Pfc. Roland George Zweber
Born: 13 September 1919 - Scott, Minnesota
Parents: Peter V. Zweber & Julia K. Radermarcher-Zweber
Siblings: 2 sisters, 1 brother
Nickname: Rocky
Home: 95 West Jessamine Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Occupation: telegraph messenger
Enlisted:
    - U.S. Army
        - 14 April 1941 - Minneapolis, Minnesota
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
        - Tuesday, 16 September 1941 - ships crossed International Dateline
            - became Thursday, 18 September 1941
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
Stationed:
    - Ft. Stostenburg, Philippines
        - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941
        - 1 December 1941 - tanks and half-tracks ordered to perimeter of Clark Field
            - two members of each crew ordered to remain with their vehicle at all times
            - received meals from food trucks   
Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon
        - 8 December 1941 - 6 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 the 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
    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."
        - 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
        - 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
        - 9 April 1942
            - Bataan surrendered
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 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 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:
    - Philippines:
            - 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 cover 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    
    - Cabanatuan
        - original name: Camp Panagaian
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                - actually three camps
                -  POWs from Camp O'Donnell put in Camp 1
                    - Camp 2 was four miles away
                        - all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
                        - later used for Naval POWs
                    - Camp 3 was six miles from Camp 2
                        - POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
                            - POWs from Camp 3 consolidated into Camp 1
        - Camp Administration:
            - the Japanese left POWs to run the camp on their own
                - Japanese entered camp when they had a reason
                - POWs patrolled fence to prevent escapes
                    - Note: men who attempted to escape were recaptured
                    - Japanese beat them for days
                    - executed them
        - Barracks:
            - each barracks held 50 men
                - often held between 60 and 120 men
                - slept on bamboo slats without mattresses, covers, and mosquito netting
                    - diseases spread easily
                - no showers
        - Morning Roll Call:
            - stood at attention
                - frequently beaten over their heads for no reason
            - when POWs lined up for roll call, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the POWs in
              their shins with their hobnailed boots because they didn't like the way the POWs lined up
        - Work Details:
            - Two main details
                - the farm and airfield
                    - farm detail
                        - POWs cleared land and grew comotes, cassava, taro, sesame, and various greens
                        - Japanese took what was grown
                - Guards:
                    - Big Speedo - spoke little English
                        - in charge of detail
                        - fair in treatment of POWs
                        - spoke little English
                            - to get POWs to work faster said , "speedo"
                    - Little Speedo
                        - also used "speedo" when he wanted POWs to work faster
                        - fair in treatment of POWs
                    - Smiley
                        - always smiling
                        - could not be trusted
                        - meanest of guards
        - Airfield Detail:
            - Japanese built an airfield for fighters
                - POWs cut grass, removed dirt, and leveled ground
                    - at first moved dirt in wheel barrows
                    - later pushed mining cars
                   - Guards:
                       - Air Raid
                           - in charge
                           - usually fair but unpredictable
                               - had to watch him
                       - Donald Duck
                           - always talking
                           - sounded like the cartoon character
                           - unpredictable - beat POWs
                           - POWs told him that Donald Duck was a big American movie star
                               - at some point, he saw a Donald Duck cartoon
                               - POWs stayed away from him when he came back to camp
                - Work Day: 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
                    - worked 6 days a week
                        - had Sunday off
        - Other Details:
            - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens and plant rice
                - they also were frequently hit with a pick handle, for no reason, as they counted off
                - POWs on the rice planting detail were punished by having their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on
                  - the POWs had to go into a shed to get the tools, as they came out, they were hit on their heads
                  - 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
        - Meals:
            - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
            - rice was main staple, few vegetables or fruits
        - 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
                    - medical staff had little to no medicine to treat sick
                    - many deaths from disease caused by malnutrition
        - Burial Detail:
            - POWs worked in teams of four men to bury dead
                - carried as many as six dead POWs in slings to cemetery
                - buried in graves that contained 16 to 20 bodies
    - Clark Field:
            - Work:
                - POWs built a runway
                    - 6:00 A.M. - work day started
                        - screened gravel and cut long grass
                        - POWs had to dig the rock out of the ground
                        - worked long hours on inadequate rations
                        - work done with picks and shovels
                        - forced to work during typhoon season
                        - no days off
            - Meals:
                - fed twice a day
                    - one cup of steamed rice
            - Medical Treatment:
                - no medical supplies
                    - any they had were found by POWs
                - sick forced to work because they weren't "sick enough"
                    - those who wouldn't or could not work were severely beaten
                - POWs with malaria did not work because the Japanese could see they had it
                - when one POW escaped, none of the POWs were fed
            - Barracks:
                - housed in the same barracks used before the war
                - each POW had a bunk and mattress to sleep on
