July 1944 - 9:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: same day - 7:00 P.M.
            - 30 July 1944 - 2 August 1944 - sailed through storm
        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - Thursday - 3 August 1944 - midnight
        - Disembark: 4 August 1944 - 8:00 A.M.
            - POWs disembarked and taken to a pier
            - POWs put into a movie theater
                - later divided into 200 men detachments and sent to different POW camps
            - taken by train to POW camps along train lines
POW Camp:

    - Japan

        - Nagoya #2

            - also known as Narumi
Note:  The camp was built on the side of a hill with local lumber with a 8 foot fence around it.  The building - which was 40 feet long and 25 feet wide - was poorly built.  During the winter the building was cold since it was not insulated.  There were three charcoal pits in the building and two stoves in it, but the stoves were in poor condition and could not be used.  The POWs slept on straw mats which were 3 feet wide and 6 feet long, and their pillows were canvas stuffed with rice husks.
    At this camp, the POWs worked for the Daido Electric Steel Company and were used as slave labor in the manufacturing of wheels for railroad locomotives.  To get to and return from the mill, the POWs rode an electric train - with Japanese civilians - which took a half hour to and from the mill.  The civilians would throw their cigarette butts on the floor of the train cars.  The Americans who got on the trains first were able to collect the butts.  At the mill, most of the POWs did common labor, but those who had machinist skills were put to work at finishing the wheels. The POWs worked from 6 to 8 hours a day.  In the little free time that the POWs had, they would sit around and talk about food and the meals they would have when they got home.  He and the other prisoners would actually feel as if they had eaten after each of these sessions.
    The Japanese were extremely brutal with the POWs, especially those caught stealing food.  The common punishment given to the POWs was to be beaten and kicked while standing at attention.  They also had their clothing stripped from them and made to stand at attention for long periods of time in the cold.  In addition, they were denied food.
    The clothing the POWs wore was the clothing they had when they were taken prisoner.  Red Cross clothing sent to the camp was misappropriated by the Japanese who were seen wearing it.  This also was true for Red Cross medical supplies.  The camp doctor, who was a POW, worked with a Japanese enlisted man.  The Japanese soldier had control of all medicines and overruled the doctor on which POWs were too sick to work.  Sick POWs were sent to work since they were needed at the mill.
    As the war went on, American bombs fell around the camp.  The POWs saw craters on both sides of the camp from air raids to knock out the train station.  As they went to work, the POWs counted the bomb craters.
    One night, the bombers destroyed the factory that the POWs worked in.  No prisoners were killed because the attack came at night.  After the attacks, all work was stopped.  Most of the POWs were put to work cleaning debris up at the mill.
    It was also at this camp that John witnessed a prisoner put to death for stealing.  One night, the man crawled into the camp kitchen to steal food.  For whatever reason, the man did not get out.  Realizing he would be caught, he attempted to kill himself.  The Japanese allowed the man to heal and then made him stand naked in front of the other POWs.  The Japanese then proceeded to starve the man to death.
    The POWs knew something was up and were finally told that the war was over.  One morning the camp's interpreter told the prisoners, "Between your country and mine we are now friends."  The camp was turned over to the POWs and the guards vanished.  The guards left behind their weapons so the POWs posted guards to protect themselves against any possible attack.  The POWs also marked the camp so that it could be spotted by American planes.  The B-29s began dropping fifty gallon barrels of supplies to the former prisoners.   On September 2, 1945, American planes appeared and dropped food and clothing to former POWs.  These missions continued until the POWs were officially liberated. 

Liberated:

    - 4 September 1945

        - returned to the Philippine Islands
Promoted: Corporal

Transport:

    - U.S.S. Hugh Rodman
        - Sailed: Manila - not known

        - Arrived: San Francisco, California - 3 October 1945
            - Sent to Letterman General Hospital

Discharged: 4 April 1946
Occupation: carpenter
Married: Geraldine May Stehwien

Died: 27 December 1998 - Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City

Buried:

    - Lowery City Cemetery, Lowery City, Missouri





 

 

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