T/5 Eugene P. Zingheim was born in Westcliffe, Colorado on August 15,
1916, to Paul K. Zingheim & Frieda Schick-Zingheim. He had a sister and a brother. At some point,
Eugene's family moved to Salinas, California, where he attended school. He graduated from Salinas Union
High School and attended Salinas Union Junior College.
Eugene joined the California National Guard's tank company in
Salinas. On February 10, 1942, he was called to federal service when the tank company was
federalized. The company was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington where they trained for the six months.
The company's designation was now C Company, 194th Tank Battalion. It during this trained that he
qualified as a radio operator.
On August 15, 1941, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, the 194th received orders
for duty in the Philippine Islands 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 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 hundred of miles away that had a large radio transmitter. The squadron continued its flight plan
and flew south to Mariveles before returning 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 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.
In September 1941, the 194th, minus B Company, was ordered to San Francisco,
California, for transport to the Philippine Islands. Arriving, by train, at Ft. Mason in San Francisco,
they were taken by the
U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island where they received physicals and
inoculations from the battalion's medical detachment. Those men found with medical conditions were
The tankers boarded the
S.S. President Calvin Coolidge on September 8th at 3:00 P.M. and sailed at 9:00 P.M. for the Philippine
Islands. To get the tanks to fit in the ship's holds, the turrets had serial numbers spray painted on
them and were removed from the tanks. They arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Saturday, September 13 at 7:00
A.M., and most of the soldiers were allowed off ship to see the island but had to be back on board before the
ship sailed at 5:00 P.M.
After leaving Hawaii, the ship took a southerly route away from the main shipping
lanes. It was at this time that it was joined by the
U.S.S. Astoria, a heavy cruiser, that was its escort. During this part of the trip, on several
occasions, smoke was seen on the horizon, and the Astoria took off in the direction of the smoke. Each
time it was found that the smoke was from a ship belonging to a friendly country.
The Coolidge entered Manila Bay at 7:00 A.M., on September 26, and reached Manila
several hours later. The soldiers disembarked at 3:00 P.M., and were driven on buses to Clark
Field. The maintenance section of the battalion and members of 17th Ordnance remained at the dock to
unload the battalion's tanks and reattach the turrets.
The battalion rode buses to Fort Stotsenburg and taken to an area between the fort and
Clark Field, where they were housed in tents since the barracks for them had not been completed. They
were met by General Edward P. King, commanding officer of the fort who made sure they had what they
needed. On November 15th, they moved into their barracks.
On December 1st, the 194th was ordered to its position at Clark Field. Their job
was to protect the northern half of the airfield from paratroopers. The 192nd Tank Battalion, which had
arrived in November guarded the southern half. Two crew men remained with the tanks at all times and
received their meals from food trucks.
On December 8, 1941, just ten hours after Pearl Harbor, Eugene lived through the Japanese
attack on Clark Airfield. For the next month his tank battalion fought a delaying action as Filipino and
American Forces fell back into the Bataan Peninsula.
The morning of December 8, 1941, the battalion was brought up to full
strength at the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers. Just hours early, the
Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. As the tankers guarded the airfield, they watched American planes flying in
every direction. At noon the planes landed, to be refueled, and the pilots went to lunch. It was 12:45,
and as the tankers watched, a formation of 54 planes approached the airfield from the north. When bombs began
exploding on the runways, the tankers 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.
The night of the 12th/13th, the battalion was ordered to bivouac south of San Fernando
near the Calumpit Bridge. Attempting to move the battalion at night was a nightmare, and they finally arrived
at their new bivouac at 6:00 A.M. on December 13.
It was at this time that C Company was ordered to support forces in southern Luzon.
The company proceeded through Manila. Since they had no air cover, most of their movements were at
night. As they moved, they noticed lights blinking or flares being shot into the air. They arrived at
the Tagaytay Ridge and spent time their attempting to catch 5th columnists.
They remained in the area until December 24, when they moved over the Taal Road to San
Tomas and bivouacked near San Paolo and assisted in operations in the Pagbilao-Lucban Area supporting the
Philippine Army. One of the most dangerous things the tanks did was cross bridges with a ten ton weight
limit. Each tank weight 14 tons, so they crossed the bridges one tank at a time. On the 30th, the
company supported the withdrawal of the Philippine Army south of San Fernando on Route 3 and rejoined the battalion
on December 31.
The tanks withdrew through San Fernando at 2:00 A.M. on January 2, and fell back to the
Lyac Junction. The two tank battalions were holding a line between Culis and Hermosa. The tanks withdrew from
the line the night of the 6th/7th. While doing this, the maintenance section of the battalions repaired
abandoned trucks to use to haul food and the gasoline caches they found and bring it into Bataan. That night,
the 194th crossed the bridge over the Culis Creek, covered by the 192nd, and entered Bataan.
The company, with A Co., 192nd Tank Battalion, withdrew from the Guagua-Perac Line to
Remedio where they established a new defensive line on January 5. That afternoon, C Company, supported by
four self-propelled mounts stopped a Japanese advance which kept the road open for withdrawing forces.