            - Punishment:
                - beaten for no reason
                - one Japanese lieutenant frequently hit POWs over head with saber
                - POWs beaten with a golf club for no reason
                - Blood Brother Rule
                - put in a metal shack without openings
                    - POW had to squat or curl up in it
                - when POWs escaped, the remaining POWs remained at attention for hours
                    - on one occasion this lasted until 4:00 A.M.
                    - they then had to go to work
            - Execution:
                - when two Filipinos were caught stealing sheet metal, all the POWs had to watch them be tied to poles and used for bayonet
                  practice
Hell Ship:
    - Noto Maru      
        - Boarded: 25 August 1944
        - Sailed: Manila - 27 August 1944
            - spent night in Subic Bay
        - Sailed: 28 August 1944
            - submarine believed to be shadowing convoy
        - Arrived: 30 August 1944 - Takao, Formosa
        - Sailed: Same Day
        - Arrived: Same Day - Keelung, Formosa
        - Sailed: 31 August 1944
        - Arrived: Moji, Japan -4 September 1944
    - Japan:
        - Nagoya #6B
            - Arrived: 8 September 1944
            - Camp:
                - POWs worked at Japan Nomachi Smelting Plant and Hokkai Donka Company
                - both plants were outdated
                - the camp was also known as Nomachi because it was on the grounds of the plant
                    - this was in violation of the Geneva Convention
                - ten foot wooden wall around camp
            - Barracks:
                - 1 building divided in half between Americans and British
                   - two tiers of bunks
                       - each platform was 7 feet long and 18 feet wide
                       - each man had three feet to sleep in and four to six blankets provided by the Japanese
                       - four stoves were provided little heat
                       - meals were eaten in the barracks
                       - there were 24 toilet spaces, cold water showers, and a tub of hot water to bathe in
            - Clothing:
                - consisted of what the POWs had when they arrived at the camp, Japanese Army uniforms, and some Red Cross clothing
                - POWs walked to work, without shoes, in snow
                - POWs could not wear their overcoats in barracks or at work
            - Meals:
                - mostly rice, some barley, other vegetables from camp garden
                - no meat or fish
                - prepared by POWs
                - meals were eaten in the barracks
            - British POWs were also in camp
                - they did not tolerate stealing among the British POWs
                - this set the example for the Americans and the ranking officer would hit a thief and knock him to the ground
                - both the British and Americans allowed stealing from the Japanese
        - Punishment:
            - collective punishment common
                - food rations cut in half
                - denied fuel for stoves for seven days on one occasion
            - individuals were put in guardhouse without clothing, blankets, heat, or adequate food
           - at factories, the civilian guards hit POWs with the 2 foot long by 2 inch wide sticks they carries
              - some civilians were friendly toward POWs while others beat them
              - one civilian made POWs stand near open furnaces so they would get burned
        - Hospital:
            - only one medical officer
                - assisted by three medics
                - Japanese doctor came to camp once a week
                - Japanese Army provided no medical supplies
                    - the two companies did
                    - received some from Red Cross
            - usually six POWs were in the hospital on any day
            - sick POWs with dysentery and diarrhea were not considered sick
            - beaten with shovels to get them to work
            - treated POWs with burns and blisters from work
           - Japanese had a quota of POWs they needed to work everyday
               - forced POWs who were too sick to work to go to work
                - beat them with shovels, sticks, rocks, and anything else available to them
            - POWs used to clean up materials after atomic bomb on Hiroshima     
        - Red Cross packages withheld for POWs
            - Japanese took canned milk, canned fruit, canned meat, cheese,and cigarettes
            - Japanese also used clothes, blankets, and shoes sent by Red Cross for POWs
            - Japanese seen around camp smoking American cigarettes
            - Christmas 1944 - POWs received a Red Cross package
        - Work:
            - officers not required to work
            - POWs worked in magnesium smelting plant
            - half of POWs worked at Hokkai Denka Company, at Nomachi Smelting Company, and at a quarry
                - POWs walked to plant in 4' to 5' of snow
                - used as laborers mixing iron, coke, and limestone
                    - threw the mixture into furnaces without protection
                    - many received burns and blisters
                - POWs were not allowed to talk to each other while working
                - POWs working at quarry had a 25% death rate
                    - the quarry was later closed
                - POWs introduced taking showers to Japanese civilians
                - some civilians were friendly others were not
                    - civilian guards hit the POWs with a two foot long by two inch stick they carried
                - POWs knew Japan was losing war by watching how the civilians' food was strictly rationed
Air Raids:
    - the first time the POWs saw American planes fly over the camp they cheered
        - Japanese attempted to silence them by hitting them with their sabers
    - 15 June 1945 - air raids became more frequent
    - Japanese blacked out mill at night
    - POWs saw Japanese boys training to defend against an invasion
    - 15 August 1945 - POWs knew something was up because the Japanese had a meeting
        - Japanese men looked sad and the Japanese women cried
        - the POWs did not have to work
    - 17 & 18 August - POWs told they did not have to work
    - Japanese guards entered barracks and told the POWs that the war was over
        - they disappearred from the camp
Liberated:
    - 5 September 1945
        - Swiss Red Cross entered camp
            - organized POWs to leave
            - took POWs to train station
                - gave the former POWs three day supply of K-rations
                    - POWs ate all the K-rations the first night
            - took a three day train ride to Tokyo
                - taken to a bay 200 miles south of Tokyo
                - boarded the U.S.S. Rescue
Promoted: Sergeant
Transport:
    - U.S.S. Tryon
        - Sailed: Manila - not known
        - Arrived: San Francisco - 24 October 1945
            - taken to Letterman General Hospital
Discharged: 30 March 1946
Married:
Children: 2 daughters, 1 son
Occupation: Accountant - U.S. Post Office
Died: 8 August 2004 - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Buried:
    - Fort Snelling National Cemetery - Minneapolis, Minnesota
        - Section:  12   Site:  1650

 

 

 


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