The next night, the tanks were holding the line when the Japanese attempted to infiltrate
under a bright moon. The tanks opened fire resulting in the Japanese losing half of their troops. In an
attempt to cover their advance, the Japanese used smoke which blew back on them. The battle lasted until the
Japanese broke off the attack at 3:00 in the morning. After this, there was a two day lull in the fighting.
A Composite tank company was formed from the tank battalions and given the job of
protecting the East road north to Hermosa. This was a dangerous job since the tanks were in range of Japanese
artillery. The other tanks were ordered to a bivouac south of the Abubucay-Hacienda Line.
The tanks formed a new bivouac just south of the Pilar-Bagao Road and had a few days
rest. While they rested, 17th Ordnance and the maintenance sections of the battalion did long overdue work on
the tanks. Also around this time, the tank companies were reduced to ten tanks so that tanks could be given
to D Company, 192nd, which had lost its tanks after a bridge had been destroyed before they had crossed it.
C Company and D Company, 192nd, were sent to the Cadre Road on the 12th but returned on
the 13th because ordnance had planted landmines which made reaching the road impossible. C Company was sent
to Bagac, on the 16th, to reopen the West Highway Road that had been cut by the Japanese, so troops trapped behind
the road block could escape. A platoon of tanks at the Moron Highway and Trail 162 knocked out an anti-tank
gun, and with the help of infantry, cleared the roadblock.
It was at this time the tank battalions received these orders which came from Gen.
"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."
Both tank battalions held a line along the Balanga-Cardre Road-Banobano Road, so that
other units could withdraw which was completed by midnight. They held the line until the night of the
26th/27th when they withdrew and formed a new defensive line roughly along the Pilar-Bagac Road.
At about 9:45 A.M., a Filipino civilian came down the road and warned the tankers that a
Japanese force was on its way. The tanks, with four SPMs opened up on the Japanese when they appeared.
The fighting lasted 45 minutes when the Japanese withdrew having suffered 50 percent casualties. This action
prevented the Japanese from overrunning the new defensive line which was still being formed.
The tank battalions were given beach duty so that the Japanese could not land troops
behind the main line of defense. The half-tracks of the battalions patrolled the roads. At 2:50 A.M., a
Japanese motorized unit was head coming down the road with its lead vehicle having dimmed headlights. The
194th had a roadblock in place with guns aimed at various angles. When they opened up, they caused heavy
damage to the Japanese column.
It was also at this time that the tank battalions, without orders, took on the job of
protecting three airfields. The airfields had been built so a rebuilt Air Corps would have places to
land. About the same time, the fighting on Bataan came to a standstill since the Japanese troops were
exhausted and suffering from the same tropical illnesses as the defenders. To end the stalemate, the Japanese
brought in fresh troops from Singapore.
The Japanese lunched an all out offensive on April 3 breaking through the line of defense
held by II Corps. The 194th moved its companies to support the defenders along the line from the East Coast
Road and to the west. The tanks repeatedly were sent to areas where the Japanese had broken through which was
difficult to do since the roads were clogged with retreating vehicles.
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."
General Edward King announced at 10:30 that night that further resistance would result in
the massacre of 6,000 sick and wounded and 40,000 civilians. He also estimated that less than 25% of his
troops were healthy enough to continue to fight and would hold out for one more day. He ordered his staff
officers to negotiate terms of surrender.
Between 6:30 and 6:45 A.M. on April 9, 1942, the order
was issued. The tankers destroyed their tanks and waited for orders from the Japanese. The
members of the 194th were ordered the next day, to move to the headquarters of the Provisional Tank Group, which
was at kilometer marker 168.2.
According to the report compiled by Captain Clinton Quinlen, of the
194th Tank Battalion, Eugene was with the battalion when Bataan surrendered and started the death march with his
company. It also states that he was last seen at Lucbac on the death march, and that it was at that time all
information on him stopped.
What is known is that Eugene fought for over a year as a guerrilla as a member of the 101st Squadron
Luzon Guerrilla Force. In September 1943, Lt. Hart, Captain Alfred Bruce, Eugene and Jose Raagas were sent
to the Bamban area of Tarlec to organize guerrilla resistance.
At 5:00 in the morning of September 3rd. they were awakened when their dog, Daisy, began to
make noise. A Japanese force of 34 men was led by an informer,
Fortnato Munoz, to the guerrilla operations center. Eugene was suffering from
malaria and was unable to react. He was quickly captured by the Japanese.
Lt. Hart held his position, along the bank of a stream, so that the other guerrillas
could escape. He would be killed holding off the Japanese so the rest of the guerrillas could escape.
Eugene, with other prisoners, was taken to the Bamban Garrison and remained there for a
week. There, guerrillas were tortured to get information from them. Eugene was taken to Capas and
never seen alive again. According to court documents from after the war, T/5 Eugene Zinheim
was bayoneted by the Japanese on September 5, 1943, while being held a prisoner at Capas.
After the war, the remains of Tec 5 Eugene P. Zingheim were reburied at the American
Military Cemetery outside of Manila. He is buried in Plot: L, Row: 2,